AT&T workers in Evansville join nation wide strike - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

AT&T workers in Evansville join nation wide strike

(WFIE) (WFIE)
EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) -

About 500 AT&T workers are striking right now in Evansville. Several thousand are striking across the country.

AT&T released the following statement to 14 News:

A strike is in no one’s best interest, and it’s baffling as to why union leadership would call one when we’re offering terms in which our employees in these contracts – some of whom average from $115,000 to $148,000 in total compensation – will be better off financially.

We’re prepared, and we will continue working hard to serve our customers. This involves less than 14 percent of our employees.

What’s most important is we’re all family, whether you’re a union member or not. Like any family we have our disagreements but we’ll sort them out. We’ve reached 29 fair agreements since 2015 covering over 128,000 of our employees, and we’re confident we can do the same here.

Additional detail:

We’re offering generous terms in these negotiations including annual wage and pension increases, as well as comprehensive healthcare benefits, similar to what other employees across the country have ratified in other contracts. We’re confident employees will be better off financially in their new contracts.

We have systematically and thoroughly prepared for a potential work stoppage, and we have a substantial contingency workforce of well-trained managers and vendors in place.

Additionally, we will leverage every technological resource available to us to respond to customer needs.

  • Our network is among the most technologically sophisticated in the world, allowing us enormous flexibility in operations.
  • We have the ability to service customers’ calls by routing them among available call centers across our network.

We’re proud to be a union-friendly employer, with more full-time, union-represented employees than any company in America. We’re the only major wireless company with a unionized workforce.

We’ve reached fair agreements with 29 bargaining units since 2015, covering over 128,000 employees.

  • Over 20,000 of our CWA-represented employees last month approved an early agreement that includes a commitment to hire 3,000 people sourced from work that’s currently performed mostly offshore.
  • We announced another agreement last month with the IBEW that included an announcement that we’ll be hiring 1,000 people and opening a new call center in Chicago.
  • In a press release about the agreement, IBEW International President Lonnie R. Stephenson said “This is a fair and mutually beneficial agreement that helps employer and employee alike.
  • It is a testament to the strong relationship between the IBEW and AT&T and shows the way to building strong labor-management partnerships in the telecommunications industry.”

The strikers told us a few things they want are better wages and to stop their jobs from being outsourced.

An AT&T representative told us it's baffling as to why union leadership would call for a strike when some of the employees make up to $148,000 in total compensation, but some local AT&T employees are outraged, saying they don't make anywhere near that much.

"This call center that I'm in now is making $30,000 to $40,000 a year, and that's not even our biggest problem," said Danielle Hoffman, an AT&T employee. "The problem that they're not addressing is and they're sweeping under the rug is the 50/50 model they want to go to."

We're told AT&T's plan is to keep 50 percent of all customer and call center calls here in the U.S. and 50 percent will be outsourced to other countries.

This is considered a short strike. We're told these employees will return to work on Monday.

If no agreement can be reached, their union president told 14 News a longer strike is possible.

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