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Bellsouth And CWA Union Reach Agreement

BellSouth Corp. picked up labor peace-insurance this week, when it reached a five-year agreement with the Communications Workers of America. The tentative pact--it must be approved by the union's membership--calls for a 10.5 percent wage increase and improved pension and health-plan provisions.

Members of BellSouth's 45,000-member union will also be permitted to install and service the latest technologies, including DSL and wireless connections.

In a statement, CWA official Jimmy Smith said: "This agreement is a very important one for BellSouth workers. It achieves our members' key goals of safeguarding health care for active and retired workers and strengthening employment security by providing new access for members to jobs in the growth areas of the company."

BellSouth was the second former regional Bell operating company to reach agreement with its CWA union this year. The union hammered out a five-year pact with SBC Communications that contained guarantees for improved health care and job-security provisions.

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