Last week, the CWA authorized a potential strike against AT&T for employees in the Midwest — Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois. Technology workers across the country belonging to the CWA’s “Legacy T” bargaining group might also strike. The contracts expired Saturday.
Marty Richter, AT&T spokesman, tells Channel Partners the carrier is “committed to working together with the union to reach fair agreements that will allow us to continue to provide solid, union-represented careers with excellent wages and benefits.” He said these employees are “well compensated in their industry, and they will continue to be,” and that the contracts cover about 5 percent of AT&T’s employees.
“We’re continuing to bargain with the union and we’re confident that an agreement will be reached,” he said. “It’s in nobody’s best interest to have a strike. A strike vote is a common and not unexpected step in negotiations of this sort, and we are confident that we’ll reach a fair agreement.”
Lisa Bolton, vice president of telecommunications and technologies for CWA, said the “concessions that AT&T is demanding are insulting.”
“AT&T made nearly $30 billion in profits last year, and is reaping major benefits from the passage of the corporate tax cut bill,” she said. “They can afford to keep good family-supporting jobs in our communities instead of laying off workers and sending their work to low-wage contractors. Our members have overwhelmingly authorized a strike if necessary, and that is still an option.”
The two parties approved their massive “Orange” contract in January. The CWA also ratified a new “Black” contract for Southeast AT&T Mobility workers last month.