Tag Archives | strike

AT&T Averts One Strike, May Have Another

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.


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CWA Ratifies New AT&T Mobility Contract

att_header_logoI’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.

The two sides came to a preliminary agreement on March 3, and from that point the deal was put to a vote by the members of the union. 73 percent voted in favor of the new contract.

“AT&T is pleased with the ratification of the new agreement – both in terms of the compensation and workplace opportunities it provides covered employees, and in the flexibility it allows the company to meet increasingly aggressive competition in the marketplace,” the carrier said in a statement.

According to CWA Executive Vice President Annie Hill, the contract is “groundbreaking” as it expands opportunities for career advancement and won important concessions on compensation.

Retail employees would see a pay increase of 8.8 percent over the four year period of the contract, along with a $500 bonus. As a result of this contract, 11,000 retail sales associates could be guaranteed at least $1,000 in comissions if sales goals are met.

500 customer service workers would receive job upgrades and raises, and 50-70 wireless technicians would see similar enhancements.

The new contract goes into effect immediately.


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AT&T, Union Agree to ‘Cool Off’

If anyone thought that the CWA was only interested in crippling AT&T by striking, Monday’s developments should answer those misconceptions. The union appears ready to work with the carrier.

Both sides have agreed to a “cooling off” period. What this means in most basic terms is that union employees will work without a new contract, even though no new talks will occur. Such events are not all that rare: essentially both sides willl walk away from the barganing table for a few days (or even weeks) while both sides mull over their next steps.

This was on top of a gesture by the union to extend the current contract by 30 days while negotiations continued. From what we understand, AT&T did not accept that offer.

Unionized employees will continue to work under the old contract — AT&T is mandated to honor those terms. Obviously, the cooling off period is not inifite: the carrier and the union will need to return to the barganing table.

The union has posted a FAQ on its website detailing the differences between the two sides. At first glance, these differences still look rather significant. Personally, I think that some kind of walkout is still quite likely so be prepared for the worst.

CWA officials are promising updates twice a day, so if theres any breakthrough, of course we’ll let you know here. In any case, if you’re an AT&T customer, I’d recommend dealing with any issues now. If this strike occurs, it could make life difficult.


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CWA: No Strike at AT&T, Yet

Barganing continued up until the 11:59pm ET deadline, however no deal has been reached. AT&T and the CWA have agreed to “stop the clock,” which means the current contract will remain in effect while the two sides continue to talk.

Updates throughout the day seem to indicate the two sides are still quite far apart and nowhere near close to a settlement. “The reality is there are more unresolved issues than those resolved,” the union is claiming.

It appears that AT&T is not budging much. The union is also claiming intimidation, which it posted to its front page over the weekend. Among the allegations are threats of forced resignation or firing, and intimidation over showing solidarity with the union.

AT&T has been all but silent on the issue. The company has not made any public statements on the matter, so there’s no word on the carrier’s point of view.

In any case, the WSJ story from Wednesday certainly doesn’t help their cause. If you can spend millions or even billions on old Verizon Wireless assets, you can certainly spend more on paying your employees better.

That’s going to be a hard one to explain.

More as we get it.


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AT&T Could Be Hit By Strike Saturday

[UPDATE 4/3/09 2:30PM]: The CWA has ratified a new contract, meaning a strike has been averted. Please see our updated coverage here.

att_header_logoThe Communications Workers of America, which represent some of the sales force at AT&T’s wireless stores, have begun to warn its members that a strike may be possible beginning on Saturday.

From the CWA website:

“Picket signs are being sent out to every CWA Local with Mobility members as the February 7th expiration date approaches. With little progress at the bargaining table, every Local must be ready to walk, if necessary, to get some RESPECT from AT&T Mobility.”

AT&T and the union have been negotiating since January 21 on a new contract known as the “Orange Contract,” which covers everyone in the country except for the former Southwestern Bell and BellSouth areas. At issue is wages, vacation time, job security, and benefits — the typical contract issues.

Wages appear to be the sticking point: the most recent update from Tuesday indicates what increase AT&T is proposing would not offset increases in health care costs.

I am not entirely clear here on whether a walkout would occur just in the Orange Contract areas or across the entire company footprint. In any case, a strike could paralyze retail services for a significant majority of AT&T customers.

I’ll watch my local store here. Members are being encouraged to wear red in solidarity on Thursday: I’m going to go into the stores and see who is. More on this as we get it…

Update 2/6/09: A Message to Our Commenters… we know this subject is of a personal matter for both those in the union and their non-union counterparts, and those who may have strong opinions on unionization in general. However, we will not tolerate personal attacks. Please, by all means speak your mind, but keep it at a level of intellectual discourse that keeps out the attacks. Thanks for visiting!


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