CWA/ AT&T Bargaining Bulletin #1
February 23, 2016
CWA Bargaining Team (Left to Right)
Anthony Velez, Marisa Remski, Tom Runnion, Ellen West, Art Gonzalez, Cherie Brokaw and Pam Suniga
Today the CWA Bargaining Team met with AT&T to open Negotiations for a new contract. Below is CWA District 9 Vice President, Tom Runnion’s Opening Remarks to the AT&T Bargaining Team.
- Our goal in these negotiations is to improve living standards for our families.
- We want secure jobs, secure health care, secure retirement.
- It’s our turn.
- AT&T can meet these demands – it has the resources.
- Randall Stephenson was paid more than $20 million in total compensation last year.
- Shareholders have been rewarded with steadily increasing dividend rates and a $27 billion stock buy-back plan.
- In fact, through stock buy-backs and dividends, AT&T has awarded shareholders more than its net income – about 140% more!
- That’s money that should be invested back in the company – to grow the network, to improve service quality, to pay its workers fairly.
- Now it is our turn.
- This is not a company on the brink of disaster, this is a company positioned for growth.
- AT&T’s $49 billion purchase of DirectTV has created a pay TV-communications giant.
- There are now 26 million AT&T TV customers. AT&T has overthrown Comcast as the largest video company.
- AT&T is set for major growth, and we should be a part of that.
- It’s our turn.
- There should be no doubt — we want AT&T to thrive.
- When AT&T does well in the marketplace, so do CWA members.
- Unlike most employers in the U.S., AT&T honors workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively.
- Through organizing and collective bargaining, workers at AT&T have made gains that most U.S. workers have not enjoyed.
- But our work is not complete. Not until we get our fair share.
- Over the past five years, AT&T’s productivity increased by 25.5% but our wages increased by about 17%.
- We need to close the gap between the success we create and the income we bring home to our families.
- It is time for CWA members to enjoy all the fruits of our labors. It is time for AT&T to start bargaining a fair contract.
- With this round of bargaining, we want to see some changes.
- We have helped to position AT&T to be a leader, the top competitor in a very competitive industry.
- Now we need to see some changes – changes that will benefit workers.
- All CWA members have earned a serious wage increase; not just enough to make them better off at the end of the contract then they are today, but at a level that matches the rewards made to shareholders and officers. A wage increase that reflects our contributions to this company’s success.
- We need to change the way we bargain for health care. AT&T developed an approach based on cost share. That may have made sense back in 2009 when we first bargained that way, but times have changed. Health costs are rising faster than wages and the increasing cost share means our members are taking home less of the wage increases we negotiate. We need to bargain a system that is based on fairness and affordability.
- We need more security for our retirees, not less. We need to see serious improvements in the pension formula. AT&T’s commitment to its retirees should be no less than its commitment to its shareholders. We need commitments to increase the company’s annual contribution toward retiree health care.
- While we face challenges in these negotiations, we are stronger through our solidarity.
- All CWA members are united in our commitment to improve living standards for all of our families, to provide security for our retirees, and to secure good, well-paid union jobs for the future.
- CWA members are the foundation upon which the success of AT&T rests.
- We have boosted the company’s earnings and productivity even through a global recession.
- Our work has positioned AT&T to become the new giant of the communications industry.
- Now it is our turn. It is time for a fair contract.
All official negotiation and mobilization information will be delivered on the District 9 website. (www.district9.cwa-union.org), Local Websites and email lists.
Your Bargaining Committee