Negotiations Begin For More Than 13,000 CWA-Represented AT&T Workers
With CWA’s District 9 contract with AT&T West set to expire on April 4, CWA members are ready to fight for their fair share of record-breaking profits
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San Ramon, CA -- As contract bargaining opened today for more than 13,000 AT&T West workers, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) bargaining team urged AT&T to negotiate an improved contract that includes wage increases, benefit protections and a commitment to keeping good, family-supporting jobs in the region. The current contract expires on April 4, 2020, and covers wireline technicians and customer service representatives in California and Nevada. The start of bargaining kicked off today with informational pickets throughout California, please see photos below.
In January, as part of the company’s Q4 earnings report, AT&T announced record operating and free cash flow of $48.7 billion, up nearly 12 percent for 2019, and more than $5 billion in stock buybacks in the past four months.
Despite record-breaking profits, the company has cut over 37,000 jobs since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) went into effect in 2018, including 4,040 in the fourth quarter of 2019. Capital expenditures declined by more than $1 billion in 2019 as compared to 2018. AT&T workers and union members are confused and discouraged by the company’s broken promises, including the pledge made by AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson to create 7,000 new jobs if President Trump’s corporate tax cuts passed. Stephenson also signed onto a statement as a member of the Business Roundtable committing to invest in employees and support the communities where they live and work.
AT&T and tax cuts
“AT&T West workers built this company and we are proud of AT&T’s historic role in providing universal service, but the company is failing to invest in its network and in the experienced, well-trained, union employees who make that network great,” said CWA District 9 Vice President Frank Arce. “Instead AT&T is spending its billions on buying back its own stock to jack up the price and please large shareholders. We are ready to be part of AT&T’s future, and help build next-generation networks everywhere people need service. It’s time for AT&T to invest in us and our communities.”
AT&T has continued to cater to the demands of controversial vulture hedge fund Elliott Management, which purchased a small stake in AT&T in September 2019. Elliott is pushing AT&T to extract profits from the company by eliminating jobs, outsourcing work, and divesting critical assets.
Elliott has also won a commitment from AT&T to spend $30 billion on stock buybacks, which will drive up its share price to enrich a small group of wealthy investors, leaving fewer resources for building next generation wireless and fiber broadband networks and training workers for the jobs of the future. Credit-rating agency Moody’s has raised concerns that the large cost of the stock buyback plan puts AT&T at risk for a credit downgrade.
CWA-represented AT&T workers from CWA Local 9400 in Santa Rosa, California host informational picket to kick off bargaining for a new contract.
CWA-represented AT&T workers from CWA Local 9504 in Ventura, California host informational picket to kick off bargaining for a new contract.
CWA-represented AT&T workers from CWA Local 9410 in San Mateo, California host informational picket to kick off bargaining for a new contract.
CWA-represented AT&T workers from CWA Local 9400 in Petaluma, California host informational picket to kick off bargaining for a new contract.
CWA-represented AT&T workers from CWA Local 9408 in Fresno, California host informational picket to kick off bargaining for a new contract.
About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents 700,000 working men and women in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, public service and manufacturing.