DALLAS (AP) — AT&T said Friday that union workers in its Midwest region and AT&T Corp. voted to ratify three-year contracts.
The Midwest agreement covers more than 13,000 of the phone company's employees represented by the Communications Workers of America in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, while the AT&T Corp. deal covers about 5,700 more workers throughout the country.
The workers are on the landline side of the company.
Earlier this month, AT&T reached tentative agreements with CWA workers in the Southeast district, covering former BellSouth territory and 22,000 landline workers.
At the same time more than 20,000 AT&T workers in California, Nevada and Connecticut went on a brief strike to protest what the union called harassment by the company.
The contracts expired in April, and negotiations have been going on since February.
Job protection clauses and health care premiums and co-payments are key issues in the talks. AT&T says it wants employees to shoulder more of their growing health care costs and wants more leeway to downsize its shrinking landline operations. Some of its workers have contracts that guarantee them job offers in different parts of the company if they're laid off.
Dallas-based AT&T Inc. is the country's largest private employer of unionized workers. About half of its 242,000 employees are union members.
AT&T shares fell 4 cents to $37.20 in midday trading.