AT&T workers based out of Lincolnton, as well as more than 20,000 others in nine southern states, have been on strike since midnight on Friday, protesting “unfair labor practice” and “not bargaining in good faith.” The workers on strike include technicians, customer service representatives and others who work on AT&T's home and business services.
Christopher Camp, a services technician, and approximately a dozen other workers wearing red shirts and holding picket signs were at the AT&T office on South Aspen Street, while more were at 237 Sigmon Road also in Lincolnton. Approximately 35 workers based out of Lincolnton are currently on strike, according to Camp. AT&T workers are on strike in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
“Our contract expired on August 3,” he said. “We bargained with them for months previous to that and we still haven’t been able to come to agreement. They aren’t sending people to the table that are authorized to bargain.”
The workers are members of Communication Workers of America (CWA) District 3.
Marty Richter from AT&T Corporate Communications said via email that AT&T is prepared for a strike and will continue working hard to serve their customers.
“The company has reached and union members have voted to ratify, 20 fair agreements since 2017 covering more than 89,000 employees,” he said. “That includes five similar agreements reached in late June and early July and ratified by CWA members. We look forward to doing the same here.”
The southeast contract covers fewer than 8 percent of employees, Richter added, and involves wireline employees in nine southeastern states. Mobility/wireless employees are not affected.
The most recent update from CWA dated Aug. 26 and posted on its website indicates that CWA and AT&T “met to discuss the various bargaining proposals on both sides. Discussions are intense but there is a possibility that negotiations could move forward. We are inspired by the solidarity across the district. You have proven to the world that you will fight back against the Company's unlawful acts, and rest assured we will not stop fighting for you.”