AT&T Mobility, CWA negotiations begin for more than 20,000 employees

In Daily News Briefs by Wireless Estimator


About 40,000 Verizon workers went on strike last April. Verizon said workers received $130,000 a year in wages and benefits. Union leaders said it was closer to $74,000. A settlement was reached in August when workers were offered a 12-percent raise over three years.

AT&T Mobility began negotiations last week with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) on the Mobility Orange contract, covering more than 20,000 Mobility employees in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The contract expires on Feb. 11.

The negotiations are expected to cover wages, benefits, pension and work rules.

AT&T is the country’s largest employer of full-time union-represented labor.  In a statement, AT&T said the company’s goal in these negotiations is to continue to provide employees with high quality union-represented careers with wages and benefits that are among the best in the country.

The CWA, in a press release, said despite AT&T’s strong Q4 results, “the company is squeezing its workforce and sacrificing the quality of its customer service. AT&T members of the Communications Workers of America nationwide, who are bargaining with AT&T for new contracts, have serious concerns about the direction this company seems to be taking.”

“We do a lot to make AT&T successful, but the company wants us to do even more, for less. This company is making a profit of more than $1 billion a month, but is closing our call centers and shutting down retail stores. AT&T wireless workers like me are taking action, and standing up for our jobs and our customers,” said customer service representative Sarrah Nasser.

Last year, CWA members at Verizon were on strike for 49 days, finally gaining a strong contract that created and protected good jobs. During the strike, Verizon’s approval ratings were at a three-year low while analysts and media regularly remarked on the reputational damage facing Verizon.

Wireless industry construction workers are generally not represented by a union, although some companies are union members. A number of efforts to encourage the CWA to unionize workers have failed.