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CWA and ATT Wrap Up Negotiations; Union Reports Community Solidarity

Written by on August 30, 2019

Negotiations have ended between the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and AT&T, and a “tentative agreement” has been reached.

This tentative agreement is for 5 years, and includes wage increases for all workers, additional and increased benefits packages, and maintained and improved termination packages. The union also successfully fought off attempts to increase the scope of work for employees without a raise in pay, reduce benefits packages, and establish mandatory standby.

More details about the tentative agreement will be released tomorrow, and this article will be updated accordingly.

By all accounts, the strike seems to have been a success. There were some rumblings of discontent among the casual sympathetic observer when the strike was ended without concessions having been announced, but this is because the strike was not over specific working conditions or wages – it was needed to simply bring AT&T to the bargaining table. The success of the strike and the low scab rate undoubtedly played a role in the number of concessions the company ended up giving.

As the old labor movement saying goes: direct action gets the goods.

These negotiations sparked a days-long strike beginning Friday, August 23 at midnight and ending with workers reporting to duty stations at 12 pm on Wednesday, August 28 as a result of unfair labor practices – the company refused to bargain with the union in good faith. Upon the company’s good faith return to the bargaining table, CWA called off the strike.

20,000 workers across the Southeast participated in the strike, including nearly a thousand in Alabama. Citizens saw picket lines all across the state.

During the strike, CWA Local 3905 (covering North Alabama) reported significant community support. Bethany Sanders, the branch secretary for CWA Local 3905, said that several other unions, organizations, politicians and candidates supported the striking workers by donating food and water, by walking the line with the workers, donating money, and prayers. She said that the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local Lodge 44 and the Tennessee Valley Progressive Alliance (TVPA) dropped off several cases of water and gatorade to the striking workers. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 558 and some community supporters brought food for the striking workers on multiple days. Members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 1858 and the Huntsville Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), along with State Representative Anthony Daniels and candidate for county commission district 6 Deborah Barros, and the other organizations came by and walked the picket line with them. 

The striking workers were really appreciative to have the community’s support.

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