Dear AT&T Mobility members,
I am writing to update you about the status of our bargaining.
As you know, we have been bargaining for more than five months to negotiate improvements to our collective bargaining agreement. This has been a frustrating process, but not a surprising one. We are insisting on a contract that isn’t “business as usual,” and the company is very reluctant to address the needs of our members.
Here are the key things we are fighting for, and what the company’s response has been so far.
Offshoring. More and more call center jobs are being sent to vendors around the world. When calls get routed to vendors, members lose their jobs. We are insisting on reasonable measures to protect our work and our members. The company doesn’t want to agree to anything which curbs their ability to outsource.
Authorized Dealers. More and more COR stores are closing down and being replaced by Authorized Retailers. When COR stores close down, members lose their jobs. We are insisting on reasonable measures to protect our work and members. The company doesn’t want to agree to anything which restricts their plans to close COR stores.
Commissions. The union is insisting that retail sales members have fair commissions and fair compensation. In recent years, our commission checks have been going down. The company wants the right to lower our commission whenever they want.
Absence Control. The company’s absence control plan is unfair, cruel, and violates our previous contract. The company uses the plan to get rid of dedicated and hardworking members. The union wants to address this issue and make improvements, but the company likes things the way they are.
Sick Days. The company is trying to add wait days before we can take sick days and decrease the number of sick days for new hires. We are fighting back against these unfair limits on our ability to take care of our health.
Information at Bargaining. Under U.S. labor law, the union has the right to information so we can bargain intelligently. The company has refused to fulfill their legal obligation to supply the union with information on outsourcing of work, and other key pieces of information. We have filed charges against the company at the Labor Board.
Unfair Labor Practices. The company has committed many other Unfair Labor Practices, including interfering with our right to strike and unilaterally changing terms or conditions of employment. The union has filed a number of charges against the company with the Labor Board. The Board is currently investigating our charges, and we expect complaints to be issued against AT&T.
This Ain’t Our First Rodeo! Although we are disappointed in the pace of negotiations, we aren’t surprised — this is what happens when we fight for something more than the status quo. If you take away one thing from this email, please realize, the union has a plan to get a good contract. We are following our plan. A big part of this plan is to make sure that our members are mobilized to show the company that we are unified in our demands.
Another part of the plan was to do a short strike to let the company know what we are capable of. We also knew we would need to have the Labor Board investigate all the company’s illegal activities.
In the past two months, we have gone public with our concerns by exposing the company’s offshoring of jobs and the questionable practices by their Authorized Retailers (check out the new web site: www.ATTConsumerAlert.org and share with your friends).
And remember, as bargaining drags on, it is illegal for the company to change their commission structure, which makes it harder and harder for them to run their business.
We can’t make every detail of our plan public for obvious reasons, but brothers and sisters, CWA has negotiated against major employers before, and sometimes bargaining takes a long time. Last year at Verizon, bargaining dragged on, and then — to the shock of the company — we struck and won a standards-setting contract for the industry.
We could settle for a sub-par contract tomorrow, but we would rather fight with you for a contract that addresses the needs of our members. We ask that everyone keep up with mobilization activities, keep engaged with your local, and know that we all win when we work together.
United We Bargain, Divided We Beg
June 2, 2017
The Company has not offered any new proposals since the strike. While we are happy to receive some of the data we requested, the Company continues to insist on concessions and offers nothing to get us closer to an agreement. The Union has our demands on the table and we will not back down.
Currently, CWA has filed National Labor Relations Board charges against AT&T regarding: 1. the Company’s refusal to provide information relevant to bargaining 2. the Company’s refusal to bargain regarding the commission plan 3. threats made by management regarding pointing strikers for attendance 4. surveying workers regarding terms and conditions of bargaining and 5. unilateral change of terms and conditions of bargaining (scheduling in ATS centers).
Along with the NLRB charges, the Union is currently investigating the following situations: changes in schedules for part timers; changes in the goals under the commission plans; soliciting employees to resign from the Union; and threats and retaliation following the strike. Each District will be filing charges associated with the above as needed. We know that this can be a long and frustrating process, but we are committed to fighting as long as it takes to get a fair contract. We need mobilization to continue, please stay in touch with your Local for upcoming mobilization activities. When we fight, we WIN!
May 25, 2017
Since returning from the strike, and because of your courage, the company has been filling many of the open information requests. It took a strike and Unfair Labor Practice charges to get the information but we are getting it. However, the company continues its greedy demands and they continue to spread misinformation about bargaining. The Union will not back down and we urge you to contact your Local if you are hearing anything that does not sound correct. If there is any harassment or intimidation going on that needs to be reported as well.
Mobilization needs to be ramped up to keep the pressure on, and we need to be prepared to bargain for as long as it takes. Despite the company’s lies, the strike closed hundreds of stores nationwide, left call centers unstaffed and critical network tickets not dispatched until Monday. Keep up the fight, One day longer, one day stronger. When We Fight We Win!!
