AT&T still in talks with wireless workers

AT&T reached a tentative agreement with 17,000 employees, but the carrier is still negotiating with 21,000 wireless workers.

AT&T reached a tentative agreement with 17,000 AT&T West and DirecTV workers late last week, but the carrier is still in talks with tens of thousands of employees of its wireless business.

The nation’s second-largest wireless operator—and the world’s biggest telecom—said late Friday that it had struck a provisional accord covering 17,000 AT&T West and DirecTV workers in California and Nevada represented by the Communications Workers of America District 9. The four-year pact would provide for pay raises, improvements in job security and retirement benefits, continued affordable healthcare and other improvements.

“I’m proud of their solidarity and of the hard work of our bargaining teams that were determined to reach a fair contract,” said Tom Runnion, VP of CWA District 9, in a release.

RELATED: AT&T CWA California, Nevada workers join wireless unit in three-day strike

This pact marks the first time DirecTV employees have been covered by a union contract, according to the CWA. Union members will vote on the proposed deal later this month.

But the massive company is still working out a new contract covering 21,000 wireless employees. Those workers were part of 40,000 employees who walked off the job during a three-day strike more than a week ago, shuttering stores in New York, Los Angeles, Denver and dozens of other cities. The move marked the first significant strike by AT&T’s wireless workers.

The union has argued that AT&T generates “nearly $1 billion a month in profits.” It posted a $3.56 billion first-quarter profit this year, and is “failing to invest in its core business and infrastructure” as it outsources and moves jobs offshore.

The CWA alleged that AT&T has cut 12,000 call center jobs in the United States since 2011, opting instead to contract with third-party companies in other countries.

Last year, the CWA was involved in a 45-day strike by 40,000 Verizon wireline workers that ended in June. That stoppage slowed Verizon’s network investment slightly during the second quarter, according to analysts, and ended with agreements that a union representative described as “an incredible victory” for the workers. AT&T reportedly hasn’t suffered a significant work stoppage since a two-day walkout in 2012.