Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

AT&T workers walk off the job in California, elsewhere

The strike, the first for AT&T wireless, covers 36 states and Washington, D.C.

CWA reports that "AT&T wireless workers across 36 states and DC" will go on strike, as well as "wire line workers in California, Nevada, and CT and DIRECTV technicians in California and Nevada".

In an email, Steven Maviglio, an AT&T spokesman, said it's baffling as to why union leadership would call a strike when employees "will be better off financially". AT&T says it has offered "generous" wage and pension benefit increases and healthcare benefits similar to what other unionized employees have accepted around the country. Workers also want the carrier to end its policy of increasing worker health care contributions as well as guarantee tighter job security.

Workers have been mobilizing all week, with informational picketing outside call centers and wireless stores, preparing for the strike, national union leaders said.

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This weekend's strike comes almost two months after 17,000 AT&T workers in Nevada and California walked off the job.

Around 40,000 workers are participating in the strike.

According to the statement, more than 20,000 of CWA-represented employees approved an early agreement last month that included a commitment to hire 3,000 people now performing work mostly done outside the country.

Dennis Trainor, vice president of CWA District 1, said in a statement all employees will return to work on Monday at the start of their scheduled shift. "We are what help make AT&T the company that it is and, I think, that will get our message across", said Travis Daniel, picketer.

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Wireless service still powers the lion's share of AT&T's profits as the market for fixed telephone lines and satellite service wanes.

AT&T emailed a statement on Wednesday only saying they would be prepared in the event of a strike. Our demands are clear and have been for months: fair contract or strike. The Communications Workers of America labor union, which represents the work, has given AT&T until this afternoon to reach a deal.

Workers tell us they gave corporate until three present proposals to change their contracts.

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