AT&T union workers picket as contract negotiations continue

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ALABAMA (WHNT) - Picket lines are going up across the southeast region of the country after negotiations over a union contract expired.

Here in the Tennessee Valley, AT&T employees are also fighting for what they want.

"We don't want to do an actual strike," said Ken McKenzie. That's not good for our community, it's not good for our members."

He is he vice president of the Huntsville chapter of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union.

Employees are holding informational pickets to get the word out there about ongoing contract negotiations.

"The company is not wiling to partner the way we think they ought to partner with us," said McKenzie.

Across the region, the picketing has been going on for weeks now, and they say it's not about wages, but about quality of life.

"Right now we have employees that come in 8 o'clock and they're forced to take work until almost midnight, that leaves them no family time," said McKenzie

He says some others work for more than ten days straight with no time off.

Thursday morning, picketers were in Athens before going in to work as union leaders go back and forth on the agreement up for renewal.

"It wouldn't have expired if we couldve got an agreement from AT&T that was good for our members, our community," he said.

Retirees, family time, time-off, and benefits are at the top of the priority list. Dozens of thousands of AT&T employees are affected, and are represented by the national union that is negotiating, and picketing for better conditions.

The Huntsville CWA chapter is planning a picket sometime next week.

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