About 37,000 AT&T Inc workers, or less than 14 percent of the company's total workforce, began a three-day strike on Friday after failing to reach an agreement with the No. 2 USA wireless carrier over new contracts.
A union representing 40,000 AT&T Mobility workers is threatening a nationwide strike this weekend after negotiations with the telco stalled.
This is the first time AT&T wireless workers have gone on strike - and a key sticking point in the contract is the company's insistence on outsourcing jobs, the union said.
This weekend's strike comes almost two months after 17,000 AT&T workers in Nevada and California walked off the job.
The strikers include as many as 21,000 AT&T wireless workers, including those manning retail stores.
"Dallas-based AT&T says it has a contingency workforce" ready in preparation for the walkouts.
After workers began the strike, Clare Rose notified both the union and the workers individually that they would be permanently replaced - although the company has maintained the workers were not dismissed, but left in an illegal job action. "We are what help make AT&T the company that it is and, I think, that will get our message across", said Travis Daniel, picketer.
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AT&T has proposed to cut sick time and force long-time workers to pay hundreds of dollars more for basic healthcare, according to CWA.
In Boardman, about 100 workers stood in front of the call center on South Avenue. If an agreement can't be reached quickly, retail stores in several states will likely shut down this weekend as well.
AT&T workers went on strike Friday in Philadelphia and other cities in Pennsylvania to protest the company's failure to negotiate in good faith a new contract.
"This is a warning to AT&T: there's only one way out of this now - a fair contract".
Last year, CWA members at Verizon were on strike for 49 days, finally gaining a contract with greater job protections and winning 1,300 new call center jobs.
The Unionized workers who are part of the Communications Workers of America, District 9 returned to work a short time later.
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