AT&T workers in California and Nevada call a three-day strike
Frustrated over the lack of progress in contract talks, more than 17,000 AT&T union members in California and Nevada walked off their jobs on Friday.
The Communications Workers of America called a three-day strike to protest the nearly 13-month period AT&T workers in California and Nevada have been without a contract. The union expects 40,000 more workers to join in the weekend strike that could represent as much as 14% of AT&T’s workforce.
The strike includes DirecTV technicians in California and Nevada. The union said the strike represents the first time that AT&T wireless workers have gone on strike, which they said could result in closed retail stores this weekend.
“We will no longer stand by as AT&T hems and haws at the bargaining table, keeping its own workers from achieving the American Dream they once promised,” Dennis Trainor, vice president of CWA District 1, said in a statement.
The walk-off came at noon Pacific time. Workers are expected to go back to work on Monday.
The two sides have been laboring over a new contract to replace the one that expired in April 2016.
“A strike is in no one’s best interest, and it’s baffling as to why union leadership would call one when we’re offering terms in which our employees in these contracts — some of whom average from $115,000 to $148,000 in total compensation — will be better off financially,” Marty Richter, an AT&T representative, said in a statement. “We’re prepared, and we will continue working hard to serve our customers.”
The CWA staged a one-day strike in late March to iron out an issue of job duties for certain technicians.
AT&T has been under pressure to control costs as its biggest business — wireless phone service — has matured and faced rising competition from Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.
An estimated 21,000 wireless phone service workers nationwide at AT&T voted in early February to authorize a strike as their contract expired.
The labor dispute comes as AT&T is seeking government approval for a massive $85-billion takeover of entertainment company Time Warner Inc., which includes CNN, HBO and the Warner Bros. movie and television studio. AT&T acquired El Segundo-based DirecTV nearly two years ago and is the largest pay-TV company in the U.S.