In 2015, on the first day of contract negotiations with AT&T, Vice-President Honeycutt, in his opening statement emphasized two words: responsibility and respect. Four years later, in 2019, we have learned something about respect from AT&T. When we asked for respect from AT&T, one of the things we meant was that the company sent someone to the bargaining table who was there to make a deal - a deal for the benefit of our members and for the company we work for.
Unfortunately, AT&T does not understand respect to mean that they have an obligation to bargain in good faith with CWA. AT&T does not understand that CWA is prepared to bargain and is prepared to make a deal that benefits our members and AT&T. It turns out that for over three months, we have been bargaining with people who do not have the real authority to make proposals or to reach an agreement with us. AT&T has also changed to rules of the game by changing our agreement about how we meet and bargain. As a result, CWA was forced to file unfair labor practice charges against AT&T for bargaining in bad faith.
In response to AT&T's unfair labor practices, more than 20,000 employees walked off the job. The million dollar executives in Dallas, Texas and their so called labor relations experts, who were sent to the bargaining table without the authority to make a decision, all had to find out the hard way what their employees will do when they have been disrespected.
CWA members understand respect. We understand what is fair and what is unfair. We understand what it takes for us to make a deal with AT&T.
Last night, across the entire southeastern part of the United States, Union Halls were packed as CWA members prepared to walk off the job in an unfair labor practice strike against AT&T. This morning, the billion dollar corporation awoke to the sight of more than 20,000 CWA members in red tee shirts standing together in solidarity on picket lines in all nine states across District 3 and tomorrow, due to the company’s failure to send someone to the bargaining table with authority, it’s going to happen all over again!