AT&T Averts One Strike, May Have Another

By  |  Friday, April 3, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Several of our readers have confused our previous coverage of the CWA/AT&T contract ratification with what is going on with another CWA/AT&T spat, this one having to do with wireline workers. It now appears that if a deal cannot be reached here, these workers may strike as early as Sunday.

88 percent of union members have voted to authorize a strike, which would affect AT&T East, AT&T Midwest, AT&T Southwest, AT&T West and AT&T Legacy, a nationwide unit.

Another division, AT&T Southeast, would not strike as their contract expires on August 8. However, the union has lumped negotitations for that contract with the those that are set to expire.

CWA Executive Vice President Annie Hill said that negotiations are ongoing, however prodded AT&T management to “get serious” if they wanted a deal before the expiration date.

Hill pointed to the company’s success even in this recessionary environment as reason enough for it to agree to the union’s demands. At issue are health care cuts, and access to higher-tech jobs for current workers.

While the union is talking bad, let me remind everybody the CWA reps for the AT&T Mobility negotitations were doing the same. So, it very well could be that workers may do business as usual under the old contract while the two sides continue negotiating.

AT&T customers can expect degraded technical support and repair service during any strike, and it may be problematic to start new service. In a strike, typically companies will focus first on existing customers before attempting to take on new ones.



100 Comments For This Post

  1. Lea Willison Says:

    AT&T is successful, yet that mostly came from the wireliness business. The landline business has been steadily decline. Why couldn’t union workers of landline business contribute to the cost of fast increasing health care cost? Why should AT&T’s wireless workers and management employees continue to subsdize the health care cost of CWA union workers. I would like to have a job that pays no premium for my health care and has no deductible, but how many companies provide that before turning into another GM?

  2. Jim Says:

    The company has been spending billions of dollars over the past 5 years for these unionized employee healthcare cost. It’s time for the union to make concessions and step into the real world and payup!

  3. Chard Says:

    Readers wouldn’t have been confused had it not been for your ridiculous article implying that the long-resolved Mobility contract was somehow breaking news.

  4. Ed Oswald Says:

    Chard: Our article never implied it was breaking. However, we get a large number of hits for those old articles. I suggest you read things thoroughly and understand our previous coverage of the topic before you attack. Thank you.

  5. Matt Says:

    AT&T made 12.9 BILLION( $12,900,000,000.00) in PROFIT last year…what did G.M. make or most large corporations for that matter?

    If at&t is doing badly how is it that they have plenty of money to pay the executives insane amounts of compensation and for what? The stock price has been stagnant for nearly 10 years all the while the board of directors….or let me rephrase that..THE GOOD OLD BOYS CLUB…have been being payed for doing ???

    When a board of directors o.k.’s $154,000,000.00 for just one man’s retirement(over $500,000,000.00 or over 1/2 BILLION in total compensation) and pay the current C.E.O. (who is a hired hand just like everyone else)$1,200,000.00 every 25 days than they certainly have the funds to support middle class wages and benefits for the people who perform the work, in the trenches, that keeps the world’s communications running. Oh, and he pays NOTHING for him and his entire family’s health care as do all at&t “executives”.

    I really do not understand Americans thinking it is O.K. for everyone except executives to participate in this “race to the bottom” mentality as far as their social economic status.

    If at&t were in dire straits I would not disagree with you but
    when will the middle class stand up and say “ENOUGH”!

    This cannot continue to happen as with what happened to our country’s Manufacturing Base.

  6. jon Says:

    Go ahead settle for less, if you want. Or you can fight for what you were promise and worked hard for. At&t is a profitable company and as a hourly employee I pay taxes to subsidize every state, federal employees and illegals that don’t pay for health care at all. So before you start pointing fingers and give up everything to the man because we are in recession start with yourself and let us decide our own outcome in our life. Becides mgt make more money than hourly employees do and mgt is expendable.

  7. VR22 Says:

    In regards to the commits Lea Willison made, you must not understand that the land-line business is still the backbone of the company, carrying not only voice, but now it has the added responsibilities of internet and Uverse television bestowed upon it. The corporation garbage that is spewing out of you is horrendous to those technicians who go to work everyday and keep AT&T an iconic global leader in the telecommunications industry. Without the commitment of the work force, this company will become another GM.

  8. Chard Says:

    Ed, you most certainly did imply it was breaking. You said:

    “I’ve noticed a lot of folks visiting us to discuss the AT&T/CWA contract negotiations. As a service to our readers, I wanted to give you all an update on where things stand. A strike has been averted, as the CWA announced Friday it has ratified a new contract.”

    A lot of folks were NOT visiting to discuss the long-settled Mobility contract, I guarantee you that. People are waiting to check on the imminently expiring landline contracts which expire tonight. You gave “us all” an update on where things stand…by telling us about the Mobility contract which was a foregone conclusion.

    If you were able to admit your title was misleading, we could move on. Why would you “give an update” about something that was already assumed? In the other post, I implied that was like posting a headline “United States Declares War is Over” and then saying that WWII has ended, when people are expecting to read about Iraq or Afghanistan.

  9. Ed Oswald Says:

    Chard, this will be my final reply to you. We HAVE NEVER covered the landline contract until 12 hours ago. Obviously, you have never visited Technologizer before these posts or you would have known this. It’s telling that those criticizing that post have never posted a comment on any post other than the AT&T ones, and the only posts we’ve needed to edit the comments have basically been these posts.

    I’m not going to admit anything to somebody who’s obviously arguing for the sake of arguing. If you want to get technical sir, this kind of discussion is actually outside of Technologizer’s realm.

  10. Chard Says:

    VR22, no one group of people makes or keeps AT&T as the global leader of anything. The union is not shafted, shorted, or cheated out of anything. The company owes the union nothing. If they feel wages are too low or health coverage is lacking (and you obviously don’t have the skillsets to negotiate their own benefits), then they can strike. But let’s not paint the company as some evil monster. GM is run into the ground to due just this type of attitude. Once you get your paycheck and your healthcare premium is paid, the company is no longer indebted to you in anyway.

    I’ve been working alongside the union long enough to know that it’s just a big game to them. They work as absolutely little as possible. Jobs which should take them two hours often take six or more because they don’t want to look “too good”. And it’s not rocket science. Even a technically complex product like U-verse is not difficult to install. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist. Managers who have never spliced a wire together took a few weeks of training to prepare for work stoppage and after a few jobs will be about as qualified as a U-verse tech. Sure, occasionally they have to lug something heavy around, but we don’t pay a lot in this country for grunt work either.

  11. VR22 Says:

    Maybe we will see how much these low level, unintelligent technicians really do when and if the union decides to strike. I would enjoy watching the management staff get out there and complete these “non-rocket science” installs you are referring to. I am very curious if they would be able to complete some of the repairs that require you to climb a 20ft telephone pole and search through hundreds of pairs in the cable. I saw a man yesterday doing this kind of work and after visiting with him for a few moments at the stop sign, I have a higher regard for what they do. I can tell one thing, you could not pay my doughnut eating, walking around with a cup of coffee all day manager, enough money to get up there and do that type of work. I can guarantee that AT&T are full of these types of managers that sit in front of a computer screen all day and try to stay just under the radar so that will not have to do anything and focus on their after work activities. It will be interesting to say the least when these “low level” skills are attempted by others!

  12. Chard Says:

    VR22, during the last strike, even though there was only a small fraction of managers covering for union workers, things went pretty well. The main exceptions were some union oysters cutting cables at crossover boxes and other vandalism that the unions are known for. At the shop I was stationed, the three replacement workers not only did the work, but cleared a backlog that had been dogging the seven-man strong garage for weeks. They actually called around the entire state to see if we could help anywhere else, and the other strike supervisors all told similar stories: the managers were the best workers they ever had! Perhaps managers don’t have the attitude instilled in them to do as little work as possible. They know that even if they try to fly under the radar, they are responsible for their own employment, for sharpening their own skills, and don’t have to leave it to corrupt leadership to bargain on their behalf.

  13. Chard Says:

    And I’ll tell you what: the managers DID get out and do that work. We had 60-year old ladies climbing poles, computer geeks splicing cable, new hires handling call center traffic, and near-retirees marking cable. Not bad for some “doughnut eating, walking around with a cup of coffee all day managers”. On the other hand, it will be funny trying to train a cable splicer with some online simulation games how to program a billing system, or to train a uverse tech in 100 hours how to do handle accounting software. It wouldn’t work that way, would it.

  14. VR22 Says:

    It seems like you are trying to paint the picture that the management staff at AT&T are “God like beings” who the company has treated like gold! What has the company done for the managers? Taken away their bonuses? Yep, that’s been done! How about stock options? Many behind closed door stock dealings has sent the managers investments down the toilet while “The good ole boys” atop the food chain has sold at just the right time! I do not think the managers are as ready and willing as you do! The company’s top exec’s are looking out for their own and that will be their downfall. Motivated management teams could be dangerous during contract negotiations, but in this case, the company has not been partial with who it kicks around.

  15. Chard Says:

    VR22, management got bonuses this year, in fact probably a much higher percentage than most companies. I’m not sure what “taken away their bonuses” means.

