AT&T this weekend extended a contract for some 21,000 mobility workers in 36 states in light of ongoing negotiations with the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
AT&T said the temporary extension covers its “Mobility Orange Unit,” which encompasses CWA Districts 1, 2-13, 4, 7, and 9.
The move comes as AT&T and union leaders aim to hash out the details of a new contract even after the passage of the Feb. 11 expiration deadline on the old agreement. Workers covered under the Orange contract voted last week to authorize a strike should one become necessary.
In its own press release, CWA was quick to point out that the contract extension can be terminated with 72 hours’ notice, and said workers will continue bargaining with the expectation that “AT&T executives will come to the table with good faith proposals.” In particular, the union said workers are looking for a “fair contract that ends offshoring and outsourcing and supports high quality customer service.”
“It is a righteous fight that we are proud to support,” Dennis Trainor, vice president of CWA District 1, commented. “Workers are making it clear and uniting together as one movement—we won’t rest until AT&T stops outsourcing and offshoring thousands of call center, retail, and technician jobs in communities and cities across the country.”
Several members of Congress also chimed in at the end of last week via a press release from CWA.
“(AT&T) workers are being asked to swallow significant benefit cuts, and have their paid leave days cut. That’s not what a leading, profitable U.S. company does,” Reps. Mark Pocan (WI), Jan Schakowsky (IL), and Donald Norcross (NJ) said in a statement. “We hope that all sides will bargain in good faith and that an equitable outcome for these workers is achieved.”
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) also urged “AT&T and the Communications Workers of America to reach an agreement that will keep jobs in the U.S. and ensure customers continue to receive the same standards of service.”
AT&T, though, seems confident a deal will be reached before a Verizon-esque strike happens.
The carrier in its press release pointed to the negotiation of 17 different labor agreements in 2016 and 2017, including 16 that have already been ratified.