AT&T's retail presence took a mighty blow over the weekend as somewhere around 37,000 workers from all divisions launched a three day strike on Friday. This strike was the first major strike for AT&T's wireless division. AT&T stores in major markets like New York City and Los Angeles closed down for the weekend, among others. Despite this, AT&T spokesperson Marty Richter insisted that most of AT&T's retail locations were still open during the strike. The strike has officially ended and the workers have returned to their posts as of today. Both AT&T employees and the Communication Workers of America are hoping that they will be able to reach a deal with AT&T this time around. The expired contracts that made the strike possible still haven't been renewed, so if communications break down, another strike is still possible.
AT&T workers and the CWA laid down an ultimatum last week, after bargaining with AT&T hit a roadblock. They had said that they planned to walk off the job on Friday at 3PM Eastern, if AT&T didn't reach a satisfactory agreement with them before then, and that's exactly what ended up happening. Grievances were aired publicly at a shareholder meeting in Dallas not long before then, although it did not seem enough to be able to bring about an agreement between the parties prior to the strike taking place.
Negotiations between AT&T and their workers took quite some time to break down to the point that they're at right now. Back in March, a smaller amount of workers went on strike, but protests and negotiations had been going on long before that. AT&T employees say that their employer is allegedly eliminating jobs at an alarming rate, and failing to invest adequately in its core business interests and assets, leading to a loss of potential value. With the assumption being that less appeal to shareholders and investors means less money in the company's pockets, which means a bigger possibility of the company engaging in practices that affect employees in order to save money, such as outsourcing. Complaints also centered around working conditions and contract terms, among other issues.