AT&T workers across Maine plan to go on strike Friday

AT&T workers across Maine plan to go on strike Friday

AT&T workers, members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), have pledged to walk off the job and form picket lines on Friday at 3 p.m. if contract negotiations continue to stall. The 40,000 workers involved include both wireline and retail employees and the action could represent the largest strike of retail workers at a national company in U.S. history.

Pickets are planned for Friday and the weekend, with CWA’s national website listing actions at AT&T Mobility stores in Portland and Bangor. CWA Local 1400 in New England lists additional pickets at stores in Ellsworth, Windham, Scarborough, Auburn, Brunswick, South Portland and Saco. The union is encouraging those who wish to stand with the workers to RSVP for the pickets in order to receive updates on the strike.

“The clock is ticking for AT&T to make good on their promise to preserve family-supporting jobs for more than 40,000 workers,” said Dennis Trainor, Vice President of CWA District 1. “We have made every effort to bargain in good faith with AT&T, but have only been met with delays and excuses. Now, AT&T is facing the possibility of closed stores for the first time ever.”

One of the major points of contention is AT&T’s practice of outsourcing and offshoring thousands of jobs. Since 2011, the company has eliminated 12,000 call center jobs in the U.S., replacing them with third-party vendors operating in Mexico, the Philippines, India, the Dominican Republic and other countries with low wages and weak labor protections.

“We are drawing a line in the sand: come to the bargaining table with the long overdue proposals that families need, or me and my co-workers will walk off the job,” said Cheryce Chambers, a wireless retail worker in New York, in a statement released by CWA. “Striking is never an easy choice, but my neighbors, my son and my community deserve better. If it becomes necessary, I’ll be out on the picket line to show AT&T their greed stands no chance next to our determination.”

Photo of CWA Local 4900 workers via Unity at Mobility.

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