AT&T has been bargaining back and forth with unsatisfied workers for a while now, and today, the company's employees are marching on the Dallas Performance Center ahead of AT&T's annual shareholder meeting to bring their concerns to the direct attention of shareholders and investors. The protest just started at 8 AM EST, with hundreds of AT&T employees backed by representatives of the Communication Workers of America rallying and speaking to the media. They plan to hold a press conference to air their grievances as publicly as possible while bringing the issues directly to the doorstep of the people who help AT&T maintain its financial might.
The protest and subsequent press conference will not only air workers' grievances in regards to how AT&T handles employment but will also focus on what they deem are questionable moves the company made or is currently making, the protesters said in a release sent to media outlets in the country. Among other things, the company's employees will protest AT&T's failure to properly expand and improve their landline broadband offerings, as well as its failure to address issues with their landline phone service which led to customers throughout the country experiencing scattered 911 outages. While most AT&T workers and CWA representatives will be protesting outside of the center, once the meeting starts, employees and representatives that actually hold AT&T's shares will be in the building, voting together to bring policies that would promote more responsibility and accountability from AT&T's corporate arm, while voting down a giant $$28.4 million salary package for CEO Randall Stephenson. Some shareholders claim that this figure is quite excessive, given the financial woes the company is facing. The end goal is for these AT&T workers — like the Verizon workers who came before them and stood with Senator Bernie Sanders during his campaign for the presidency — to secure contracts that will give them job security, better working conditions, and improved wages.
The protest follows several related incidents that occurred in recent months, including a March strike that involved thousands of workers from the west coast challenging their employer's business practices. It should be noted that workplace conditions and environment were not the main focus of most of these protests; rather, AT&T workers are worried about seeing their jobs disappear. In a press release detailing the demonstration that will soon be held in the Dallas Performance Center, AT&T workers and the CWA said that AT&T has already eliminated over 12,000 call center jobs through outsourcing, and has outsourced roughly 60 percent of its retail workforce to third-party "Authorized Retailers" that are often seen in mall kiosks and pop-up stores.