A contract dispute has thousands of AT&T workers going on strike, including some in the Golden Triangle. Ward says the strike is not about salary, benefits and better working conditions but a fair and equitable contract that expired August 3 that now impacts customers.
According to a statement issued by the Communications Workers of America, the members of the union say they are fed up with what they see as AT&T's refusal to bargain in good faith. Those states comprise Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and SC.
More than 20,000 AT&T employees in the Southeast went on strike overnight, accusing the Dallas-based company of unfair labor practices.
CWA says they have filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against AT&T for not bargaining in good faith and not sending representatives to the bargaining table with the authority to make decisions.
"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".
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"We're out on strike for unfair labor practices", said Joe Fields.
AT&T says they are aware of the strike.
CWA says they represent working men and women in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, public service and manufacturing. We would also like to say thank you to all other union members that have stood in our line, and supported our fight.
"It is not our intent to put any undue hardship on AT&T's customers, however, the company must know their employees deserve fair negotiations". "We remain ready to sit down with union leaders to listen to their concerns and work with them on negotiating a new, improved contract for our employees".
"We're prepared for a strike and in the event of a work stoppage, we will continue working hard to serve our customers", Jim Kimberly, a spokesperson for AT&T said, "A strike would be in no one's best interest". The Southeast contract covers fewer than 8 percent of our employees.