AT&T Union Workers Will Authorize Strikes If Necessary

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After deliberations and voting that began just over a week ago, unionized AT&T workers have decided that action may be necessary. The Communications Workers of America union (CWA) representing the workers commented last week, saying that AT&T has underestimated the frustrations of the workers. That prediction turns out to be true, as associated worker's rallies will occur across 35 cities in the United States beginning February 10.

Despite that AT&T expressed confidence that a strike would not occur, the results of last week's vote were overwhelmingly in favor of a strike. 93 percent of workers across 36 states voted in favor of the motion. The worker rallies are planned to take place over two days. The first day of rallies at several AT&T locations, with major events planned in New York – both in New York City and in Albany, as well as in Boston Massachusetts.  In New York City, the rally is scheduled to take place at 5:30 PM local time at AT&T's 6th Ave & 53rd St location. Albany's rally will take place at the company's 1762 Central Ave location at 12:00 PM. The rally in Boston will also take place at noon and is scheduled to occur at the AT&T flagship retail store at 699 Boylston. A further 23 locations across 16 states will also be holding rallies, bringing the total number of cities where workers are participating to 26 for February 10. The following day – February 11 – has a major rally scheduled for the company's retail location at 600 N. Michigan Ave in Chicago at 11:30 AM. Further rallies for the second day will be also happening across California in Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. These initial rallies may not be the last. The CWA's Vice President, Dennis Trainor has said that "AT&T workers' resolve to win has never been stronger and when telecom workers commit to winning a fair contract they don't back down."

The internal turmoil at AT&T has been ongoing over the course of several years, with a similar outcry occurring just last year. Workers feel that despite that the company has seen massive revenue over that period – the company saw revenue of just under $42 billion in Q4 of 2016 – workers have not been fairly compensated for their efforts.  Ghiajaira Paz, a retail sales support representative in the Bronx, has said that she is even on a first-name basis with customers at her location. Paz has expressed concerns that worker healthcare, pay, and sick time each has been adversely affected by company decisions, despite that she and others provide such a high level of customer care. Nicole Popis, an AT&T wireless call center worker who lives in Illinois, has reported that herself and other workers are also concerned with outsourcing and offshoring practices by the company. Popis claims that she has watched staff numbers drop from around "200 employees down to 130." Neither the employees or the CWA appear ready to back down. At this point, any change or resolution to the current situation at AT&T is going to have to be brought about by the company itself.

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