Thousands of AT&T employees set to strike

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Thousands of members with the Communication Workers of America (CWA) union are preparing to hit the picket lines and start striking. They’re planning on walking out of AT&T stores as the union and corporation haven’t reached an agreement. The CWA union is hopeful the strike will bring the corporation back to the bargaining table.

“Our members want their issues addressed,” said James Wagner, CWA Local 1122 President. “AT&T feels like they can dictate the terms and conditions of our members labor and we believe it has to be negotiated.”

The major issues on the table CWA members are hoping can be negotiated range from increasing pay to cover rising healthcare costs, to sick day policies, and job security.

“In today’s world we can no longer settle for good paying jobs to be moved overseas,” said Wagner.  “AT&T needs to keep these jobs right here.”

Both the company and union members say they’ve always worked well together.  This will be the first time the members will be walking out from AT&T mobility.

In a statement, AT&T says they’re baffled the union leadership is calling a strike.

“For AT&T upper management to pin this on CWA leadership is a bunch of malarkey,” rebutted Wagner.

Wagner says it’s the people who work for the corporate phone company who are calling for the stoppage.

“The membership is not happy with what’s on the table today.”

Around the nation, more than 21,000 people will be walking out of AT&T stores; only 75 people are from the Buffalo area. Still, those in our region with the carrier could feel the impacts if there is an outage.

In the statement AT&T says they have a contingency workforce of well-trained managers and vendors in place.

The union leader is hopeful having picket lines outside of retail shops will get people in Buffalo reconsidering using the communication corporation.

“Together, our solidarity wins and it’s time all members of working class stand up and advocate for one another.”

The strike is set to last through the weekend. Wagner says if the corporation doesn’t come back to the table after this three day strike, they will walk out again.

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