WTF? AT&T Sends Calif. Network Techs Home Over Attire

WTF often is shorthand for a crude phrase that employers don’t look upon favorably.

Just ask AT&T workers in California.

Hundreds of network technicians were sent home Monday after donning pro-union buttons and stickers that featured the three-letter expression, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

WTF, though, stood for something more innocuous: “Where’s the fairness?”, which was included in small letters on the pink stickers and may be a reference to union workers’ discontent with their employer in negotiations over wages, benefits and other contractual issues. Earlier this month, some 40,000 AT&T workers decided against hitting the picket lines despite failing to reach new contracts with the telecom giant.

A spokesperson for the Communications Workers of America told the San Jose Mercury News that technicians in some locations were sent home and threatened with discipline while others were permitted to go on service calls.

AT&T said it respects the rights of workers stickers to express their opinions, the newspaper reported, but noted the stickers or buttons were inappropriate attire for technicians to wear while they are interacting with customers.

Contracts have expired covering wireline workers at AT&T East, Midwest, West and Legacy. The employees, however, are still protected under the old agreements. AT&T has been negotiating with the CWA on benefits, pension, wages and work rules covering employees with call center and network positions, an AT&T spokesman said earlier this month.

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