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AT&T workers strike in Southeast: More than 20,000 walk out

AT&T workers strike in Southeast: More than 20,000 walk out

Postby smix » Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:48 pm

AT&T workers strike in Southeast: More than 20,000 walk out
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

URL: https://www.ajc.com/business/workers-st ... Rg0148BuM/
Category: Business
Published: August 24, 2019

Description: In a surprise move, more than 20,000 union workers for AT&T in the Southeast went out on strike as of midnight Friday, officials said. Members of the Communication Workers of America – including 4,000 in Georgia – charged the huge telecommunications company with unfair labor practices during negotiations aimed at securing a new contract. The previous agreement expired Aug. 3. Since then, the talks have gone nowhere because the company has made sure that an agreement cannot happen said Richard Honeycutt, the union’s vice president for the Southeast in a statement issued late Friday. “Our talks have stalled because it has become clear that AT&T has not sent negotiators who have the power to make decisions so we can move forward toward a new contract.” The company, which is based in Dallas, has annual revenue of about $170 billion a year. It includes the remnants of Atlanta-based BellSouth, which for more than two decades was the largest of the seven regional phone companies. Company officials said they were blindsided and mystified by the strike call. “We’re baffled as to why union leadership would call one when we’re offering terms that would help our employees – some of whom average from $121,000 to $134,000 in total compensation – be even better off,” said AT&T spokesman Jim Kimberly. Company officials were adamant about being prepared for a walk-out. In the days before the contract expired, AT&T officials said they would be prepared for a strike and that business operations would go on smoothly with managers, executives and contractors picking up the slack. “We’re prepared for a strike and in the event of a work stoppage, we will continue working hard to serve our customers,” Kimberly said on Friday night Union leaders scoffed at the notion, arguing that the company will have to prioritize work delaying new installations and non-emergency maintenance. The union said it has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, arguing that the company has not bargained in good faith. The union’s Southeast region includes technicians, customer service representatives and others who “install, maintain and support” the company’s landline and internet line services. The region includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Union officials have said that the key issues are job security and a steady rise in healthcare costs. The timing of the strike gives the union leverage in some ways, but favors the huge company in others. To the workers advantage is a tight labor market in which a low unemployment rate has many employers complaining of a shortage in skilled workers. But changes in technology allow the company's day-to-day operations to continue smoothly, which may encourage AT&T to try waiting out the strike. And the federal agency that the union is making its complaints to, the NLRB, has become more conservative over the years even as the influence of unions nationally has shrunk. Moreover, the South has long been a region with fewer union members and governments that are typically not sympathetic. That backdrop has made many southern unions reluctant to strike. But some telecom workers have said they are under continued pressure, that wages are rising more slowly than costs while the company shifts to lower-paid jobs and contract workers.
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20,000 AT&T workers on strike around the southeast

Postby smix » Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:55 pm

20,000 AT&T workers on strike around the southeast
WVTM 13 News

URL: https://www.wvtm13.com/article/20000-at ... t/28805576
Category: Business
Published: August 24, 2019

Description: The Communications Workers of America walked out at midnight Friday after talks stalled.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — More than more than 20,000 union workers for AT&T went on strike around the southeast, including the Birmingham metro area, citing unfair labor practices. The Communications Workers of America union has been negotiating with AT&T over the issues and announced its plan Friday to go on strike at midnight as talks for a new contract stalled. A statement from the CWA says, "The strike will involve over 20,000 technicians, customer service representatives and others who install, maintain and support AT&T's residential and business wireline telecommunications network in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee." The previous union agreement expired Aug. 3. AT&T issued a statement saying, “A strike is in no one’s best interest. We remain ready to sit down with union leaders to listen to their concerns and work with them on negotiating a new, improved contract for our employees. We’re surprised and disappointed that union leaders would call a strike at this point in the negotiations, particularly when we’re offering terms that would help our employees – some of whom average from $121,000 to $134,000 in total compensation – be even better off." The company added, “We have offered the union terms that are consistent with what other CWA-represented employees have approved in recent contract negotiations; the company has reached 20 fair agreements since 2017 covering more than 89,000 employees. The Southeast contract covers fewer than 8 percent of our employees." AT&T said during a strike it plans to continue working hard to serve its customers.
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