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  • SBC, Union Reach Agreement
May 2004
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, May 25 -- SBC Communications Inc. and the Communications Workers of America have tentatively agreed to terms of a new five-year contract for the company's 100,000 employees represented by the union.

The agreement came as 100,000 SBC workers returned to work today following a strike that began Friday. Subject to member ratification, the settlement covers workers in 13 states in SBC territory.

The settlement guarantees there will be no layoffs of employees currently on the payroll for the life of the agreement, and it calls for the rehiring of several hundred workers who had been laid off at SBC Southwest and SBC Midwest (former Southwestern Bell and Ameritech).

The agreement also allows union employees "to perform jobs of the future that are considered an extension of traditional telephone work, while other jobs in emerging technologies will be at competitive wage and benefit levels," SBC said in a news release. The guarantee will not apply to new employees.

"CWA and SBC agreed to work together to bring back tech support jobs from overseas when the current outsourcing agreement with Accenture expires," the union said.

The agreement also provides for average base wage increases of 2.3 percent a year for five years and lump sums averaging $300 a year. Employees won't have to make monthly payments for their health insurance, but they will have to make co-payments for drugs, doctor visits, emergency room services and other charges.

San Antonio-based SBC Communications is the nation's second-largest local phone company. It also operates in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Connecticut, California, Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Apart from weather related incidents in the Midwest, SBC reported no serious network or service-related problems connected with the strike, which ended at midnight Monday.

The agreement is subject to ratification by the union membership, details of which will be announced soon, SBC said.

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