JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Expect to see picket lines in the Jackson metro area this weekend. Communications Workers of America members at AT&T Southeast plan to go on strike at midnight over unfair labor practices committed by management during negotiations for a new contract.
CWA has 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.
“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 CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt. “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.”
The strike will involve over 20,000 technicians, customer service representatives and others who install, maintain and support AT&T’s residential and business wireline telecommunications network in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Additional unfair labor practice charges have been filed against the company in Florida for illegally disciplining members for wearing union memorabilia and for participating in activities that are protected under the National Labor Relations Act. CWA members in South Florida initiated a strike over the company’s unfair labor practices on August 22.
A spokesperson for AT&T has issued the following statement from the company:
“A strike would be in no one’s best interest. We’re baffled as to why union leadership would call one when we’re offering terms that would help our employees – some of whom average from $121,000 to $134,000 in total compensation – be even better off.
We have offered the union terms that are consistent with what other CWA-represented employees have approved in recent contract negotiations; the company has reached 20 fair agreements since 2017 covering more than 89,000 employees. The Southeast contract covers fewer than 8 percent of 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.”