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AT&T, CWA continue labor negotiations following 1-day strike

Approximately 17,000 CWA members protested last week at AT&T locations across California and Nevada, which resulted in a quick settlement on worker claims.

AT&T last week quickly reached an agreement with approximately 17,000 workers represented by the Communications Workers of Americas in California and Nevada following a one-day protest at AT&T call centers and offices.

CWA said the protests targeted AT&T actions in changing working conditions it said violated federal laws and came under the shadow of ongoing contract negotiations for landline and broadband employees. As part of the settlement ending the protests, CWA said AT&T agreed to no longer require technicians to “perform work assignments outside of their expertise and classification.”

The protests were conducted at call centers and offices in the two states, including locations in Los Angeles, Reno, Fresno, Sacramento, Bakersfield, Carson City, Tustin, San Diego and San Francisco. According to local press reports, CWA officials claimed AT&T was requiring technicians who typically install and maintain the company’s U-verse TV service to also work on the cables and hardware for landline phone service.

“We stand together in California and Nevada for good jobs and fair pay,” said Robert Longer, an AT&T technician in Sacramento, through a CWA statement. “We went on strike to demonstrate to the country that we will not do more work for less pay, especially when it puts us in a position not to deliver the best possible service.”

The carrier for its part said it was prepared to deal with the strike and continued to negotiate in good faith with CWA towards reaching a new deal with its wireline employees.

“We’re a union-friendly company, with more full-time, union-represented employees than any company in America,” AT&T spokesman Marty Richter told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re the only major wireless company with a unionized workforce.”

AT&T and CWA continue to negotiate on a number of fronts for union employees of both its wireline and DirecTV divisions. CWA said currently more than 21,000 wireless customer service and field workers are working under a contract extension that can be terminated with 72 hours’ notice as they continue to bargain with the company.

AT&T and CWA late last year reached a labor deal covering approximately 2,000 employees of the telecom operator’s DirecTV subsidiary, which it acquired in mid-2015. The agreement included three labor contracts covering employees at five call centers located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota; Englewood, Colorado; Huntington, West Virginia; Huntsville, Alabama; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

CWA and AT&T earlier in the year struck labor deals covering 42,000 employees of AT&T Mobility, after having an initial proposal voted down by union workers.

Last year, the CWA and International Brotherhood of Electrics Workers struck a four-year labor agreement with Verizon Communications, which ended a contentious strike. That agreement involved approximately 40,000 employees across both union groups, but was mostly focused on wireline employees.

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