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SBC, Union Reach Agreement

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SBC offices in St. Louis (KWMU photo)

By AP/KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Local phone giant SBC and a union representing about 100,000 of its workers tentatively agreed on a new 5-year contract early Tuesday morning.

The deal affects workers in 13 states, including more than 4,000 workers in the ST. Louis area.

SBC and the Communications Workers of America announced the agreement just hours after workers ended a four-day strike and returned to work.

The deal calls for annual 2.3% pay raises. SBC will still pay health care benefits for workers, but co-payments for drugs, doctor visits, and trips to the emergency room will increase.

The company also agreed to not layoff any current employee for the live of the contract. And the union says the deal also includes an effort to re-hire hundreds of workers who were laid off at SBC Southwest and SBC Midwest (companies that used to be known as Soutwestern Bell and Ameritech).

The workers went on strike at midnight Friday and walked picket lines through the weekend.

Company management stepped in and ran the network without any major service problems, apart from some weather-related incidents in the Midwest.

The deal includes workers from Connecticut to California. One union spokesperson says it could take 30 days to have all votes cast for or against the proposal.

Only about 1,000 workers in Illinois are affected because most of the work force in Illinois are represented by a different union.

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