More than 20,000 AT&T workers walked off the job in nine states to protest management’s behavior during recent contract negotiations. Members of the Communications Workers of America accused the company of stalling negotiations and “not bargaining in good faith.”
“We entered these negotiations prepared to bargain in good faith with AT&T to address our members’ concerns and to work together to find solutions,” CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt said in a statement on Friday. “Our talks have stalled because it has become clear that AT&T has not sent negotiators who have the power to make decisions so we can move forward toward a new contract.”
The last agreement between the union and AT&T ran out on Aug. 3, the Tennessean reported.
In a statement AT&T disputed the union’s characterization of the bargaining. “We have offered the union terms that are consistent with what other CWA-represented employees have approved in recent contract negotiations; the company has reached 20 fair agreements since 2017 covering more than 89,000 employees. The Southeast contract covers fewer than 8 percent of our employees,” AT&T said in a statement to the Tennessean.
Among the 20,000 striking workers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, there are technicians, customer service representatives and those who help install and maintain the network.
The strike began Friday at midnight, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. In addition to the walkout, the union filed “unfair labor practice charges” to the National Labor Review Board against AT&T in Florida, according to CWA.