Thousands of AT&T workers in the southeast, including Tennessee, have walked off the job.
The more than 20,000 employees who work for the telecommunications giant are striking over what the Communications Workers of America union is calling “unfair labor practices” by management during negotiations for a new contract.
The previous agreement expired on Aug. 3.
The group has filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board against AT&T for not bargaining in “good faith” and not sending the proper representatives to the bargaining table.
“We entered these negotiations prepared to bargain in good faith with AT&T to address our members’ concerns and to work together to find solutions,” said Richard Honeycutt, the vice president of the union’s southeast district, in a statement.
“Our talks have stalled because it has become clear that AT&T has not sent negotiators who have the power to make decisions so we can move forward toward a new contract,” he said.
The strike began midnight Friday in nine states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. Employees involved in the protest include technicians, customer service representatives and others who install equipment and provide support.
If AT&T can’t even the send the proper representatives to the bargaining table, it’s just an act of pure contempt for the union. They probably wanted this strike and are hoping to bust or weaken worker rights. And why wouldn’t they? Corporate executives fundamental belief is to recreate the United States of a century ago, when workers had no rights at all.
Given how few strikes there are in the South, it’s really important people see these workers. The more strikes, the more confidence people have in standing up for their own rights at the workplace. I will be following this story closely.