AT&T Corp. and the International Brotherhood of
Electrical Workers have extended the deadline for negotiating a new contract that covers
the company's unionized cable employees.
Sources said the two sides will talk again this week,
despite an Aug. 5 deadline for coming up with a new contract for 500 AT&T Broadband
& Internet Services workers represented by the IBEW.
"Just because there was an Aug. 5 deadline doesn't
mean that something has to automatically happen," said IBEW spokesman Jim Spellane.
"Not if both sides agree to keep talking."
The two sides have been at odds over AT&T's alleged
refusal to give its cable employees the same benefits as nonunion workers, who have
reportedly been offered stock options and a better health plan.
The IBEW, which represents 2,500 members nationwide,
recently protested the alleged treatment by staging informational pickets outside 150
AT&T locations, including the company's corporate headquarters in Basking Ridge, N.J.
AT&T, which inherited the unionized workers as part of
its $48 billion acquisition of Tele-Communications Inc., has said that the
IBEW-represented workers are being offered packages comparable to other employees in
Illinois and Indiana. MCN