    Out of many things I can complain about, salary treatment and bonuses are not among them. Then again, when I’m responsible for my own performance and can bargain on my own behalf, maybe that’s what happens.

    It must be a really sad life to live like the unions with such an adversarial relationship with their employers.

  16. VR22 Says:

    Chard, with what I have been reading, the union is not asking for anything extra except the training of the current employees for future jobs that come up within the company, They want to keep what they got and for a company that made 124 billion, yes, that billions, that does not seem to absurd. When you have a salary and benefits that you have based your life on for 10-20, and bargained hard for, that is not something you should let go of easily. If this makes for an adversarial relationship with the employer, then so be it! I am sure if they were asking you to take a pay cut and take more money out of your wallet for benefits, you too would try and remedy this before it occurred! and as far as the happy managers go, I have spoken with many and they do not have the optimistic view of the company that you share with us today!

  17. Chard Says:

    Then they’re free to go! I support the union’s right to strike, but am against painting enriched benefits as their “right” or something they’re entitled to. If it was, they’d be suing in a court of law, not sending in union negotiators. Increased training and increased health benefits (yes, when the price of something goes up and you still pay the same, it’s an increased benefit) are something they want, not things that are rightfully theirs.

  18. jon Says:

    I work at telecom co not to mention names, and I am one of these worthless techs that sit around and does as little as possible as you have mentioned. Just to mention what mgt does at our work is a joke. In the morning they come out of the office to yell at us to get out of the yard as quick as possible so they can make it to their favorite breakfeast spot, then the come back to pretend they are paying attention to a company pod call. By the time that is over they suck up to their boss ass and ask him where do you want to go for lunch? After lunch comes the grind. They roll around out in the field to check up on their crew to harrass them into working harding and picking up extra work so they can look good and get a larger bonus. Just fyi techs don’t fuck off like you think. Most techs do quality work and value how good of work they do. Keep in mind the company is profittable and its because of the quality care given to customers receive from the techs going out to the premise. You can pay us less and by doing that you might just get what you paid for! You might just end up like a GM. And I guarantee you most of the mgt I know don’t know how to do any of the work we do, so good luck with that! So to come to an end of this arguement you can whine all you want about how little of work you think we do, all you want. But the truth is that you just Pompous Ass wishing you had we have work hard for to get and you complain because your to lazy to work yourself so you rather kiss managements ass instead of being in the field.

  19. Chard Says:

    The techs I rode with were actually skilled at doing their assigned tasks, I will give them that. But I’ve spend time with some who spend most of their time trying to dodge complex installs, or sit in the truck for an hour waiting to complete their last job so that they get an easy task auto-assigned from GCAS. One guy wasted two hours refreshing the jobs list so that he could get assigned a 20-minute VoIP install for the 2 1/2 hours that gets allotted to it.

    Why is that “you just Pompous Ass” and “your to lazy to work yourself”? I actually work very hard. In fact, I have skills that I can negotiate with the company. And I support your right to do the same. But how much the company makes has no bearing on it. You’re not entitled to anything else. If you want to walk, then nobody’s holding you back.

    Is it true that if the union strikes this week, that Good Friday is a holiday and they’d miss out on that too?

    By the way, how much is union leadership sacrificing for you? Are they going to not get paid if you walk as well?

  20. jon Says:

    Most of the union won’t get paid if craft walks and some might. The union is the people and the people are securing their pay and benefits. Just as I hope you would do the same for yourself and your family. Everybody knows how lazy some people are in general in al walks of life wether they are mgt or hourly they are there, and it is what it is. But you did make a blanket statement about most of us are lazy and try to find the easiest job to do less work. Maybe the company needs to come up with a better coefficients to make jobs more evenly amounst the techs. But I am deserving of what i get paid and I will always negociate for more that is the american way.

  21. VR22 Says:

    Chard, a company is nothing without its employees, and OWES them fair wages and benefits. The last strike that happened the managers and contract laborers went out into the field for four days and it took almost 6 months to clean up the mess that they created trying to fix problems! Employees slacking off at times happens at every company throughout the world, not just at companies with union backed employees. Don’t fool yourself, the unions are strong and with a little government backing that they have now in the white house, they are not going anywhere. Companies have law firms to represent themselves, having a few selected members to stand up for what the company owes the employees is justified. Remember, union members around the country are AT&T’s customers as well as employees. I am sure Verizon and sprint would love for this get nasty! The People still have a powerful voice if unified in solidarity.

  22. Chard Says:

    VR22, a company only owes employees what the two agree to. If not, you’re free to walk and apply your skill to perform assigned tasks somewhere else.

    As far as the “mess”, we had completed more jobs and had higher satisfaction than double the amount of union employees during regular time (although we did work about 30% more due to overtime, we still applied fewer man-hours). Much of the mess was cleaning up the vandalism from the union against all sorts of company property. Is vandalism and destruction of company property something that the national union directs its members to do, or is cutting cable and sabotaging facilities left up to the local unions?

  23. Chard Says:

    I just want to emphasize again that I support the right of the union to negotiate its wages and benefits, 100%. Go for it! Just don’t confuse that “what you want” in negotiations with “what is deserved” or what you’re entitled to. As I said before, if the company had paid you less than what you were entitled to, you’d be in a court of law and not in bargaining. And, don’t think that the union leadership cares about you any more or less than the company. Are they going to go without if you do?

  24. ted Says:

    Jon & vr22 your aurgument is falling on deaf ears. Chad is a company hack & no matter what you say it will not change his mind or mean anything. The first lines are not allowed to or can’not think for themselves.They can only do what the second line tells them to. He’s managment & we are not! You remember the old phrase( those that can do & those that can’t become managers). I’ve been company for 10 years, gone through 7 first lines & NOT ONE OF THEM KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT THE JOB TITLE THEY WERE IN CHARE OF. In fact the more they screwed up the better job promotions they got. Management did still get their team award,it was only craft that did not. Randall Stevens said he gave up his bonus, but what was not said was he took it all in stock options. How generous was that? As for as being a lazy ass craft why is it that I will get a order with only 1 1/2 hours to complete but has 8-900′ of drop, 4 spans and 3 trees to connect to all off a ladder and 2 jacks? Then when I go to some brillant minded first line like Chard, all he can say is deal with it. This is very common in my area.

  25. ken Says:

    I am rather astounished at the back biting comments I have read. I am a Calif att tech. ATT has stripped california to the bone, moved the centers, dropped staffing levels to what is now near impossible levels. This was done once before, in the mid 90’s before SBC bought what was then Pacbell. In 1996 a massive hiring frenzy happened to replenish the skill in the company, becuase although the company had saved money in employees, and having to pay benefits, and medical costs, it forgot the most important thing. THE CUSTOMER ! When a company forgets the customers its serving then its doing them a great disservice. I can only speak for those of us in california, that are suffering along with the rest in the nation during this recessionary period. California homes lossing 30-60 percent of their values, Prices of everything consumer based, shooting though the sky. Although I thought of was making a modest income , now I feel like I did when I was a lowly Air Force Military person. People look at you thinking you make so much, but don’t take into account what situation you might be in. I can’t transfer in my company to a lower cost area, becuase theres no pervision for it, I can’t afford to do it my self, as I can’t sell my home.

    So now you sit back and wonder why the employee want some garrentees? To the many of us that put the CUSTOMER FIRST, we work our butts off as to better the customer, the company, in hopes that we can at least get the recognition from our company that we are worth keeping, and we are doing a good job. With what I have read lately from the net the company is just slapping the employees in the face. In the west we already got slapped by the company when they somehow came up with numbers saying the west didn’t make its commitments.. BULL . And the management of the west knows it.

    So I hope the rest reading this, might temper its ideas that the employees are somehow taking advantage of the BIG BAD Phone company. Please support the picketers if and when you see them. thank you!

  26. Chard Says:

    I’m not a first line. Where did you get that idea?

    How much did your union leadership give up for you this year? Are they going to go without pay while they play with your family’s future and the food on your table?

  27. mmk Says:

    It is a fact that landline use is dropping with all of the use of cell phones- but, in case of emergency- at home- what do you want- that reliable land line-directing the police/fire ambulance to your doorstep- also the Highly touted Uverse- don’t have it yet, but everyone that I know who does says it’s fantastic- Uverse is tied to what- Let’s all say it together- Landlines- sure it uses some fiberoptics- but the final steps to your house are based on land lines- on new installations- fiber is installed, but existing communities are tied in by wire- so lets keep that new technology going – CWA union members- Keep working hard as 90% of you do and deserve a fair shake from the company- and try to get the 10% that don’t work 10 days a year -off the books-they are leaches sucking your deserved pay and benefits- In unity there is strengh-

  28. JON Says:

    Workers benefits do not come from your companies kindness and generosity. They have been negotiated in lieu of wages over the years. To give any of those hard won “benefits” would be a pay cut when the company is increasing and paying a dividend again . Because the workers wireless side of the business didn’t or couldn’t stand up for themselves and/or chose wages over health care benefits is no reason to give back my wages. I suggest next time they stand up and make the company give them a better contract.

