AT&T workers across Northern New England walk off the job

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AT&T workers across Northern New England walk off the job

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 3:09pm -- tim

Workers picket the AT&T store on Dorset Street in South Burlington during a three-day strike that began Friday afternoon. They said they would be back at work on Monday. VBM photo

Vermont Business Magazine AT&T workers who are members of Communications Workers of America (CWA) walked off the job today in Vermont, Northern New England and across the nation. About 35,000 workers are protesting AT&T’s failure to present serious proposals that invest in good jobs with a future, the union said in a press release issued Friday afternoon. During the three-day strike this weekend, a majority of AT&T wireless, wireline, and DIRECTV workers fighting for fair contracts are expected to be on strike, the union said.

Nationwide, the groups striking represent four different union contracts and include wireless workers in 36 states and DC; wireline workers in California, Nevada and Connecticut; and DIRECTV technicians in California and Nevada. This is the first time AT&T wireless workers have gone on strike, which could result in closed retail stores this weekend, the union said.

While the three-day strike may inconvenience customers in the short term, AT&T workers are committed to putting an end to unnecessary frustration and poor service because of AT&T’s lack of investment in its core business.

Workers are demanding AT&T commit to bargaining that addresses affordable benefits, fair wages, and job security. Workers are also protesting AT&T’s pervasive offshoring of jobs to low-wage contractors, which eliminate good jobs and hurt customer service.

WHAT: AT&T Workers on Strike
WHERE: Workers will be picketing at retail stores throughout the region.
The media are invited to the following locations:

Manchester, NH: Mall of New Hampshire, 1500 South Willow St, Manchester, NH
Portland, ME: 211 Marginal Way, Portland, ME
Bangor, ME: 878 Stillwater Ave, Bangor, ME
Burlington, VT: 49 Church Street, Burlington, VT

WHEN: From Friday, May 19, at 3pm through Sunday, May 21, at 11:59pm

Background:
After nearly four months of bargaining, AT&T wireless workers are striking to end AT&T’s assault on its employees and protect good jobs at America’s largest telecom company. Workers are fighting for wage increases that cover rising healthcare costs, basic job security, affordable healthcare, and a fair scheduling policy. Despite making over a $1 billion a month in profits, AT&T continues to squeeze customers and employees at a time when most Americans believe they are worse off financially than the generation before them.

Since 2011, AT&T has eliminated 12,000 call center jobs in the U.S., closing and downsizing call centers across the country. Rather than keeping those good-paying jobs here at home, AT&T has contracted with third-party vendors operating in countries with low wages and weak labor protections. A recent report from CWA shed new light on AT&T’s sprawling web of 38 third-party call centers in eight countries that are driving low wages and compromising quality service for millions of AT&T customers.

At AT&T’s annual shareholder meeting at the end of April, AT&T workers protested the company’s unfair bargaining and announced they had given the company 72-hours’ notice to end their contract extension.

In late March, 17,000 AT&T wireline workers in California and Nevada went on strike to protest the company’s changing of working conditions in violation of federal law. The strike ended when workers won an agreement with the company that it will no longer require employees to do work outside of their expertise and classification. Since a recent merger, 2,300 DIRECTV workers in California and Nevada have been in negotiations for their first contract since April 2016, and hundreds of workers at AT&T East who manage the 911 dispatch system for AT&T have also worked without a contract for over a year.

Source: Communications Workers of America 5.19.2017