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Latest News - August 2012

August 8, 2012
Why 20,000 AT&T Workers Went on Strike
By: Angela Nazworth

Telecommunications giant AT&T (NYSE:T) confirmed Tuesday that approximately 17,000 of its employees in California and Nevada, as well as 3,000 employees in Connecticut have gone on strike. The wire-line (also known as land-line) employees are represented by two divisions of The Communications Workers of America (CWA).
AT&T and the CWA have been renegotiating contracts with its wire-line workers since April. The former contracts officially expired on August 4.

While the company has successfully reached agreements that cover nearly 48,000 wire-line employees, it has yet to satisfy employees on the East and West coasts.

“These strikes are centered around unfair labor practices, denying workers the right to engage in protected activity, such as union activity,” a CWA spokesperson Candice Johnson told Bloomberg yesterday.
She said that the strikes on both coasts are not intended to “negotiate wages or pensions.”
The recent changes AT&T has proposed to its health care packages serves as an additional motivator for the strikes in Connecticut, according to Bill Henderson, president of CWA’s Local 1298 Connecticut unit.
“AT&T is trying to leverage that we’re in a bad economy and people need their jobs,” Henderson told Bloomberg.
On the section of its website devoted to the negotiations, AT&T says that the strike isn’t beneficial for anyone involved.
“A strike is not in anyone’s best interest, and it’s unfortunate local union leaders in the West and East regions chose to take this action, especially considering we have already reached agreements with local CWA and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) leaders in other contracts where employees perform the same type of work.”
The company went on to say that it’s not proposing to reduce wages or take away benefits.
“These employees are very well compensated, and they will continue to be,” the company said.
AT&T also announced Tuesday that AT&T Southeast (BellSouth Telecommunications) “reached a handshake on a tentative agreement” in CWA contract negotiations. The company says it reached the same type of agreement with the CWA that covers employees from AT&T Billing Southeast and Southeast Utility Operations.



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