  29. ted Says:

    Chard: Sure sounds like first or second line mentality to me!!

  30. C.J. Says:

    Tell me why it’s ok for a CEO to make a $1,200,000.00 salary and stock options that were over $34,000,000.00 to keep him at the company for his talent? I am a copper and fiber optics splicer at at&t with over 30 years.
    I am a very skilled technician and work a good 8 hours for 8 hours of pay. Why then do people feel that when your union tries to keep our wages, our health benefits, some sort of pension and our jobs from leaving our state we are considered greedy? My boss is a great guy and a good boss, but even he knows he will be lucky if he produces 1/10 of the work if we go out on strike.

    And Chard, as for “We had 60-year old ladies climbing poles, computer geeks splicing cable,……” you are living in a fantasy world if you believe that. I am 50 years old and a women who has work 27 of my years as an outside tech. I am in great shape and can hike a pole with the best of them. No women, let along a man, that has not been doing this job for the last 10 years that is over 50 is going to hike a pole and get any work done up there.
    As for splicing cable, sure a person can splice a cable with some training but I can splice a 900 pair cable in 2 hours with no errors. I’ve seen new guys take 8 hours or longer and still have errors.
    When we strike the company will come to a sudden halt. The Prem techs are very highly specialized. At&t’s U-verse is not cable TV. 5 days training does not make someone a Prem tech. The company needs to step up and pay these guys what they are worth and make them permanent.
    Believe me the managers are all behind us too. It’s the CEO and higher management that are using the economy this time around to try and take back all we have gained over 30 years. At&t is making money hand over fist and even thought they say the landlines are disappearing they skew the numbers. 10 years ago customers had 2 landlines, one for phone and one for the computer. With DSL you only need one line. With cell phones many disconnected their landlines but with U-verse they are going back in. We don’t just work on residential lines we keep the fiber backbone up and running for U-verse, 611, hospitals and a whole lot more.
    Am I glad to have a job? You better believe I am, but when have the people of the U.S. decided it’s unfair for skilled workers to want to be paid for what we are worth and that it’s OK for the CEO’s to be paid obscene sums of money.

    CWA over 120,000 strong and ready.

  31. NOTUnionNOTExec Says:

    I don’t agree with all the management conditions (Executives) because most management I know are guys just like the union workers except they don’t have union.

    But keep your company healthy, strike solves nothing.

    Why doesn’t the Union buy a lot of AT&T stock and get voting powers over the executive salary, this will keep the power balance in check.

    They decide your salary and benefits, you decide theirs!

  32. cflt Says:

    I just have to comment on what a few people are saying about AT&T employees and their healthcare. My husband has worked for them for the last 15 years. We do pay deductibles and we do pay for a portion of our dental and our eye insurance. We also pay quite a bit in union dues so for all of you that think we get a free ride, well guess again. Before I forget we also pay for prescriptions at a discount but we don’t get them for free. If this was your job and your family you would want what was best for them to.

  33. Jeni Says:

    I seriously don’t understand why a CEO’s worth is so much more than that of the Prem Techs. If it weren’t for the blue collar worker, the white collar worker wouldn’t have a job.
    My husband is a Prem Tech. In the past 6 months, he’s worked 6 day weeks, 10+ hours a day, the last stretch was for almost 2 months straight. The LEAST they can do for their workers is let them keep their benefits. Most of them (statistically, not everyone is a hard worker) work like beasts for AT&T, and do it because they believe in the product they’re working with. They do their best to give their best to both the customer AND their Employer. The thanks they get? “Oh, the CEO decided to decline a bonus for 2008”. PREM TECHS DON’T GET A BONUS. These guys want a cost of living raise and to keep their benefits. They don’t want to hang your kidneys from their rearview mirrors, they don’t want to play darts with your face, and they don’t want to take away your multi-million dollar salary. Just to work. And get paid a respectable wage. And to be able to provide in both money and healthcare for their families.

  34. ted Says:

    Personally I don’t want to strike , but I don’t want to be punished for helping make the company 12.9 billion in profit either!

  35. anthony Says:

    Ten years ago I took a job to better my career and my family to work for a very well established company, now I watch as upper management decides to ruin the company. I used to enjoy coming to work, but now I dred it. But at least we have a UNION willing to fight for us to make it worth coming to work. Now I know all of management will say at least you have a job, because I hear it eveyday, and i am happy to have a job. But what it still remains that we work for a multi billion dollar company that only cares about themselves and stockholders, and not the customers, retirees, or the workers(the backbone) of the industry,that can make or break this company.1union 1fight 1future, CWA area steward northern california

  36. Unionsdontwork Says:

    why do you keep taking down all my posts!?

  37. Harry McCracken Says:

    Folks: You’re welcome (invited, even) to use our comments section to discuss all this. But please, no personal attacks or bad language. If I’ve deleted any of your messages, that’s why.


  38. Unionsdontwork Says:

    Sorry, Harry. I actually know you pretty well and had no idea you were associated with this site (ironically). I promise to behave better now 😉 I have to say (even if just to you), this strike is complete and utter BS.

  39. Unionsdontwork Says:

    I am really trying to understand why this strike is neccessary or called for. Can someone that thinks it is – please explain to me. Beyond just the fact that the union’ites are called to pay the same amount as management for health insurance – is there another reason? I want to understand and not be so angry, so please explain.

  40. Dave'sWife Says:

    CWA. TELEPHONE PIONEERS. My man WORKS, has for over ten years, never mattered when they’ve needed him, he has always delivered. And he is SMART, strong, healthy and keeps himself that way to do his job & deliver service to the customers. And his jobs are not easy! He has exemplary record & a strong work ethic- he isn’t alone. The outside guys in the field, they are the face of the company that the public sees, the outside guys help earn those profits for the execs.

    Union bashers are usually just unable to join themselves, for whatevr reasons: qualifications, skills, education, whatever.
    GO CWA for AMERICAN FAMILIES & Our Retirees!

  41. Unionsdontwork Says:

    GREAT NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!


    First contracts between AT&T and CWA expire without work stoppage

    April 4 (11 p.m. CDT) – AT&T Inc. and Communications Workers of America (CWA) Core wireline contracts in the eastern time zone expired at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Saturday, April 4. Union-represented employees covered by these contracts will work under the expired contracts. Negotiations are continuing in the Midwest, Southwest and West and updates will follow.

    In the Southeast, where the contract does not expire until August 8, both parties have agreed to stop negotiations and reconvene this summer – as they would have under normal circumstances.

    AT&T stands ready to negotiate at any time in a continuing effort to reach an agreement.

  42. Unionsdontwork Says:

    Dave’sWife – trust me when I say, I have no interest in joining a union.

  43. strike2live Says:

    Unrealistic massive cost shifting to our members on healthcare

    · Elimination of Lump Sum pension option

    · No base wage increases for 2 years for ANY member

    · Elimination of Sunday Premium

    · Eliminate double time after 49 hours

    · Unlimited Mandatory Forced Overtime – in ALL States

    · Elimination of Guaranteed Personal Time Off

    · Gutting our Job Security Agreements

    · Destroying our current Monitoring protections

    · New Service Representative title at a 40% reduction in base wages

    · Refusal to bargain for current retirees

    · No movement on DataCom workforce issues

    · Negative proposals regarding ALL Uverse members

  44. Dave'sWife Says:

    Check out CWA’s site for issues. Bargaining Works!

  45. Unionsdontwork Says:

    CWA’s site seems to promote propaganda and doesn’t provide any clear information on the subject. It is scary that they are strong-arming people into making bad choices. I am sorry that you feel that any strike would be neccessary. You are really only hurting yourself at the end of the day. Check this out – and see what that union is doing (they are working for their members in a much more effective way).

  46. John Says:

    As a manager, I wonder what effect the next CWA contact will have on us.

    Many of us have been told we are at the “top of our pay grade” for five years and any kind of increase over one-two percent would not be possible. Old AT&T supported many teleworkers who were first threatened with outright relocation and then told to come into an local office, even if no one on their team was in the same area. Net result is higher expense for the employee and much closer attention to the clock–those twelve hour days at crunch time just aren’t going to happen if we must endure an hour of commute at either end.

    I can “negotiate” by handing in my resignation, and that’s about it. I suspect that most of the 1 and 2 level managers who have endured less than cost-of-living increases harbor resentment at the flush wages paid in at the top. Frankly, I don’t see how anyone can look into the executive washroom mirror and say with a straight face, “You are worth 100 times the average worker’s wage.”

    Really? Executive wages in this country are as much of a game as the guy sitting in a truck wheedling two hours out of a 20 minute job, or managers who read all their personal email and surf ESPN for hours. If you press an executive on the lousy stock performance, they’ll point at the market. It’s not their fault!

    So why, exactly, are shareholders paying them $8600/hour?

    I’m fairly sure those of us who haven’t seen any kind of raises for most of the past decade secretly hope the union succeeds.

