More than 1,000 AT&T workers in the Midwest and some Legacy T locations are on member-initiated strikes as negotiations continue for 14,000 workers covered by Midwest and Legacy T contracts.
The workers are members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Linda Hinton, CWA District 4 vice president, said “spontaneous, member-led actions have occurred throughout CWA District 4’s territory.”
Last month, the CWA’s executive board voted to approve a strike. The decision allowed CWA President Chris Shelton to set a strike date if negotiators can’t reach an agreement.
“Members are reporting dissatisfaction and outright disgust with AT&T’s attempts to bypass the union and deal directly with the membership by submitting a ‘final offer‘ to employees,” Hinton said. “Members also report unrest regarding the company’s continued refusal to provide relevant information to the union. In addition, numerous other unfair labor practices have been cited by members throughout the district. This pattern of bad-faith conduct by the company has resulted in the filing of multiple
unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board by the union.”
Marty Richter, AT&T spokesman, said this is not a general strike in that the entire bargaining units haven’t gone out. He confirmed the walkouts are mainly in the Midwest and a few Legacy T locations as well.
“A walkout is in nobody’s best interest, and it’s unfortunate that the union chose to do that,” he said. “This contract currently covers good-paying U.S. jobs averaging over $120,000 a year in pay and benefits, with some making over $200,000. After over 10 weeks of negotiations, we have presented a final offer to the union’s negotiating team at the bargaining table with a goal of bringing this process to a close and reaching a fair agreement for our employees.”
Regarding the CWA’s claim of AT&T negotiating directly with membership through e-mail, Richter said “after we presented terms to the union at the bargaining table, we communicated them to our employees, as permitted by law.”
Despite the company’s efforts to “bypass the union and limit its access to information, the union’s bargaining team has worked tirelessly and remains committed to reaching the best agreement for our members and their families,” Hinton said.