Communications Workers hold four day strike across 9 states

By Amy Husk
September 9, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Some 20,000 workers, members of Communications Workers of America District 3, went on strike  against AT&T in nine states Aug. 24-27. They included technicians, customer service representatives and others who install, maintain and support AT&T’s residential and business wireline telecommunications in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Picket lines were up in at least nine locations here. Workers’ spirits on Bardstown Road and Chestnut Street Aug. 26 were not dampened by pouring rain. In both locations bus drivers, truck drivers, and many others slowed down and honked loudly to show their support for the strikers.

The Teamsters union issued a statement of support to the CWA strike, and workers on the picket line at Bardstown Road reported that Teamster drivers were refusing to drive into AT&T lots.

The CWA 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 contract negotiations with the authority to make decisions. The union’s previous contract with the company expired Aug. 3.

The union says the company proposal calls for a mandatory stand-by system, forcing workers to work at any time. It also demands subcontracting out construction work, eliminating seniority if the company lays off workers and reducing sick pay.

“We have to schedule sick days two weeks in advance. We get two on-demand sick days a year,” Thomas Jackson, an AT&T wire technician for four years, told the Militant  at the Bardstown picket line.

Union officials announced the strike was over Aug. 28 and workers would be returning to their jobs later that day. Terms of the settlement have not been made public.

A separate strike by CWA members at AT&T in Florida began Aug. 22 after the company disciplined workers for wearing union insignia, the union’s website reports.