  47. Jeni Says:

    Unionsdontwork – AT&T is, for all intents and purposes, asking employees to take a salary cut. They are being asked to pay for 50% (sometimes more) of their benefits, and being offered an almost insignificant pay raise. Not to compensate the cut in benefits, mind you.
    Many of these Prem Techs are just getting by as it is. Many who had 2 income families last year are down to one income families due to job losses by their spouses. In my husband’s garage, 100% of the married prem techs are the sole breadwinners, and not because they want to be.

    This is not the time for AT&T to say “look what paying benefits did to GM!” Paying benefits is not the reason GM failed. Anyone who took High School Economics could tell you that. They weren’t competitive. In a time when people wanted fuel economy, they still pushed Hummers and other SUV’s, and didn’t even pay attention to pushing vehicles with better fuel economy. That is why they have, are, and will continue to lose out to foreign auto companies like Toyota and Nissan. But, AT&T has competitive products of their own that are actually ensuring their market position, and U-Verse is one of them. I’ve had Verizon, I’ve had Dish Network, I’ve had Comcast. I’m going to stick with U-Verse, not because that’s what my husband installs, but because it IS a good product. Not only that, but the rates and packages are much more generous than their competitors.

    So, while some may see this strike as frivolous, I say, for a company who says they appreciate the work done by their blue collar workers, they’re not rewarding those who keep them at the top. It’s not the CEO’s. Give the CEO’s a belt of tools, point them toward a crossbox, and tell them to start splicing wires. Or, let’s do something easier. Hand them a remote control. One of the remotes for their U-Verse product. Have them program so it integrates with the T.V., DVD player, stereo system, and still doesn’t lag on the U-Verse. The topheaviness of AT&T absolutely astounds me.

  48. attwife Says:

    I am an AT&T wife who was laid off month ago. My husband did not vote for the strike as he did not believe that adequate pressure could be brought to bear on AT&T to garner concessions. There are how many desperate workers that would take whatever AT&T would offer, without a union, to provide for themselves and their family. Due to my job loss we could loose everything and be homeless in a relatively short amount of time. My husband is highly dedicated and has the highest productivity in his unit year after year. When he has gone the extra mile over and over the company does not provide merit increases because he is covered by the union. For years he has had to pay dues to an entity he does not believe in. It is a no win proposition from any perspective. And, based on discussions over the years he has experienced some excellent management (which did not seem to be around very long) and a lot of mediocre and poor management. I believe that the company should keep its committments to those that helped get the company to the place it is today. For those that come later, treat them like the flight attendants do – a multi-tier system. God bless and good luck.

  49. James S Says:

    The wireline business has been declining due to ATT’s refusal to market this part of its business sector. Have you heard of Vonage? What has ATT done to counter act their rise? Comcast promotes their wireline sector to obtain customers, we do not! Uverse voice does not count as a phone line for the wireline portion of our business. How about this – get a second phone line for $10 a month for 6 months or some other marketing scheme! They choose not to, however. Instead they can use this as ammo and cry in their soup and say the sky is falling. Market wireline the way you market Uverse and then we’ll talk about declines! And by the way, does this decline benefit ATT with the government?

  50. Chris S Says:

    It’s very simple. If working for AT&T is so bad for union employees, take your entitlement attitude somewhere else. Unfortunately you won’t find the kind of Cadillac benefits you get at AT&T anywhere else, except at GM. That should explain something to union members but I’m sure they still won’t get it. Best benefits in America and they are still whining.

    Anyone heard how it’s working out for union workers at GM? Or do union members just avoid the news?

  51. Jeni Says:

    Chris, Do you understand that it’s not just the Union that drove GM down, but GM marketing itself? Read my previous post and look at GM’s history.

    The “cadillac” benefits that you speak of aren’t full benefits. And, some of what AT&T wants to take away from workers actually violate US Labor Laws (Getting rid of overtime after a certain number of hours per week are achieved….yet, they’ll still work them 60+ hours!).

    It’s about what’s fair and ethical. AT&T isn’t being ethical. This isn’t about greed on the part of the workers. It’s about forcing AT&T to do what’s right.

  52. call center worker Says:

    I have been reading and have to comment.I have been an AT&T employee for the last 14 yrs.I pay deductibles,a portion of vision insurance and prescriptions that can’t be filled at the local pharmacy we have to send them through mail order.We do get discounted rates which doesn’t seem like much of a discount to me.We don’t get all of it free.My family is also a 1 income family with the loss of my husbands income.(we live in Michigan)We are not asking for anything just to keep what we have.I do not want to strike but I have to do right for my family. One more thing if the “good old boys” can afford to sponsor the big shin dig in Detroit for the NCAA championship they can continue to foot the bill for our healthcare.

  53. Chard Says:

    call center worker, I appreciate your note. But keep in mind when you say “keep what we have” that it’s actually misleading. Health insurance keeps getting more expensive, in fact at a greater rate than the rate of inflation over the long term. If you were to truly “keep what you have” then your payments would go up at the same rate as the company’s payments. To assume that the company’s cost for health care, over the long term, stays level and they’re just trying to pawn it all off on you is disingenuous and complete misinformation that is being fed to you by the union. Yes, there are problems with health care that need to be addressed so that costs don’t continue to spiral as they have been. But you need to realize that as they increase, to “keep what you have” involves you paying in proportionally more as well.

  54. ted Says:

    Responding to Chris S.

    How is your life is any better by AT&T craft workers getting screwed by the company?
    Or ,is it you just FEEL BETTER when other people get screwed!
    Instead of wanting to drag everybody DOWN to your leval Why are not triing to raise yourself UP?
    All we want is what we already have.

  55. Jeni Says:

    The american worker needs to not be punished for health care costs that spiral out of control for no *actual discernible reason*. Also, Chard, if you’d read her whole block…AT&T employees DO NOT GET FULL BENEFITS. It’s still partial benefits. We (the families) still have to pay deductibles, etc. AT&T wants to make what we pay *even more*.

    This is a case of cutting the nose of to spite the face. These workers are not the largest portion of their work force, so they are definitely not going to be the largest profiting force. Instead of making excuses for the corporation, how about we look at actual fact and logic. You screw your workforce, most times, you lose your customers.

    These prem techs work for a company that, despite this fight over their contract, LIKE their job. It’s a challenge, physically and mentally, and, regardless of the minority of jerk customers they get, they get to interact with some pretty amazing people on a daily basis. But, that doesn’t pay the bills.

    You can’t raise a family on $12.50 an hour, which is what Prem Techs start at (at least in Michigan). Not even with overtime. Which is usually mandatory. So, on top of fatiguing their workers, they take away most of the benefits that they may end up needing badly after a few years of working like that (physically), and give a b.s. payraise? How is that going to make them more money? It’s a known fact that low morale directly effects customer service. If you’re in a job that, up until this year, paid really well once you were established, now paying a little less than double of minimum wage (which barely keeps college students afloat), what is your incentive to work hard and give your all?

    Right now…the incentives of these workers is not to work for the company. It is to work for their families. True, family should be a high priority, but AT&T should be worried about that. But, c’mon, don’t penalize your workers for having families.

    I’m seriously not understanding this…why is it’s ok to tread on the backs of blue-collar workers? It’s not like these guys didn’t go to school. Most of them have college degrees, others went to trade school, in either networking or engineering. Those that don’t go through extensive training to KEEP their jobs. They are not worth less than their higher-ups.

    As John stated above, even members of management are hoping that the union succeeds. This is just ridiculous.

  56. betty Says:

    I am a U-Verse Tech’s wife. First off, Techs can not sit in their trucks for nothing. They are being timed on each step they take in an install. If you see a tech in his van, dont assume you know what they are doing, they could be waiting for teir2 or oma or they could be waiting on IR tech to fix an issue so they can finish a complete custom install for that customer. My husband is one of the top premtechs and ”HITS the Button” the sec. he closes out a job! They no longer get to refresh the job list, they get what they get! Sec. for any of you people reading this and feel like the union needs to go, your just upset with the way this economy has failed you and I understand. The contract ending is just ”Bad Timing”. I am pretty sure that if this economy was not hurting, none of you people would have anything to say about a strike, in fact most would be for it only because you are not hurting. Where were you people the last 10 yrs. when my husband and I struggled with NO health care and crappy wages, and was one step away from losing it all? I’ll tell ya where you were… living in the land of LaLaville because you were not effected till now!!!! This job has been the best thing that could have happend to us almost 2 years ago, after 10 yrs. of worry and NO health insurence… I feel your pain. But the CWA is NOT the UAW!!! They have only provided AT&T growth and security for their company! For AT&T to use the ‘Bad Economy’ as a way of keeping from paying out what is right is just plain WRONG!!!! They dont need a dime! U-verse in the next yrs. to come will be making them just as much money if not more in the yrs. to come, along with other advances. I am sorry for they way the banks F’ed this economy but we have paid our dues for a long time and deserve a little part! They want us to pay all of our health care with no raise, last I heard. Thats over DOUBLE my house payment…which we can afford right now and we have never lived above our means BUT WE WONT BEABLE TO AFFORD IT ONCE WE HAVE TO FORK OVER THAT MUCH IN HEALTH CARE!!!! ((We do pay some for our health plan, we have deductibles and copays as well, we didnt want an HMO so we chose to go with the next plan))To top it off… they want anyone hired after 99′ to NOT recieve health benifits after retirement. This goes for all the union workers who keep AT&T moving on a daily basis! Soo ROCK ON CWA!!!!!!!! Dont let the “Devil” screw us!!!!! Gosh that sounds a Lil scary huh?

