Over 8,000 CWA members are negotiating for healthcare, better wages and a commitment to keeping jobs in the region
Thursday, February 20, 2020
AUSTIN, Tex. -- AT&T Southwest Mobility workers, represented by the Communications Workers of America, today authorized a strike, with a vote supported by 98% of workers. The strike authorization comes as CWA's contract with AT&T, covering more than 8,000 Southwest Mobility workers, is set to expire on Friday, February 21, 2020.
AT&T workers and union members will continue to work with their current contract in place until Friday, as CWA continues negotiations with AT&T.
“AT&T Mobility workers in the Southwest are not afraid to do whatever it takes to make sure that the company invests in its employees so that we can build and support the next generation networks that our communities need,” said Jason Vellmer, a CWA Staff Representative, who is leading the bargaining team. “We have made progress toward a fair contract over the last few days, but several critical issues remain unresolved. This strike authorization vote lets AT&T know that the bargaining team has the full support of our members as we work toward a new contract that protects our healthcare, improves wages, and keeps family-supporting, union jobs in the region.”
AT&T workers across the country have been holding the company accountable for its broken promises on jobs and investment. Despite the company’s record cash flow, AT&T has cut 37,818 jobs since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) went into effect in 2018, with 4,040 of those jobs cut in the fourth quarter of 2019 alone. These job cuts follow AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson’s pledge in 2017 to create 7,000 new jobs and invest in its network if President Trump’s corporate tax cuts passed.
Last summer, 20,000 CWA members at AT&T Southeast went on strike after their contract expired, and in 2017, CWA members at AT&T Mobility in 36 states and the District of Columbia joined together in a three-day strike when negotiations stalled.
AT&T has continued to cater to the demands of controversial vulture hedge fund Elliott Management, which purchased a small stake in AT&T in September 2019. Elliott is pushing AT&T to extract profits from the company by eliminating jobs, outsourcing work, and divesting critical assets.
Elliott has also won a commitment from AT&T to spend $30 billion on stock buybacks, which will drive up its share price to enrich a small group of wealthy investors, leaving fewer resources for building next generation wireless and fiber broadband networks and training workers for the jobs of the future. Credit-rating agency Moody’s has raised concerns that the large cost of the stock buyback plan puts AT&T at risk for a credit downgrade.
The current contract for CWA members at AT&T Southwest Mobility covers workers in Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas.