May 24, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Chicago, IL – More than 40,000 AT&T workers went on strike May 19-21, demanding that the company commit to “bargaining that addresses affordable benefits, fair wages and job security” and stop its “pervasive offshoring of jobs to low-wage contractors, which eliminate good jobs and hurt customer service,” the Communications Workers of America said May 19.
The strikers comprised workers covered by four contracts that expired in February, including wireless workers in 36 states and Washington, D.C.; wireline workers in California, Nevada, and Connecticut; and DirecTV technicians in California and Nevada. “Despite being the largest telecom company in the country with nearly $1 billion a month in profits and the CEO earning $28 million, AT&T continues to pinch its workers’ basic needs and stand in the way of high-quality service its customers pay good money for,” Dennis Trainor, vice president of CWA District 1, said in the statement. The union said AT&T has eliminated 12,000 call center jobs in the U.S. since 2011 and sent them overseas. Illinois call-center worker Dea Polchow, 56, told the Chicago Tribune May 19 that while wages and health benefits were important, “you can’t talk about those if you don’t have a job.” AT&T said it couldn’t understand why workers would strike when some “average from $115,000 to $148,000 in total compensation.” “We make nowhere near that,” Josh Aboud of CWA Local 13000 in Pennsylvania told WJAC-TV May 21, while on a picket line in State College that was joined by Gov. Tom Wolf. Read more