    Oh and BTW…. U-Verse techs and all the other field techs work their butts off! It is NOT a cushy job but it is a great one. They work in all kinds of conditions and in all kinds of spaces and in scary properties. These guys are in crawl spaces, attics, ditches running wires through brick and stone feeding them through tiny holes from first to sec floors and creating some thing outta nothing in some cases. And also, thats if they are lucky to have all the tools they need! AT&T wants all the installs to be perfect when they do not provide all the tools required!!! If you think this job is soo easy.. I’d like to see you do this for awhile and then I tell you ” no sorry, you will not be getting any raise plus you need to pay for all your health coverage… and ”oh btw… we want you to to 2-3 more job titles on top of it. Lets see how you would feel. They work in rain, shine and blizzards! all the while maintaining a one on one customer repore with the most nervous whiny customers when they realize that U-verse requires more then a simple ”hook-up”like cable. The techs most the time are part engineers, part electritions and part general builder contractors! And AT&T wants to take away more??? Come on people, would you want others calling you greedy if you were in these shoes??? I highly doubt it!!!!

  57. exUnion Says:

    “Dont let the “Devil” screw us”

    “A-hole Thugs & Thieves”

    Why wouldn’t you leave a company you hate with such passion?

    Also, I’m curious as to what the union presidents are giving up when they play with your jobs. When you go on strike for a lousy $250 a week, are the union execs going to be walking alongside you without pay? Is it OK if Larry Cohen and the gang pull in millions, and that the CWA hoards HUNDREDS of millions of assets pulled from the hard-working union members? Do you REALLY think that the union cares about an extra five dollar co-pay or minimum salary increase? THEY don’t have to do without when they move you like pawns on the chessboard.

  58. betty Says:

    I dont think anyone on here has said they HATE AT&T, in fact I have read plenty on here thankful for at&t and a job! And how many jobs have people had in the past that they worked for a company and hated or didnt agree with? But never left because they actually liked the job itself? Or held out hope that it would get better??? Also, no one has any idea what the upper presidents of the union have sacrificed for us! And who is to say they wont, if need be. If it wasnt for them, no one would have any security from big greedy corporate! But since all of a sudden the rest of the economy is going to sh*t, AT&T (who is NOT) gets off, a free pass to, in my mind… not help continue the working families out there who are actually still paying their mortgages (and we pay at&t execs), who arent on welfare and is still putting out their money back into the economy?? Without the union, we would have already been in that boat! And made the unemployment rate skyrocket and a slew of other things that trickle down. But since everyone else is suffering… We should ALL suffer as a whole Huh?? Thats really SAD if we cant find any hope any where and hate people who are doing “OK” in life. We have to hope they get knocked down along with the rest?? What a bunch of selfish idiots! Yes,Life is not fair, at all! But ya deal with it and keep on moving.

  59. exUnion Says:

    You’d lose more in wages on a week-long strike than you’d gain in health benefits over what the company has offered, and that’s assuming that it settles in your favor after a strike! Your union leadership has full health care coverage; what do they care?? they’re just moving you around like little pawns on a chessboard. They’re the King and you’re the pawns. They’ll sacrifice you in order to pull their huge salaries. You’re just a game to them, and you’re falling for it hook, line, and sinker. If you’re skilled, then get away from the union. They do nothing but hold you back and promote mediocrity for those who can’t or won’t do the job. Trust me. Look through their lies and misdirection and understand that those who can do NOT join unions, or if they do, they’re held back. The union and its leadership doesn’t want you to succeed.

  60. Dave'sWife Says:

    Check out Google News, AP Article”AT&T and union talks continue past deadline” by Stephen Singer

  61. anthony Says:

    dear exUnion, the only pawns on a chessboard are 1st and 2nd line managers, the wages we would lose in a weeks work stopage is nothing compared to what the company wants to take away in benefits. Just because you dont have faith in what we(the union) do for you , dont make us play your losing chess game. I dont know how long you have been with the company or if you are craft or not, but everything we have is because of what the bargaining committee has fought for for us as craft, I am skilled and i did this work before at&t but as a whole I came here to better myself and my family, and my company. Not watch it become like a GM or Mervyns or RiteAid store. At&t could be a company that is more successful company than it has ever been if the executives pulled their heads out of their asses and realized this is a top notch company not something to chop up and throw away like times past, the majority of the employees enjoy their work but hate the way the company is moving towards, and that could be quoeted from 2nd and 3rd level managers that retired within the last month, for that reason. I am union, I am the real thing, 1union 1fight 1future, CWA steward northern california

  62. exUnion Says:

    knight to f6…

  63. jg Says:

    Wow, so much anger going back and forth. I am management at AT&T and I have to say I can’t stand this company and given an opportunity I would jump ship quick. I have alot of respect for the Union as my Dad was a Newspaper union man in NYC for over 40 years. Here’s the bottom line, you can’t beat the good ol boys, so stop trying. They are the true American Gangsters. They reap millions and millions of dollars while the crumbs of the middle class constantly fight just to get by. Its a fact of life. Believe me I wish someone (a union) would fight for my rights as well, but no one does. Rapists, Murders and Child Molestors that sit in jail get better health care than I do, but what I am going to do? Everyone pays for health care and its too bad that the CWA will need to do the same. AT&T only buries themselves. I know hundreds of people that actually only do 3 hours of work a day due the constant taking away from employees….Just play the game and keep collecting a paycheck. This company has made it impossible to take pride in your job…

  64. exUnion Says:

    “Just play the game and keep collecting a paycheck.”

    You must have come from the Union.

    Pawn to d-4.

  65. GoodOlBoy Says:

    Chard is the only one who has a clue the rest of you are parroting ’70’s union talking points.

    “Manager” in AT&T speaky does not mean a pointy haired manager out of Dilbert.

    Everyone who isnt a union type is a manager. The guys who run the Tier 1 backbone routers are managers; the guys in the labs are managers; PMI PM’s are managers. Wireline engineers are termed ‘managers’. Architects are managers.

    People that have management responsibility are called supervisors.

    If you dont think the CCIE’s and firewall techs I was in CP09 training with can figure out Tip/Ring you are fooling yourself. Can you be replaced? Yes. Internalize it.

    That said, I really dont care what your salary and benefits are. But you MFers are ruining it for everyone else- we already had enough work to do in our own professions- you know the actually profitable growing parts of the company- without doing your work too. Do you guys plan on training 200 hours on your own time to do my job so I can take a nice extended vacation this Spring? Oh I guess not.

    Having come to AT&T from other large IT companies I was amazed at the attitude to the employees. We are all looking at each other like “why does the company constantly assume that we are trying to screw them”? Because of you guys! The union tries to sneak around and take every mean advantage so everybody gets treated like children. Is there any other Fortune 50 company where it is as hard to be Work at Home as in AT&T? Where every little expense needs two levels of approval and receipts? You have conditioned Management to assume that employees will try to take advantage of everything. Thanks for screwing it up for everybody.

    And not that I care but if $120B in Gross rev means that you deserve increased benefits, then why doesnt it means that the CEO- the guy most responsible for growing revenue- deserves his compensation too? I know jealousy is the watch word for unions, but could you at least have some logic?

  66. Rich Says:

    What some of you forget,is that most of the other industries in America where workers have been forced to take paycuts and loose health care benifits ,has nothing to do with AT&T employees paying up? It has to do with Government making bad trade agreements forceing American workers out of jobs here in the USA by importing junk products and factories moving overseas and mexico so companys Management and CEO`s can make more profit and pay no healthcare to those foreign workers,try exporting all the phone lines and poles out of the country,it can`t be done,bring in abunch of “H” whatever visa holder imagrents to climb those poles in below zero conditions or pouring rain day after day,see if they can even speak English when there at your front door when they show up to repair your sevice,Be glad that there are still jobs in America That the CEO`s can`t ship away, for our children`s sake`s,It`s a VIRUS of greed spreeding through the upper levels of the Buisness Community That is Cripling this nation ,that was built buy the middle Class.Really do yah think a 45,000 sqare foot home is a little much besides the homes in other countries.
    Maybe if you f`n winers would have voiced you opinion and stuck together twenty years ago,we wouldn`t have the drug cartel troubles ,the Illeagal imagration,Foreign automobles,Walmart,and the F`n bank bailouts today,…..And maybe you would have a good paying job to get your kids through collage,….Blame it on yourselfs not the guy who shows up at your house to repair your phone service.

