40000-plus AT&T staff threaten to strike Friday

20 May, 2017, 00:29 | Author: Lorraine Moran
  • 40000-plus AT&T staff threaten to strike Friday

THE 700,000-member strong CWA is looking to build off its victory a year ago over corporate behemoth Verizon after a long strike and to stop the loss of union-represented work at AT&T, as the company subcontracts its call center workforce to vendors across the global South.

Thousands of AT&T wireless, wireline, and DirecTV workers who are part of the Communications Workers of America - the largest communications and media labor union in the U.S.

The groups striking represent four different union contracts and include wireless workers in 36 states and DC; wireline workers in California, Nevada and CT; and DirecTV technicians in California and Nevada.

AT&T Wireless workers - some 21,000 of them - have given management until Friday, May 19 at 3 p.m. ET to come to the table with "serious proposals that invest in good jobs with a future". The contracts at stake account for only 13% of the company's employees, he added.

"We're continuing to bargain, and it's baffling that union leadership would consider calling a strike when we're offering terms in which their members - some of whom average from $115,000 to $148,000 in total compensation - will be better off financially", a spokesperson told The Register.

Locally, workers have posted reminders about the planned walkout on message boards and social media asking customers to show their support by not shopping at AT&T stores.

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According to a press release we received this afternoon, AT&T workers are demanding wage increases, improved job security, affordable healthcare and a fair scheduling policy. "This is a warning to AT&T: there's only one way out of this now-a fair contract-and we'll settle for nothing less".

Landline workers in California and Nevada picketed for a day in March to protest work rules for some in-home technicians and moves to replace USA call-center jobs with contractors hired overseas.

If the AT&T strike goes on for weeks at the time like the Verizon strike, it could result in a disappointing jobs report. This involves less than 14 percent of our employees. If it happens, we will continue working hard to serve our customers.

The strike is expected to end Sunday evening, with workers returning to the job Monday.

But AT&T is under pressure from Wall Street to cut costs after its recent acquisition of Time Warner Cable for a whopping $85 billion-it also took on huge amounts of that company's debt.

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