On the morning of Friday, April 28th, CWA gave notice to the management of AT&T Mobility that we are exercising our right to terminate the Orange Contract in 72 hours. That doesn’t mean we are going on strike, but it means we are one step closer.
Below are questions you may have about what this means.
Q. Why give 72 hours’ notice?
Prior to our original contract expiration date of February 11, the union and management reached an agreement to extend the contract. As part of this agreement, both sides retained the right to terminate the contract with 72 hours’ notice. The contract we have been working under includes a “No Strike, No Lockout Clause.” Upon conclusion of the 72 hours’ notice, with no contract in place, the union will be free to call a strike at any time.
Q. Does this mean there will be a strike in 72 hours?
Giving notice that we are terminating the contract does not mean there will be a strike in 72 hours. It does allow the union to call a strike at any point after that 72 hours is over, but does not necessarily mean we will call a strike at any particular date in the future. Members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if needed. The decision of whether and when to strike rests with the President of CWA.
Q. Why did we give the 72 hours notice now?
We have been negotiating for several months, yet management refuses to address issues that are most important to our members. This company takes in $1.3 billion in profit each and every month. Yet while our members earn those profits for AT&T every day, and while the CEO and other top executives line their pockets, the Company refuses to address the needs of their employees.
We hope management understands the unmistakable signal we are now sending. If the company continues refusing to address our issues, such as bargaining commission pay, job security and sick time, a strike is more and more likely. When CWA struck Verizon, their sales plummeted. Verizon is still trying to recover from the strike. We hope AT&T Mobility doesn’t make the same mistake Verizon did last year.
Q. When the 72 hours is over, we won’t have a contract in place. What does that mean?
72 hours from the time of our announcement, all 21,000 represented workers will be working without a contract. All terms and conditions of the old contract will continue to remain in force. Our pay will remain the same, health insurance, sick time policies, etc. We can still file and process grievances. We will not have the right to arbitrate, and the No Strike/No Lockout agreement will not be in force.
Q. How likely is a strike?
By now we hope that management understands that there will be a strike unless they address the needs of our members. We think we will know soon whether or not management will begin to make meaningful movement at the bargaining table.
Q. What can we do as members?
We ask all members to save money now in the event there is a strike. And it is also critically important that all members participate in our mobilization activities. If there is a rally, attend it. If you are asked to wear a pin or button, be sure to do so. Management will move at the bargaining table when they see an active membership. To reduce the chance of a strike, participate in your local’s mobilization activity!