Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Business | By Jorge Reeves

Union: Up to 40K walking off the job at AT&T this weekend

Union: Up to 40K walking off the job at AT&T this weekend

THE 700,000-member strong CWA is looking to build off its victory previous year over corporate behemoth Verizon after a long strike and to stop the loss of union-represented work at AT&T, as the company subcontracts its call center workforce to vendors across the global South.

The workers say they want fair wages, job security protection against outsourcing and affordable benefits.

AT&T's wireless workers have never gone on strike, and the union says the three-day strike, which would involve 40,000 workers nationwide, would have the potential to disrupt customer service.

Among the key issues, according to the union: a wage increase more than the 2 percent being offered by AT&T that will cover increased healthcare costs; a steady commission for AT&T store employees; no increase in healthcare costs until 2021; a ratio of company owned stores to authorized stores vacation; and a different sick day policy.

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Some 17,000 other potential protesters come from AT&T's home phone, internet and cable division in California, Nevada and CT.

A strike may cause many AT&T cell phone retail stores across the nation, including one in Burlington, to temporarily close this weekend.

Union bargaining across AT&T Mobility is split up across different regions of the country, with different contracts covering different states.

The Communications Workers of America union - which represents AT&T wireless, wireline and DirecTV workers - set a deadline of Friday at 9 a.m. Hawaii time for reaching a new deal.

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In Boardman, about 100 workers stood in front of the call center on South Avenue.

"This is a warning to AT&T: there's only one way out of this now - a fair contract. Coming around, asking, 'How many sales did you make?' They monitor every call, they nitpick every call that we take in there, and it's not a very good morale", said Sofia Simons, secretary for CWA Local 7110.

"This is the largest walkout in the US since Verizon workers went on strike previous year". I'm a single mother and my son is about to graduate.

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