AT&T, Union Agree to ‘Cool Off’

By  |  Monday, February 9, 2009 at 11:26 pm

If anyone thought that the CWA was only interested in crippling AT&T by striking, Monday’s developments should answer those misconceptions. The union appears ready to work with the carrier.

Both sides have agreed to a “cooling off” period. What this means in most basic terms is that union employees will work without a new contract, even though no new talks will occur. Such events are not all that rare: essentially both sides willl walk away from the barganing table for a few days (or even weeks) while both sides mull over their next steps.

This was on top of a gesture by the union to extend the current contract by 30 days while negotiations continued. From what we understand, AT&T did not accept that offer.

Unionized employees will continue to work under the old contract — AT&T is mandated to honor those terms. Obviously, the cooling off period is not inifite: the carrier and the union will need to return to the barganing table.

The union has posted a FAQ on its website detailing the differences between the two sides. At first glance, these differences still look rather significant. Personally, I think that some kind of walkout is still quite likely so be prepared for the worst.

CWA officials are promising updates twice a day, so if theres any breakthrough, of course we’ll let you know here. In any case, if you’re an AT&T customer, I’d recommend dealing with any issues now. If this strike occurs, it could make life difficult.



4 Comments For This Post

  1. Garvin Says:

    The old blackmail the company with a strike, and hope they break or call for a lockout. Hmm, hope it works.

  2. Ed Oswald Says:

    How is it blackmail? The union offered to work 30 days without a new contract and the company refused. I think the CWA has been more than fair with AT&T.

    Take for example the Public Transit Workers union behind Philly’s SEPTA system. Those folks will strike without question. If you want to talk about a greedy union, there’s one for you.

  3. Garvin Says:

    The theory of this tactic is that in the face of a strike, the company will continue to be forced to spend a lot of money on contingency plans. The hope of the strategy is that the company gets tired of the expenditures of this contingency plan and gives into demands. I am pretty sure that this would easily fit in to any definition of blackmail. If not, do you think extortion is a more appropriate word? I am not saying that I do not want the union to succeed (I really do hope we get a better contract), I am just pointing out the type of tactic being used.

  4. Mr. Union :( Says:

    I would like it to be known that by 2011 workers in the states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Missouri and Louisiana will make 10 cents more per hour than those in California. Now, I know that our people in those states work hard, but when the cost of living between Sacramento and San Antonio is about $8000 for that year, well yes, I find it to be a bit of a slap in the face. We in California are a part of the two most profitable markets in this company (PAC and NCA) and it is time the company realizes that. There is no excuse that someone who works at a store for ten years and is great at taking care of their customers makes $14.41 per hour now and in 2011 after 14 years of service will only make $15.81 (this is a true story and I am not this person). What we need is a 120 month pay schedule, not a 24 month one like we currently have. REWARD LOYALITY, HARD WORK AND DEDICATION! That is my AMERICAN DREAM.

    Mr. Union 🙁