20,000 AT&T Workers Go On Strike

UPDATE: The CWA has released a statement regarding the strike, and also says the total number of striking workers is around 22,500 (18,000 out west and 4,500 in Connecticut).

“Contract negotiations are never easy,” said CWA District 9 Vice President Jim Weitkamp. “But when AT&T violates the law repeatedly, the process really can’t work. Given AT&T’s record profits, tax breaks and jaw-dropping executive compensation, there is no reason for them to insist on lowering the standard of living of a single worker.”

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According to a dispatch directly from the Death Star, a total of 20,000 AT&T wireline workers represented by the Communications Workers of America have gone on strike against AT&T in two regions of the country.

The lion’s share of the striking employees, approximately 17,000, come out of the AT&T West contract (California and Nevada). The remainder are from its East contract (Connecticut).

“[I]t’s unfortunate local union leaders in the West and East regions chose to take this action,” reads a statement from the telecom titan, which also says it has been planning for two years in case a strike of this size did hit the company. AT&T claims it has a “substantial contingency workforce of well-trained managers and vendors in place.”

As of right now, CWA does not appear to have released a statement on the strike.

Meanwhile, AT&T says it has reached a handshake deal with wireline workers for AT&T Southeast that would give a new contract to 22,000 CWA-represented workers.

It was a year ago this week that 45,000 Verizon workers represented by the CWA went on a strike that lasted about two weeks.