July 19, 2019
About one week after one group of AT&T workers in Puerto Rico ratified a new four-year contract, another group has voted to authorize a strike, if necessary, as contract negotiations continue with the carrier.
Members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) working at AT&T Southeast voted for the strike authorization. The contract, which is set to expire Aug. 3, covers more than 20,000 wireline employees in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and St. Croix, the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“Our bargaining team has brought proposals to the table that will ensure that AT&T does not leave communities behind in the Southeast,” said Richard Honeycutt, CWA District 3 vice president. “Our members are prepared to do whatever it takes to support their negotiations. AT&T is highly profitable and has received huge tax windfalls in the past few years.”
AT&T should be investing in its network and in its workforce “so that we have modern, reliable telecommunications service everywhere, not just in the big cities and wealthiest areas,” he said.
“It should keep customer service jobs here where its customers are instead of shipping them overseas,” Honeycutt said.
AT&T’s Marty Richter
AT&T spokesman Marty Richter tells Channel Partners a strike vote is very routine in negotiations of this sort and is often a part of the process.
“We’re bargaining with the union and we’re committed to reaching a fair agreement that will allow us to continue to provide solid union-represented careers with competitive wages and benefits,” he said. “We’re confident an agreement will be reached.”
In the meantime, the CWA has criticized AT&T for continuing job cuts. Last month, AT&T started notifying employees that their jobs are at risk as part of its plans to cut 1,880 U.S. jobs during the next few months, it said.
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