RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Negotiators from the union representing thousands of workers at AT&T across the southeast and the communications giant agreed to put off a strike over the weekend.

But the delay may only be temporary.

“Our bargaining team has made significant progress this week, reaching tentative agreements on several issues,” the Communications Workers of America said late Saturday.

“Our District Vice-President, Richard Honeycutt in consultation with our bargaining team, has elected to extend the current contract for one week.  We have important issues left on the bargaining table but due to the diligence of our bargaining team, we feel that it may be possible to reach an agreement this week.”

On Friday, the union said AT&T “rejected our comprehensive proposal and presented another draconian proposal, which fell well short of anything we could accept.”

Union: AT&T workers in NC, southeast planning to strike if no new contract

AT&T also issued a statement about the talks:

“This contract extension and ongoing negotiation reflects the spirit of the longstanding relationship between the company and the union.

“We’re committed to reaching a fair contract that will allow us to continue to provide solid union-represented careers with competitive wages and benefits. We have successfully reached 20 fair labor agreements since the beginning of 2017, collectively covering about 89,000 employees, and we look forward to doing the same here.”

Contract expired Aug. 3

“This contract extension gives AT&T one week to get serious and put an offer on the table that will improve the standard of living for our members.,” the CWA said.

“This also gives our members one week to prepare for what may have to happen if AT&T chooses not to do so.”

A strike could have started over the weekend. The contract expired Aug. 3.

Last month, the union said the telecom giant is cutting hundreds of jobs in the southeast.

The cuts of 911 jobs represents more than half the 1,800 layoffs being made nationally, according to the CWA.

AT&T says it is hiring to fill other open jobs. Specifics about where cuts are being made have not been disclosed.

The union says it has made clear it will not there will be no “give backs” in a new contract.

Union: AT&T is cutting hundreds of jobs in Carolinas, across southeast

“After nearly two months of bargaining, AT&T has failed to offer us the contract that our members deserve.  In the midst of making record profits and raising dividends for stockholders, AT&T has once again come to the bargaining table asking their employees to make concessions,” the CWA said.

“We have made it clear to AT&T that there will be no give backs in this round of negotiations.”

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