  67. James Says:

    To correct ALL of you about one point. The company’s claim about losing wireline business is pure B.S. They have lost regular POTS lines yes, they have also lost many DSL lines,ISDN, and T1 circuits. What they don’t tell you people is they have gained more business than they have lost in the way of Uverse, and HSI lines. For those of you who don’t know, those services come to someones house or business over a pair of COPPER wires. However, they are not counted as wireline services. They are maintained, installed, and repaired by the outside UNION workforce. So the claim of losing wireline services in absolute B.S., they need to give credit to the UNION outside personnel who perform these functions day to day, in the worst of weather and at all hours of the night. Wireline services are here to stay, we just don’t get credit for them. This is the shame, and people have a right to know the truth. Now stop bashing eachother, and flinging insults around and lets make this company recognize what the employees help them achieve, and let the union do what it does best..Provide skilled labor.

  68. exUnion Says:

    I’m not saying that much of the labor which happens to be unionized is skilled; it definitely is. But the union absolutely, positively is NOT the cause of any of that skill. The union pushes for mediocrity and that’s what gets delivered.

    Union labor is skilled despite the union, not because of it.

  69. BT Says:

    Just like kids asking for their ice cream NOW, the unions LOVE to tell us how much profit AT&T made last year, and in the same breath demand future job security and promotion opportunities. What, exactly, do you think an enterprise DOES with profits? A company that doesn’t invest current profits in futuire growth (R & D, infrastructure, etc.) won’t have a contract to offer you for very much longer. $12B probably isn’t a drop in the bucket to get from here to there – “there” being a point in the future that LEADERSHIP (read: not you, but people who are actually qualified and experienced to make such decisions, and are paid accordingly) believes the company needs to go to ensure YOU still have a job in 5 years. If you have a legitimate complaint withn regard to benefits, make it…but those are the COMPANY’S profits, not the unions.

  70. GoodOlBoy Says:

    “They have lost regular POTS lines yes, they have also lost many DSL lines,ISDN, and T1 circuits. What they don’t tell you people is they have gained more business than they have lost in the way of Uverse, and HSI lines.”

    They have ~1M Uverse subs. That doesnt even come close to making up for the attrition of PSTN.

  71. BloodSpite Says:

    First off, I’m a Prem Tech.

    I also have a degree in Business Management, and before I became a Prem Tech I was a red badge doing cellular installation, DC Power QA, and BTS Commissioning for AT&T/Cingular. I took this job to get my foot in the door.

    I also took a $22 per hour pay cut.

    The regulations being bargained by the company for Uverse Prem techs are, in a word, asinine.

    There is no limit to the amount of *mandatory* over time the company can require of us. If you fail to do the overtime, it is considered job abandonment and the company will proceed with termination. Ask the Prem Techs in Kansas City. They have been on a 6 day work week for over a year.

    There is a reason that U-verse has the highest turn over rate of employee’s in the company: Burn Out is the primary one. Another one is the amount of work versus the pay. Do you realize that the starting pay at Wal Marts Tire & Lube Department is comparable to a Prem Tech?

    I pay for my health insurance. But wait, oh yeah, AT&T is self subsidized to Cigna. Which means that we bond ourselves to *reduce* the cost to the company. But AT&T wants to increase my health insurance premium almost quadruple what I pay now? This is logical…how? If I was getting more coverage for my cost, then yes, I would agree. But the fact is I’m not.

    I’m getting less.
    I’m losing any pension health benefits should I attempt to retire from the company, per AT&T’s latest bid. I am losing the ability to gain any pension credits towards retirement per AT&T’s bid. Retiree’s of the company are also losing….a portion of their Health Benefits.

    I have never been a union man in my life before this job. In fact, quite frankly I have worked as a strike breaker…against CWA. But the expectations the company has set forth for the position I have taken in order to embark upon my own career, is to say the list, despicable.

    AT&T is set to earn over 14 Billion this year. The stock price is stagnant and has been for over 3 years, and yes I have invested in my 401k and I have voted my stock option.

    Laying off 12,000 people then giving 5th line managers a raise, while demanding concessions from your labor force is not “reduction of cost”. It’s sleight of hand.

    Trying to compare AT&T to GM is like trying to compare a gocart to a Impala. 12.9 Billion gain last year by AT&T compared to a loss of $51 Billion by GM.

    The President didn’t ask the Union President to resign. He asked the CEO of GM to resign. It wasn’t the workers who bankrupted Enron, or AIG. It wasn’t the workers who cooked the books for Madoff.

    And whens the last time you saw a guy in a suit crawl up a telephone pole or in to someones attic or crawlspace under their house to run a line?

    For AT&T to not be willing to *meet in the middle* regarding this negotiation, isn’t a sign of “the times”.

    Its a sign of a unrealistic expectation on the work force in a declining economic time.

  72. exUnion Says:

    Then leave.

    BTW, 5th lines did not get a raise. No management did.

  73. Chris Says:

    I would like to add a comment about the majority of the profits coming from the wireless division and how the land line side is dying. Yes, the number of dial tones provided to end users has declined but we have seen an increase in the amount of wire line data being used. I would also like to add that every one of those cell towers you see is wire line based. If you get a chance to look in the yard of one of those towers you will see that they are very much operated on land based fiber/copper lines. Wireless does not exist without landlines. Wireless phones are only wireless until they hit the towers. Everything comes back to the wire line side eventually.

  74. RetireeWife Says:

    My husband retired after 30+ years with PacBell/AT&T (craft). He worked hard, worked with craft and management (each side has its hard workers and its lazy ones — each group is composed of humans, as you will find in every other company — calling each other names is ridiculous from both sides, and only a distraction), and did what was asked of him. He prided himself on working for AT&T. He retired with a small pension and health care benefits. Now he faces losing the health care benefits, from what we understand. At our age, we don’t have a lot of options. The average cost of health care (family of four — we started late — 2008) is just about equal to his pension. AT&T is not in dire straits, and does not compare to the auto industry. Dividing ourselves up between Union and Management loyalty is dangerous and a little stupid. What the executives are willing to do to the union employees, they will also do to the lower and middle management eventually.

  75. exUnion Says:

    The reasoning that, because AT&T is profitable, it “owes” something to the union other than what both sides agree to provide, typify the union mentality that will drive American labor into the ground more than it already has. If you think you deserve more, are owed more, are getting the shaft, or are not getting paid enough for your skills you claim to have, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  76. BloodSpite Says:

    “Then leave.”

    I didn’t come here to leave. I came here to retire. If you don’t like the fact its a Union based company by the *choice* of the company, then you leave.

    “The reasoning that, because AT&T is profitable, it “owes” something to the union”

    Again, I didn’t say that AT&T owes us anything, what I did say is that their treatment of Prem techs, a field I know directly because I am one, is substandard and poor.

    Please read my entire statement before commenting. That being said you have decided to close your mind to logical discussion thus proving the problem with the bargaining agreements in one fell swoop.

    Until the US Government tells the UAW President to step down I fail to see a connection between the Union and the fall of the Auto Industry. Again, last I looked it was the CEO that was removed, by the government, and it was insinuated of mismanagement by him. Not the Union.

    Thanks for playing though.

  77. RetireeWife Says:

    That’s fine if it’s understood when an employee hires on what the benefits will and won’t be. It’s another thing entirely when an agreement is made, and an employee relies upon the agreement to his/her detriment.

  78. GoodOlBoy Says:

    “I pay for my health insurance. But wait, oh yeah, AT&T is self subsidized to Cigna. Which means that we bond ourselves to *reduce* the cost to the company.”

    You do realize that means there is a cost to AT&T? Indemnifying the losses still costs AT&T.

    “If I was getting more coverage for my cost, then yes, I would agree. But the fact is I’m not.”

    Welcome to the reality of every other person in the country. In IT we bring down cost every year; in the heath care sector costs go up every year. Thats the way it is. The company isnt trying to trick you- their costs are going up every year. And even if you never got another raise in your life, even if the gas in the truck didnt go up, you cost them $3K-$5K more per year. How does that make sense when the wireline revenue supporting your position goes down every year?

    “AT&T is set to earn over 14 Billion this year….
    Laying off 12,000 people then giving 5th line managers a raise…””

    What is with you guys? You dont see the logical inconsistency in claiming that exec management is doing nothing while a couple of sentences away admitting that the projects they are working on and the new business revenue is growing the company’s bottom line? Obviously something they are doing is working. The exclusivity deal they negotiated with Apple is reaping rewards, therefor all the raises should go to- the wiretechs. huh?

    Here is the bargaining report from the CWA site:
    ” An insulting wage increase: 2009 – 0.5%; 2010 – 2.0% lump sum; 2011 – 2%; 2012 – another 2.0% lump sum: 2013 – 2.0%.”

    Oh no! They are insulted by getting a 2% raises locked in for the next 3 years. How insulting.

    I wouldnt care what you guys get, except your childish attitudes screw up the company for everyone. And in addition to doing all of my projects I have to train to do yours on my own time. Then I see this whining:
    “Double time for overtime after 10 hours instead of 8.”
    Oh no! some one is going to pay you double to do your job. Meanwhile, we are getting paid $0/hr to train to backfill for you, in something thats not even our profession.

    I’d like to see a union fat cat put down his cigar and get off his golf cart long enough to do my job.

  79. BloodSpite Says:

    Lets take it a step further.

