CenturyLink, communications workers union reach tentative agreement

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Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 12:00 am

CenturyLink Inc. and the Communications Workers of America have reached a tentative agreement affecting about 12,000 workers in 13 states. It covers wages, benefits and jobs that have been outsourced to nonunion workers in the United States and abroad.

That includes some work being done in the Philippines and at U.S. call centers staffed by nonunion employees, Al Kogler, a union spokesman, said Wednesday. “That’s all good news for our members and for American workers overall.”

Neither side disclosed details of the proposed lump-sum payments and wage increases in the agreement, which would be in effect through October 2017 if union members agree. The two sides began negotiating last August, extending a contract that expired last October.

Kogler said ballots would be sent in late August and returned by Sept. 27 by union members from Nebraska, Iowa and 11 other states.

CenturyLink CEO Glen F. Post III said the agreement “provides our employees fair and equitable benefits and will better enable us to deliver on our mutual commitment to serve our customers.”

The union said the agreement would limit CenturyLink’s ability to send work to outside companies and move call center work outside the 13 states. It also includes a commitment to return jobs that have been moved offshore or outsourced.

CenturyLink, based in Monroe, La., said the agreement covers wages, pensions and health care benefits and would meet its three primary goals: letting CenturyLink compete and grow with wages and benefits comparable to those paid in similar jobs; operating with flexibility to serve customers; and mitigating pay and benefit differences among the company’s employees.

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