Company intransigence forces AT&T Midwest workers to authorize strike

ROCKY RIVER, OhioCompany intransigence at the bargaining table forced the 14,000 workers at AT&T Midwest and AT&T Legacy to vote to authorize a strike, the Communications Workers announced.


The contracts at the two firms expire at midnight April 14 and both have bluntly refused to move on key issues, the union said. AT&T Midwest covers workers in the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, all part of the unions District 4, headquartered in Rocky River, Ohio.


The votes do not mean a strike will start immediately if a new pact isnt reached. Thats up to the CWA board. The vote was overwhelming, District 4 Director and CWA Vice President Linda Hinton said, but totals were not disclosed.


The leaders of both CWA sectors representing the workers threw AT&Ts promises of new U.S. jobs after the GOPs $1.5 trillion tax cut for corporations and the rich became law back in the companys face.


CWA members are prepared to do whatever it takes to get a fair contract at AT&T Midwest that prioritizes job security, healthcare, and retirement, Hinton said. It is time for AT&T to live up to CEO Randall Stephensons promises to create thousands of new jobs in the U.S. if the Republican corporate tax bill passed. AT&Ts profits and tax windfalls must turn into jobs and employment security for CWA members.


CWA Vice President of Telecommunications and Technologies Lisa Bolton, who represents the Legacy T workers, added, "Our members are ready to fight for a fair contract, even if that means going on strike. AT&T must stop farming out our work to the lowest bidder.



After the tax bill passed, Stephenson promised the company would create 7,000 good, skilled, high-wage jobs. But at our bargaining tables, management demands second-tier jobs with second-tier wages and second-tier benefits. It is time for AT&T to live up to Stephensons promises."


The two latest bargaining reports from AT&T Midwests team, dated April 8 and April 9, showed the companys stubbornness.


The committee continued to work throughout the day on proposals for benefits...and a multitude of other contract articles that are still not agreed upon, the April 9 report said. In todays sub-committee meeting, the company STILL (their emphasis) had not responded to the unions proposals around employment enhancement and ways to increase jobs in District 4.


CWA membership and this committee have made it clear we must have a partner in AT&T to create sustainable jobs. The company must come back to this bargaining team with a willingness to accept our proposals or to work on an acceptable agreement between the parties that will secure employment for our members!


The April 8 session was taken up with preparing responses to many of the companys negative proposals on what should be non-controversial contract terms. Our goal is to get AT&T to stop the nonsense and start moving on the issues that matter to our members, including: Increasing the volume of work available to all titles, bringing new work into the bargaining unit, health care and the multitude of economic items that are remaining.


The union is also fighting to get the jobs of the future covered in this agreement, their report said. Keep up the mobilization in the field! We need to show AT$T CWA members are committed to reaching a fair contract this week!


Source: PAI