    Since several people have made this silly Automotive argument lets check the facts shall we?

    Item 1. Wireline.
    According to AT&T’s Financial and Operational Results report, wireline *made more money* than wireless in 2005 and 2006, yearly.

    See for yourself. Amounts posted are in the millions of dollars.

  80. GoodOlBoy Says:

    “According to AT&T’s Financial and Operational Results report, wireline *made more money* than wireless in 2005 and 2006, yearly.”

    What’s with the 2005 numbers? The 2008 Annual report shows that Wireless has already past wireline:
    In-Region lines (2008): 56M
    Wireless Subs (2008) 77M

    Wireless (2008)
    Rev: $44B +14%
    Income $10B +58%

    Meanwhile Wireline voice:
    Rev: $38.4B -8.2%
    Consumer lines: 30M -12.6%

    So with the current worker and more retirees every year you have more and more cost supported by fewer wirelines. Not a good recipe.

    In 2001 Bethlwehem Steel had 11,500 active employees supporting 120,000 retirees and dependents. In 2003 Bethlehem was gone, not just bankrupt, but liquidated.

    GM has nearly 300K hourly retirees and under 100K workers supporting them. Looking at the GM 2007 annual report and things look kind of not so bad- revenue from auto sales rose to $178B up 5% and total car sales were 9.2M up 1%.

    Today we see how they are doing.

    In 2014 there will probably be under 20M US wirelines. And there will be no pricing power either. How many CWA workers can 20M line support?

  81. exUnion Says:

    The point about earnings is a red herring. A company is not in business to make money and distribute it out to employees. You may want more, and you reach an agreement to work for set amount. Whether the company makes $1 or $100 billion it doesn’t matter; you are entitled to exactly what you agreed to. Feel shafted? Feel cheated? All fired up about “A-hole Thugs and Thieves” like your junvenile union literature? Then sue in a court of law.

  82. Jeni Says:

    Wow. Just…
    You know, the point of negotiating a new contract when the old one is up, is just that. Negotiating for a new, better contract. Apparently, our Anti-Union friends don’t understand that concept. Or, they do, but, it’s not acceptable that mere plebians are allowed such a thing.

    I guess it’s not ok for people who literally work themselves sick to ask for due compensation. It’s not ok, apparently, for people who work on the front line to ask that the upper management look at the work they do as valid and useful, and the backbone of the company.

    See, it might be the CEO and BOD’s jobs to make the company more profitable, but they wouldn’t make any money if it weren’t for the laborers. You know, those icky, sticky Union guys. The guys that pay 1 hour’s worth of pay to the union per pay period, not to line some guy’s pocket, but to set aside for things like being paid during a strike (not full pay, but some pay), printing of plaquards, renting of meeting space, and other “association” style costs. Without the guys at the bottom, the guys at the top would fall. AT&T has found this out before. Yet, they insist on repeating history.

    The other thing that we seem to be forgetting is that these U-Verse techs aren’t installing hardline phones. THEY ARE INSTALLING U-VERSE.

    And, according to the 2008 Financial report (available here:, the Wireline (which includes U-Verse) segment accounted for approximately 55% of their operating revenue.

    Huh. 55%. I’m willing to bet that’s more than the wireless segment. Or the bright ideas that the upper-level management is bringing in.

    All these men and women want is to be treated fairly. It’s b.s. to state that Randall Stephenson didn’t get a bonus…he got it in stock options. Wow. That’s like sending your money to an offshore account so it’s not taxed. These men and women aren’t likely to run AT&T into the ground. They’re the ones making AT&T profitable.

  83. exUnion Says:

    Nobody is impugning the Union’s right to negotiate some perks and wants. People are telling the union that it’s not their RIGHT nor are they entitled to anything more than is bargained for at the negotiating table.

    I still haven’t heard an answer to whether the Union president is going to stop his paycheck and stand side by side with you when you go out. Do you think he’ll open his mansion to you for you to sleep in? You’re just a bunch of pawns to your union leadership. They’ve had this thing all figured out and now they’re just moving you around the board like they planned this whole time.

  84. Jeni Says:

    You just keep thinking that. No one is calling for our Union President to do any such thing. If the members hadn’t wanted to strike, they wouldn’t have voted to strike. That’s how unions work. A majority of members vote to do something, and they go for it. A majority of members wanted a new, better contract. So, the union is going for it. A majority of members voted to strike if AT&T are exceedingly withholding, which they are. They have alerted AT&T that a strike could happen anytime. No on has asked anything extreme from Larry Cohen, simply because he’s actually doing a damn good job trying to negotiate. Stephenson, however, has pretty much done a great job in…let’s see…spending company money to improve his PERSONAL property. Denying his workers what they are ACTUALLY owed, and not realizing that some of HIS company’s demands are unconstitutional (try getting the whole of the contract by the Dept. of Labor. You’ll get laughed at.)

    You go ahead with your chess euphamisms. If it makes you feel so smart to use them, use them. It doesn’t make your statements more true.

  85. GoodOlBoy Says:

    “See, it might be the CEO and BOD’s jobs to make the company more profitable, but they wouldn’t make any money if it weren’t for the laborers. You know, those icky, sticky Union guys.”

    And you guys wouldnt have jobs without upper management. You’d still be installing Tip/Ring and bakelite phones. Well actually you wouldnt since you would have been put out of business long ago.

    “Huh. 55%. I’m willing to bet that’s more than the wireless segment. Or the bright ideas that the upper-level management is bringing in.”

    Uverse was Project Lightspeed which was acquired when SBC bought AT&T. Without that “bright idea” you’d be nowhere. And its a shame the iphone isnt catching on.

    “And, according to the 2008 Financial report (available here:, the Wireline (which includes U-Verse) segment accounted for approximately 55% of their operating revenue.”

    Does everything have to be wrong in a union post? First the url is:
    The actual value of wireline voice is $37B, which even including business voice is going down 6% a year.

    The number you cite includes the ALL of the IP data business- internet backbone, high speed prem circuits, customer routers and firewalls. This is $24B worth (and growing) of revenue that the CWA has nothing to do with.

    You had to have know this because in order to get the 55% number you have to read the paragraph that tells you its in applicable to the point you are making.

    Look- the long and the short of it is that the revenue supporting the union related jobs is decreasing every year (unless SBC buys another Bell) and yet the cost of those positions is going up. And the cost of retiree benefits is going up.

  86. at&t REAL worker Says:

    Unions are not needed any longer. Stop whining and assuming that MGRS make millions of dollars… you talk out of your ass and it shows on your comments. UAW=losses to GM. You want to advance and make more $$$??? Then get your one trick PONY ASS into a classroom and learn a new skill set. Some of the union people are ok, but the union and how it promotes “average” work has just got to stop…

  87. betty Says:

    at&tREALworker….Really nice….”One Trick pony ass?? What, you cant be civil? Once again, CWA is NOT the UAW. The fall of GM was not because of the UAW. Cant anyone see that in this day and age EVERYONE needs a union?? Think about it for a sec.,if we all had a union backing us, we all would have some sort of security! Maybe if the Banks had a union they would not have been able to do what they have done to this economy! GM, Chrysler and all the other companies out there are hurting also because of the banks, no one can risk buying anything right now and that trickles down every where! Its too bad everyone can not see this. I have seen the lazy get fired, the union can only do so much to save your job, if you are a slacker…you will be fired! Do you really think the CWA wants these workers representing their union? You would change your attitude if at&t allowed you to become a protected union member.

  88. betty Says:

    Last thing…. If most of the union was full of just ”average” techs, then at&t would be just an average company!

  89. Telcoman Says:

    AT&T CEO to Receive $158.5 Million Pension! — CEO Edward Whitacre Jr. is set to retire with a pension worth more than $158.5 million, one of the highest retirement packages America has seen, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
    Current CEO Randall Stephenson publically announced that management would forego getting any bonus for 2008. He neglected to say that the board gave the management stock options that equalled their bonus at $0.00. At&t currently owns 15 jets. The pilots are at&t management. The CEO and Executives for At&t’s houses are paid for by At&t. Look up the salaries and stock options of At&t’s CEO and Executives. Tell me if they need to have their homes paid for. Now tell me…Why can’t At&t afford to keep the healthcare the way it is? Why can’t I have a small raise over the next 5 years? Oh, that’s right, the CEO and Executives are getting all the money and stock options. I wouldn’t want to cut into their way of life.

  90. Telcoman Says:

    At&T Inc. filed the compensation data below on 3/11/2008

    Randall L. Stephenson (5) $21,981,984
    Chairman, President & CEO
    Richard G. Lindner (5) $8,455,340
    Sr. Exec. VP & CFO
    Ralph de la Vega $12,389,944
    President & CEO—AT&T Mobility
    Forrest E. Miller (5) $8,455,812
    Group Pres.—Corp. Strategy & Dev.
    John T. Stankey (5) $8,076,753
    Group Pres.—Telecom Ops.

    You say we assume that the Management makes millions??? Here’s the facts!

  91. Telcoman Says:

    Poor market means AT&T can’t sell CEO’s old $1.7 million home.

