Despite posting a $19.4 Billion profit in 2018, AT&T is refusing to bargain with members of Communications Workers of America. The contract of AT&T technical and call center employees has expired, and now they’re on strike, asking to keep their current pay and benefits.
Are you an employee of UGA? You can join the United Campus Workers of Georgia, a part of CWA.
More than 20,000 AT&T workers have gone on strike across the southeast over unfair labor practices and bad faith in contract negotiations. The strike started on Saturday and includes technicians and call center employees.
AT&T Worker: “I’m a service technician with AT&T here in Athens, Georgia.”
APN: “So, what are you guys doing out here today?”
AT&T Worker: “Our contract ended August the 3rd, we extended it a week. Our bargaining team and the company couldn’t come to an agreement. Their bargaining team cannot make the decisions that need to be made. So, they’re not getting anywhere in negotiations, so CWA district 3 has called a strike for unfair labor practices. If you’re not going to send people to bargain that have the authority to make decisions, why are we bargaining?”
AT&T posted a $19.4 billion dollar profit last year, but if you think the Communications Workers of America or CWA are out asking for more money, you’d be surprised.
AT&T Worker: “Hey, we’re just trying to get a fair contract, so all of us can come out here and provide for our families, and you know, the ultimate is to provide service for the customers.”
APN: “So, AT&T wants to get rid of your benefits?”
AT&T Worker: “They wanna charge us more for our insurance and healthcare and stuff like that. There was a proposal for a cut in pay. And raising the rates for our benefits.”
APN: “Do you think it’s fair, that they’re asking for a cut in pay?”
AT&T Worker: “I don’t think it’s fair. We all come out here and work 40, 50, 60 hours a week, you know. And, we’re compensated very good for it. We’d just like to keep what we have. So, we’re not asking for more.”
Joe Fu, United Campus Workers of Georgia: “I mean it’s the most modest demand you could possibly imagine, what the heck? These people are just trying to live a life, trying to work a job, trying to do the best they can. What’s crazy about what they’re asking for? Nothing.”
Strikes in Athens are few and far-between, but with AT&T hiring non-unionized workers and CWA determined to hold out, this one might last for a while.
Want to support the workers on strike? If you’re a UGA employee, you can join their union! The United Campus Workers of Georgia is a part of CWA and is available to any UGA employee. To join, head to www.ucwga.com/join.