CWA workers reach agreement with AT&T, return to work

Published 12:00 pm Friday, August 30, 2019

Communications Workers of America (CWA) and AT&T reached an agreement during early morning hours on Wednesday. As a result, roughly 20,000 workers went back to work around 1 p.m. later that day.

A four-year contract between the CWA and AT&T had ended Aug. 3, causing concern with union members regarding increased health care costs and job security.

The strike started around midnight on Friday after the CWA filed a complaint with the National Labors Relation Board, arguing AT&T had sent negotiators who did not have the authority to forge a deal.

Negotiations between the two went through Monday and Tuesday until an agreement was reached on Wednesday, leading the CWA to share this statement on their website:

“CWA has notified AT&T management that we are ending the unfair labor practice strike and have agreed to return to work. The strike is over, effective immediately. Bargaining unit employees at AT&T Southeast, Utility Operations, and AT&T Billing are expected to return to work at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

“District 3 leadership and the bargaining team appreciate the spirit and solidarity shown by your protest against the company’s unfair labor practices over the last four days. The company saw how seriously you and your members took the protest and that you would not stop until they bargained with us in good faith. Your actions will never be forgotten by us or by your brothers and sisters across the country.”

Workers on strike were mostly technicians, who primarily are associated with U-Verse service and fiber lines, and customer service representatives across nine states, involving a handful of workers in Harlan as well.

Many of the employees expressed the same interest, stating the strike “wasn’t about the money.” Instead, workers were concerned about their benefits and insurance.