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Sat Jun 16, 2018, 07:33 AM

Shut it Down! On The Recent AT&T Strikes

A striker writes on what the AT&T strike wave means, and proposes next steps in developing a direct action workers movement in North America.

Our workplace went out on strike Friday, June 1st 2018. It was the second time in two weeks. Earlier that morning CWA union stewards and mobilizers gathered with (working) union officers in the cafeteria break room. We were anxious to strike again after months of daily workplace actions designed to show our determination to resist the concessions being demanded by the Company in contract negotiations with the Union.

At 12 Noon workers on four separate call center floors stood up and announced we were going on an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike for the rest of the day. The vast majority of workers filed out, including for the first time AT&T Technicians and workers in the Teleconference department. A loud and energetic picket line replaced the drudgery of answering calls and emails from AT&T’s business customers. We were not the only place to strike. AT&T workers in Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Dayton OH, Muncie IN, Syracuse NY, and several other locations all went out. A week later members of the CWA struck for the day in Georgia. All of these locals are under 2 expired contracts between AT&T and the CWA – one for the old “Legacy T” AT&T (long-distance), and one for the Midwest – the old “Ameritech” area.

These strikes have been for one or two days only - around Local grievances and ULP’s and not around the overall terms of a contract. The short strikes allow the Local unions to test their organization and morale without having their members face huge holes in their paychecks. In some areas the strikes are organized exclusively by the Local leadership, in others there is strong pressure from the ranks – in my workplace and probably in most of the other strikes, there was some combination of both. The International and District union leaders have taken a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” approach to the strikes. For legal reasons the bureaucracy does not want responsibility for Local grievance strikes, but they are not trying to stop them either.

https://libcom.org/news/shut-it-down-13062018

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