HUNTSVILLE, Ala.- More than 20,000 AT&T workers went on strike over alleged unfair labor practices in nine states across the Southeast, according to Communications Workers of America, a union representing many of the company’s employees who work in call centers and maintain the company’s telecommunications network.
Members of CWA local unions across nine states, including Alabama, took up places in front of AT&T facilities to protest negotiation tactics employed by the company. The strike includes AT&T employees in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Workers gathered at several places in Huntsville to let their voices be heard including AT&T facilities on Clinton Avenue, Gilmer Drive, Stanwood Boulevard, Diamond Drive and Fountain Circle.
AT&T is negotiating contracts for its Southeast employees, but the union says the company sent people to negotiate with them who did not have the authority to make deals.
The strike involves over 20,000 technicians, customer service representatives and others who install, maintain and support AT&T’s wireline telecommunications network.
Here is the full release from CWA Local 3905
"20,000 plus Communications Workers of America members at AT&T Southeast went on strike effective 11:01 pm CST on 8/23/2019 over unfair labor practices committed by management during negotiations for a new contract. The states include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The strike involves call center representatives, and outside technicians who strive every day to provide the best service to our customers.
CWA District 3, Vice President Richard Honeycutt, has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against AT&T for the following reasons, 1.) bargaining in bad faith with the union-failure to provide a bargaining representative who has the authority to make decisions, negotiate with the union, and reach an agreement. 2.) Over turning an established past practice with regards to the bargaining process and compensation for employees who serve on the bargaining team.
Here in North Alabama, CWA Local 3905, represents approximately 980 members, 300 that are affected by this strike. These dedicated members started walking the picket lines at 7:00 a.m. on 8/24/2019. Our area ranges from Cullman, all the way up to Stevenson, AL. The members want AT&T to know that they are ready to stay out as long as it takes. We would also like to say thank you to all other union members that have stood in our line, and supported our fight.
If you ask us what our demands are, our demands are that AT&T get back to the bargaining table, with the appropriate negotiators. It is not our intent to put any undue hardship on AT&T’s customers, however, the company must know their employees deserve fair negotiations!!" -David Betz, CWA Local 3905 President
AT&T spokesperson Marty Richter issued a statement to our news partners al.com.
“A strike is in no one’s best interest,” Richter said. "We remain ready to sit down with union leaders to listen to their concerns and work with them on negotiating a new, improved contract for our employees.
“We’re surprised and disappointed that union leaders would call a strike at this point in the negotiations, particularly when we’re offering terms that would help our employees – some of whom average from $121,000 to $134,000 in total compensation – be even better off.”
AT&T has issued a statement to some media outlets saying in the event of a work stoppage they will continue to work hard and serve customers.