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.