The Stand

After strike vote, AT&T workers rallying for fair contract

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SEATTLE (Feb. 10, 2017) — As the nationwide contract covering more than 21,000 workers expires tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 11), AT&T wireless retail, call center and field workers will rally outside the Tukwila retail store 11 a.m. today (Friday) and the Bothell Call Center at 12:30 p.m. to call on AT&T executives to work with them for a fair contract that protects good jobs and supports high-quality customer service. While AT&T brings in more than $1 billion a month, it continues to offshore thousands of jobs to Mexico, the Philippines and other countries.

On Thursday, workers represented by Communications Workers of America voted to authorize a strike if necessary with more than 93% support and on Friday thousands will be rallying at local stores and call centers in 35 cities. In Washington state, more than 1,000 workers serve AT&T customers at retail stores and call centers.

TAKE A STAND — All union members and community supporters are invited to show their solidarity with AT&T workers by attending local rallies Friday at 11 a.m. at the Tukwila AT&T Store, 16425 Southcenter Pkwy, and Friday at 12:30 p.m. at the Bothell Call Center, 3755 Monte Villa Parkway.

BACKGROUND — The nationwide contract covering 21,000 wireless technicians, retail store and customer service workers will expire on Feb. 11. As the contract expiration approaches, AT&T workers are stepping up their mobilization nationwide, opposing the company’s demands to cut benefits and its continued outsourcing of good, union jobs.

Meanwhile, more than 17,000 workers in California and Nevada who keep cable, phone and internet services running have been working without a contract for nearly one year.

AT&T has chosen to cut more than 8,000 call center jobs since 2011 and offshore thousands of jobs to Mexico, the Philippines, India, the Dominican Republic and other countries. Meanwhile, the company has outsourced the operation of more than 60% of its wireless retail stores to low-wage, low-quality 3rd party dealers. Last month, seven other members of Congress sent a letter to President Trump encouraging the Trump Administration to take action to help protect and bring call center jobs back to the U.S.

Protesting the company’s disrespect of the workers who have made it very profitable, AT&T workers have been rallying outside major AT&T retail stores in New York, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, San Diego and other cities. On the West Coast, AT&T workers have gathered at major state freeway overpasses to protest the company’s ongoing attempts to squeeze customers and employees.

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.

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