AT&T workers strike across nine states over unfair labor practices

Anyone looking for AT&T customer service may have to wait a bit longer than normal to get a technician on the line after more than 20,000 workers in the Southeast went on strike and took to the streets over contract negotiations.

The Communications Workers of America union filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging AT&T didn’t come to the bargaining table with the ability to make any decisions during negotiations aimed a securing a new contract.

"Our talks have stalled because it has become clear that AT&T has not sent negotiators who have the power to make decisions so we can move forward toward a new contract," District-3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt said in a statement.

The union’s previous agreement expired earlier this month.

AT&T released a statement claiming they’re “baffled” the union chose to tell workers to strike.

“A strike would be in no one’s best interest. We’re baffled as to why union leadership would call one when we’re offering terms that would help our employees – some of whom average from $121,000 to $134,000 in total compensation – be even better off.”

The company said they’re prepared for a “work stoppage.”

Workers walked out from a variety of positions, including technicians and customer service representatives who keep the telecom company operational.

Here are the states where workers are striking:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

The strike began midnight Friday. The Dallas-based company commands a revenue of about $170 billion a year.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports changes in technology will likely allow the company’s day-to-day operations to “continue smoothly.”