    AT&T Inc. is stuck with Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson’s San Antonio home after relocating him to Dallas, as the recession stifles demand for million-dollar dwellings.
    AT&T bought Stephenson’s home for $1.7 million according to a regulatory filing detailing compensation yesterday. The phone company announced plans to shift corporate offices in June. AT&T has yet to sell the home, along with that of General Counsel Wayne Watts.

    AT&T paid $3.05 million for wireless president de la Vega’s home and sold it for $2.9 million, according to the filing. Executive Vice President Cicconi was paid $807,317 for his home, which was sold for $740,000.

  92. Telcoman Says:

    The phone giant is preparing to list at least three of its aircraft with brokers, according to San Antonio-based investor and jet dealer Doug Jaffe. Among them, a large Dassault Falcon 900, a Dassault Falcon 50EX and a Cessna Citation X — planes that could demand a combined price tag of more than $70 million, aviation experts said.

    The Federal Aviation Administration’s Web site lists at least 15 planes registered to AT&T and affiliated firms.


  93. Telcoman Says:

    AT&T said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that company CEO Randall Stephenson received a compensation package worth about $15 million, a decline of about $3 million from the previous year. Stephenson recently had said he would not be paid a bonus for 2008, as the company prepared to cut jobs and tighten its belt for an uncertain 2009.

    However, Stephenson did get a raise of 22 percent in salary last year to about $1.4 million. The largest single aspect of his compensation were options and stock incentives worth about $13.2 million. Also included in the total payout: $142,000 in relocation expenses, $83,000 for personal use of AT&T’s corporate jet, and $14,000 in financial counseling

  94. at&t REAL worker Says:

    The fact remains that unioins are not needed like they were years ago before laws were passed protecting workers rights. NOW it’s become (unions)a money-sucking business within a business. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU PEOPLE ARE demanding a garunteed raise every year for 4 or more years into the future?? I mean really… You can actually state that you know that the company will always make the same amount of profit each and every year and yet costs/overhead will remain static (that means unchanged for the fat, lazy, barely passed high school union members out there)? The CWA is nothing more now than a modern day mob who threatens in order to take a piece of the money for now more contribution than the next guy/girl doing there part to make this company better. ALL i hear from you people is “what can te he companay do for me”, and we are not treated fairly”. Newsflash retards!!!! LIFE isnt fair!! if your mommy and daddy did not teach you that when you were younger, than tough crap. WAKE THE EFF up and start to understand that life has no real situations where you are promised a certain result. To work at a componay is a privilage not a RIGHT. Antoher thing that pisses me off to no end is how the union promotes socialism. Take a step back for a second and try to digest this…. If the contract states that EVERY memeber gets a raise for the next whatever years during the contract period, that means EVERY worker EQUALLY accomplished his/her goals every year at the same pace and resulting success. WEll thats just crap and you know it. You got the fat-ass, lazy woman that waddles in 30 minutes late at least once week. YOU know you have that one worker that trys to call out sick and it ALWAYS seems to be a friday or monday that it occurs. Then you have the worker that does all the things correct that a good worker should do and goes above and beyond by getting themsleves better educated and puts pride into the job he/she preforms. You know what happens to each of those types of worker in the union model?? They get treated the SAME!!! UNREAL!!! AND, to put the prevebal Cherry on top of this sham that you call a union…. YOU workers pays dues to this CWA COMPANY. OF COURSE the leaders of the CWA want more membership.. they want to GROW thier business. Now i think that is a good thing in relation to it being a sucessful business idea to follow. However, it comes at the expense at undermining the business that the CWA attacthes itself to. Thats where I have the problem with it. I didnt get a raise this year, but i did keep my job becasue I preform at a high level everyday, I put the extra work in, and I keep myself educated by taking the training offered here at AT&T so that i may take that next step to make my own raise/promotion happen. YOU PAY the union leaders DUES to suck money out of the very company that breathes your life (work life). How the hell is that supposed to keep happening? Talk about greed and and being lazy, take a clode look at CWA’s profits and expenses for your little CWA leaders up on top of the hill and see if you dont come back with a different perspective. I feel no worker should be viewed as equal after the first day. you should be judged (oh yeah, they have something in place call yearly reviews) on how each worker preforms his/her job. The unions need to be taken down and i hope that in the future every company can wrench themsleves free off the cancer that is the CWA. By the way, NICE pics online of the picketers on the CWA website. It only further proves that some of you are FAT (I MEAN EFFING HUGE) lazy workers!!! DISGUSTING!!!!

  95. at&t colorado Says:

    Just a quick point regarding BT’s post from April 7th stating…

    ” A company that doesn’t invest current profits in futuire growth (R & D, infrastructure, etc.) won’t have a contract to offer you for very much longer. $12B probably isn’t a drop in the bucket to get from here to there”

    According to AT&T Inc.’s 2008 annual report, the 12,867,000,000 ($12.8 Billion) profit is AFTER paying out a $20.3 Billion dollar construction and capital investment (which it SHOULD do to grow the company and maintain its technological edge).

    Profit= Income-Expenes.

  96. GoodOlBoy Says:

    So we have a union guy admitting that he is making more than market rate for his job and another union worker saying that they still dont know what they are doing. Great argument that you should be paid more.

    The fact is the company is owned by the share holders and is supposed to be run for the benefit of the share holders- it is not the personal piggy bank of the union. Last year AT&T paid 9.5B in dividends to shareholders. Thats the way it is- you either are a growth stock or you give a return to people who own the company in the form of dividends. If the share holders wanted they could liquidate the company next week, paid off the creditors and chop up the cash.

    Frankly the union should be dancing in the street over the performance of the executive team- $33M is cheap considering how much business they have brought in to save the plunging top line of the unionionzed business segment. If it wasnt for the additional business segments growing revenue you’d be in *exactly * the case of the autos.

  97. Stevie Ray Says:

    There are some things that need to be said and explained about the contract negotiations between CWA and AT&T . I am not an expert on this subject matter, since I am not involved in the negotiation process in any way. However; I do have an opinion on the subject.

    I have been a loyal union member for 32 & 1/2 years. I was here during the “good ol days”, and I am still here in the not so “good ol days.”
    AT&T has always used scare tactics and half truths to try to influence union members, as well as the general public, into believing the union is an evil entity out to destroy everything that makes America great. Don’t fall for this misconception. It seems to me that big business and corrupt CEO’s are doing more to destroy this once great country than anyone else. Of course, you say, “he is leaving out the corrupt politicians.” Even though probably 90% of them are worthless, that topic is for another day.

    The big fight in this contract negotiation is over wages and benefits. And once again healthcare is at the forefront.
    It has been stated by one of AT&T’s executive officers “Union-represented Core wire line employees ( that’s us ) pay similar amounts for their health care as union workers at the Big 3 automakers pay, and its clear what those sorts of unsustainable costs have done to America’s auto industry.”

    This statement makes no sense at all. AT&T made RECORD BREAKING PROFITS last year, 12.9 BILLION $$! Everyone surely remembers last year. Your 401 went in the toilet along with your other investments. Whew! And the Big 3? Well, they received bailouts by the govt. CAUSE THEY ARE GOING BANKRUPT!

    It was also stated that AT&T has lost 20% of consumer access lines in the past 3 years. They make it sound like we are about to go out of business because of it. It’s true that we are losing some, however we are more than making up for it thru the sell of U-verse, DSL, and wireless. Plus, with U-verse and DSL you still have to have copper to the house. And believe me, we do.
    All thru the year, AT&T tells us employees what a great job we are doing, heck they even buy us lunch once in a while. But, when the contract comes up, we are suddenly something they need to scrape of their boots.

    Remember that 12.9 BILLION $$ RECORD BREAKING PROFIT we talked about earlier? That is after the company paid our wages & benefits, including healthcare. Oh, and that also includes AT&T paying approximately $ 100 million to move their Corporate Offices from San Antonio to Dallas. Word has it that AT&T still has an office building in San Antonio they are paying $100,000 to $200,000 a month for because they can’t find anyone to lease it.
    And lastly, our CEO Randall Stephenson said he was going to do the right thing and turn down a bonus for 08. Good job you say? Well, a day or two later, he received thousands of shares of AT&T stock at NO COST! Then turned around and sold them at market value for a very nice profit. Sounds like a very nice bonus to me! Plus our former CEO takes home over a million a year for retirement and free healthcare. And God knows what else.

    So you see, things aren’t always as they seem. AT&T continues to make tons of money in spite of itself, while trying to shaft the very people who made that profit for the company.

  98. A.J. Says:

    Please be advised we are all being hood winked by the union, the company, the president of the united socialist of America formerly the united states of america and anyone else that wants to pit social class against social class. Too bad as we are all going to loose. There is no way out of this one mark my words it is loose and loose some more you will see

  99. at&t real worker Says:

    Stevie Ray. You want CEO money? Become a CEO. Sounds like a good case of “where’s my share of the pie” you have there. I have a solution for you. Leave your job and start your own company. I heard GM is looking for a few good people…Oh, wait, the Union there wrecked that company. well, maybe go work at…. ah forget it. Just leave.

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