The union for AT&T wireless workers has made the outsourcing of jobs its chief gripe against the company.
AT&T employees associated with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) are picketing at multiple states this week, although the union has yet to formally strike. Union members in 36 states voted to authorize a strike last month after their contract expired, but the CWA struck up a temporary deal with AT&T.
The union has complained about AT&T moving call-center jobs to other countries, in addition to disputing wages and benefits. CWA on Thursday said the telecommunications giant has “offshored thousands of jobs” and outsourced more than 60 percent of wireless retail positions.
The union said more than 38,000 wireline and DirecTV workers have been demonstrating.
The negotiations between AT&T and CWA on the so-called “Orange” contract includes more than 20,000 mobility employees — and have been decidedly more bitter than other labor relations this year.
The two parties reached an agreement for wireline workers in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas a month before the contract expired.
“AT&T retail, call center and tech workers are on the front lines of holding the telecom industry accountable to working families and making sure executives who are paid tens of millions of dollars a year are supporting good, middle-class jobs,” said Dennis Trainor, vice president of CWA District 1. “While preparing to do whatever it takes, workers are also bargaining with the expectation that AT&T comes to the table in good faith and with proposals that invest in the country where workers and customers have built its success.”
CWA’s bargaining team met with AT&T on Wednesday but passed no official proposals.
Meantime, the former Ma Bell is recovering from a 9-1-1 crisis. CNN reported that certain AT&T wireless cellphone users in several southern states couldn’t dial 9-1-1 on Wednesday. AT&T said it resolved the outage later that night.