AT&T Wireless Workers Fire Warning Shot, Give 72-Hour Notice to Terminate Contract
DALLAS—As AT&T investors and executives convene for the annual shareholders meeting in Dallas today, AT&T wireless workers announced they have issued the 72-hour notice to end their contract extension—making a strike more likely than ever before for 21,000 wireless workers across 36 states and DC. Starting May 1, CWA has the option to call a strike at any time.
“We have given AT&T every opportunity to show their commitment to finding common ground and a fair contract and, quite frankly, have been very patient about it. But time is running out for AT&T to stop undermining good jobs, quality customer service and its long-term success,” said Dennis Trainor, Vice President of CWA District 1. “AT&T thinks they can play by their own rules, but 21,000 wireless workers are ready to show them what happens when you bet against American workers. The pieces are all in place now, and we’ll strike if necessary, but the larger question still remains: will AT&T finally do right by their wireless workers?”
Since February 11 of this year, AT&T workers have worked under a contract extension subject to termination and held up their promise to bargain in good faith with the expectation that executives will come to the table with proposals that protect family-supporting American jobs. However, after months of bargaining, frustration is higher than ever as workers and corporate executives remain far apart on key issues at the bargaining table. The company has refused to invest in the company’s workforce, protect the basic promise of quality customer service, and end offshoring and outsourcing with a fair contract.
“We came to Dallas today to send a message to AT&T: we’re sick and tired of being taken advantage of and we’re ready to do something about it,” said Cheryce Chambers, a retail worker from the Bronx, New York. “Striking is never easy, but we mean it when we say we’ll do whatever it takes for a fair contract that keeps our jobs at home, provides for our families, and protects the promise to provide high-quality customer service.”
The 17,000 AT&T West wireline and DIRECTV workers have been working without a contract for more than a year, and workers have taken action against AT&T’s illegal and unfair labor practices. Last month, AT&T West workers walked off the job in a one-day strike.
CWA members in California and Nevada have built strong support from state and local elected officials who are expressing their concerns to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson about the company’s failure to build out high-speed fiber internet service to lower-income communities and address problems with service in rural areas.
“AT&T has been dragging its feet for more than a year to negotiate a new contract that protects good jobs in California and Nevada. It’s time to stop the corporate games and start bargaining fairly with the workers who work hard every day to ensure its operations are running smoothly and effectively for all the communities it serves,” said CWA District 9 Vice President Tom Runnion.
Just days after Q1 earnings showed revenue falling short of expectations and continued loss in subscribers, more than a hundred workers protested outside of the annual meeting today to send a message to AT&T shareholders that the company’s practice of undermining its employees is putting the company’s long-term growth and market success at risk. Now, with the threat of a strike looming, AT&T could see tens of thousands of retail, call center and tech workers walk off the job in 36 states.
Despite being the largest telecom company in the country and bringing in nearly $1 billion a month in profits, AT&T continues to overpromise and underdeliver to workers, customers and core capabilities including:
- Offshoring: AT&T has eliminated more than 12,000 US call center jobs and offshored thousands of other call center jobs to Mexico, the Philippines, India, the Dominican Republic and other countries. As AT&T workers call on the company to end its endless offshoring, Congress is taking increased action with new bipartisan legislation to stop companies from offshoring call center jobs.
- Outsourcing: More than 60% of AT&T’s branded retail stores are actually third-party dealers, known as “authorized retailers.” Customers regularly complain of deceptive sales practices, and to date, AT&T has failed to hold dealers accountable to quality customer service. AT&T workers are calling on corporate executives and shareholders to reverse this damaging trend before the impact on the business and their jobs becomes severe.
- Lack of investment in core business & infrastructure: AT&T is failing to provide high-speed broadband to communities across the country, particularly in California. A recent UC Berkeley report highlighted AT&T’s digital divide in California, leaving both rural and urban communities behind. A new report from UC Berkeley’s Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society revealed 4 million California homes lack access to AT&T’s high-speed broadband. Mayors and other elected officials from California and Nevada have “slam[med] AT&T for slow internet, long phone outages.” Recent reports have found similar problems in Cleveland’s poorest neighborhoods.
- Corporate accountability: In just the last couple months, over 12,000 callers couldn’t reach 911 due to AT&T outrages across the country. Over the last year, severe and regular phone outages across rural California prompted the CPUC to require phone companies to provide more real-time reporting on outages – changes pushed for by AT&T workers for years. Federal lawmakers are demanding accountability.
More than 38,000 wireless, wireline, and DIRECTV workers across the country are fighting together for good jobs and mobilizing across the country to show AT&T they’ll do whatever it takes to win a fair contract. Earlier this year, workers at AT&T Wireless and AT&T West voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if necessary and workers have held weekly practice picket lines across the country to prepare for a potential strike if there isn’t genuine progress at the bargaining table.
Pressure is mounting on AT&T from all angles. At the shareholders meeting, there are several proposals on the ballot to improve AT&T’s corporate governance, as the company spends millions on lobbying expenses, media placements, political donations, and lawsuits to block local competition and keep prices high for customers. CWA members will also vote against a $28.4 million compensation package for CEO Randall Stephenson, which they view as excessive, particularly while there is widespread instability in the company’s workforce.
Last year, Verizon workers were on strike for 49 days, finally winning 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.