Local workers from Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 3 join more than 20,000 AT&T workers across the nine southeastern states in an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike.
CWA is the largest communication workers union in the United States.
“Our contract was up August 3, 2019 at midnight. A couple of weeks later contract negotiations broke down.” said Scott Mackiel, Vice President of the CWA Local 3105. “We want to get AT&T negotiators back to the bargaining table so we can get back to work. ”
In Brooksville, workers gathered to form a picket line along Broad Street in front of the AT&T technician facility. The constant sound of car horns as drivers went by showing their support for the workers could be heard throughout the morning.
“The ability to bargain collectively over wages, benefits and working conditions is our legal right and is built into the fabric of the organized american workforce.” said Shawn Todd, President of CWA local 3105. “In this instance, AT&T sent people to the bargaining table that did not have the ability to make the smallest decision. Therefore, CWA District 3 filed an Unfair Labor Practice dispute. This ULP strike is a result of the company’s inability to bargain fairly with CWA. Our bargaining committee engaged with the company in subcommittee discussions and came to tentative understandings which were then brought up at the main bargaining table just for the company to say they did not want to discuss those issues. That is bad bargaining by faith. Our hope is the company will bring someone to the table that can actually make a decision and come to a fair and amicable agreement. ”
AT&T quickly responded to the local ULP strike as managers at the local tech facility were trying to fill the shoes of the almost 50 workers forming the strike line.
“A strike is in no one’s best interest. We remain ready to sit down with union leaders to negotiate a new, improved contract for our employees,” said Marty Richter, AT&T spokesman.
“We strongly disagree with the union’s claims of unfair labor practices. Our bargaining team is negotiating this contract with CWA leaders in the same way we have successfully done with dozens of other CWA contracts over the years. We listen, engage in substantive discussions and share proposals back and forth until we reach agreement.
That’s why we’re surprised and disappointed that union leaders would call for a strike at this point in the negotiations, particularly when we’re offering terms that would help our employees – some of whom average from $121,000 to $134,000 in total compensation – be even better off.
We’re prepared for a strike and will continue working hard to serve our customers.”