The Communication Workers of America, a union that represents employees in nine states including Florida, is currently in negotiations with AT&T. According to reports, the CWA had a previous contract with the phone company; the contract expired on Aug. 8 and the employer and union had not, at that time, agreed to a new contract.
In some areas, employees are picketing to raise awareness regarding working conditions at the employer. They hope that by doing so, they might see some improvements to those conditions based on the new contract. The president of a local CWA chapter in another state reportedly said that picketers in his area did not actually intend to strike, especially if they saw some improvements. He stated that a strike would be bad for both the employer and the employees, and it was not something they wanted.
For now, around 24,000 employees of AT&T in the affected states are working without a contract. Some employees report negative working conditions, including long working hours. The CWA chapter president interviewed stated that workers are not necessarily seeking higher wages during the negotiation process. Instead, they want shorter working days and are concerned about the cost of health insurance.
Some employees report working from 8 a.m. to midnight on some days. Employees also note that AT&T informed some of them that they would have to pay more to cover health insurance premiums. In some case, the reported increase was as high as 225 percent.
The situation between AT&T and the CWA is not uncommon. It’s also not uncommon for a single worker to experience trouble in negotiating a contract with an employer. If you are having issues with the legal process involving a contract or contract negotiation, sometimes a professional third-party offers the perspective and knowledge that can help you seek the most positive outcome possible.
Source: Albany Herald, “AT&T workers picket Albany headquarters,” Jim West, Sep. 19, 2015