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article imageAT and T Strike Possible

By Rhonda Straw     Apr 5, 2009 in Business
A T & T and the Communications Workers of America, are continuing talks well past the deadline. The possibility of a strike is ahead.
The large communications company, A T & T, is not in agreement with the Communications Workers of America Union. The contract expires after midnight tonight, and agreement has not been reached. The Communications Workers of America affects 125,000 employees nationwide. Marty Richter, spokesman for A T & T said, earlier a strike was not expected. The expectations A T & T are asking their workers are as follows:
AT&T is asking union workers to pay a greater portion of their health insurance costs. Richter said it needs the concessions because its landline business is losing revenue as consumers increasingly use cell phones and as more competition from cable companies hits the market.
The main issue, is infact, health care. Here are the numbers: The company spends $5.5 billion dollars to subsidize health care to 1.2 million people. This includes workers, retirees, and dependents. Other issues include wages, pensions,and work rules.
Discussions are expected to continue throughout the night, with each region ending at different times. The regions are in the Midwest, Southwest, and West. The cities are New Haven, Conn.; Oakton, Va.; the Chicago area; Austin, Texas; and San Francisco. In the Southwest, the contract does not expire until August, so they cannot go on strike at midnight.
The Midwestern workers said the company was offering "modest wage increases that would likely have our standard of living move backward over the life of the contract." AT&T also wants to reduce the value of lump-sum pension payments and eliminate the pension for new workers.
In Springfield, MO, 80 employees have already begun to picket. They are fighting to keep their benefits, as they are.
"My job is a service representative. I take calls all day long, trouble shoot problems for people," says AT&T employee Bryan Mycoff. He supports a family of five. "We just had a newborn a couple weeks ago, so insurance is definitely a priority," Mycoff says. He and his co-workers are picketing because they don't want to lose the benefits they have, like health insurance.
"They're wanting to increase copays, premiums, take health care away from retirees," says CWA Local 6301 President Sandy Grogan. About eighty AT&T employees who work in downtown Springfield, and are members of the Communication Workers of America union, were picketing against those possible cuts Saturday afternoon. "If it's because of the economy, I can certainly understand it," Grogan says.
The union contract in Springfield, Missouri, is being negotiated in Austin, Texas, and reportedly, the talks are not going where they should be. After midnight tonight, the employees can go on working without a contract, or go on strike. If they go on strike, employees choosing to work, will have to cross a picket line. Some employees, on Friday, were seen taking their personal belongings from their desk, when they left work.
A T & T assurs that phone service will not be effected. The last A T and T strike was five years ago.
More about Customer service, Union, Phone, Communication, Strike
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