AT&T customers could find it difficult to obtain help this weekend if something were to happen to their DirecTV, U-Verse, or AT&T wireless service, as AT&T union workers walked off the job today following failed contract negotiations.
Thousands of AT&T wireless, wireline, and DirecTV workers who are part of the Communications Workers of America — the largest communications and media labor union in the U.S. — announced today that they will participate in a weekend-long strike in protest of AT&T’s failure to provide “serious proposals” for workers.
The striking groups — which walked off the job around 3 p.m. — represent four union contracts and include wireless workers in 36 states and Washington, D.C., as well as wireline workers in California, Nevada and Connecticut, and DirecTV technicians in California and Nevada.
CWA warns that with wireless employees expected go on strike, several AT&T retail stores could be closed this weekend, claiming the strike could be the largest in retail history.
The groups concede that while the strike will likely be an inconvenience for customers in the short term, workers are committed to “putting an end to unnecessary frustration and poor service because of AT&T’s lack of investment in its core business.”
The strike is expected to end Sunday evening, with workers returning to the job Monday.
CWA says that workers are demanding AT&T commit to bargaining that addresses wage increases that cover rising healthcare costs, job security against outsourcing, affordable healthcare, and a fair scheduling policy.
“We’re walking off the job today because AT&T has every means available to support its core workforce and the customers who help make them $1 billion a month in profits, but chooses to undercut us at every turn,” James Stiffey, an AT&T wireless worker from Pittsburgh, said in a statement.
In a statement emailed to Consumerist, AT&T argued that this strike is “baffling” and in “no one’s best interest.”
“We’re prepared, and we will continue working hard to serve our customers,” said AT&T, which notes that striking workers account for about 14% of its workforce. “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.”
This weekend’s strike comes nearly two months after 17,000 AT&T workers in Nevada and California walked off the job.
The Unionized workers who are part of the Communications Workers of America, District 9 returned to work a short time later.
“The brief grievance strike has been resolved and employees are returning to work today,” an AT&T spokesman told Consumerist at the time.