Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Markets | By Lucia Cruz

Davenport AT&T workers join nationwide, three-day strike

The telco estimates that the striking workers account for about 13 per cent of its total workforce.

AT&T spokesman Mark Giga issued a statement, saying it's "baffling" as to why union leadership would call a strike. Since December, AT&T workers have picketed retail stores in San Francisco, New York, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, San Diego and other cities, hung banners on freeway overpasses, organized rallies and marches and confronted the corporation at its annual meeting in Dallas.

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

AT&T, for its part, said that the company is prepared for workers to walk off the job but continues to negotiate. 12,000 call center jobs in the USA have been eliminated since 2011 as AT&T has chosen to instead contract with third-party vendors overseas that supply low-wage workers who aren't subject to much weaker labor protections.

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CWA Local 1118 will be holding the rally outside of the AT&T store at 1762 Central Ave. starting at 2:30 p.m., presumably just before the potential strike would begin. Several hit the picket line Friday to take a stand during contract talks.

"We've been bargaining with AT&T for over a year", CWA president Chris Shelton told the rally in Silicon Valley.

The Communications Workers of America union - which represents AT&T wireless, wireline and DirecTV workers - set a deadline of Friday at 9 a.m. Hawaii time for reaching a new deal. Our message is clear: fair contract or strike. The company has "a substantial contingency work force of well-trained managers and vendors in place", he said in an email, as well as the ability to reroute calls to unaffected call centers. We have made every effort to bargain in good faith with AT&T but have been met with delays and excuses. "Even my son will be out there with me".

IBEW Local 3 workers at rally located at Charter Communications headquarters.

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