UPDATE: Local AT&T employees join others in southeast strike against unfair labor practices
UPDATE: About 20,000 AT&T workers across nine states are on strike this week. They say AT&T is engaging in unfair labor practices during contract negotiations.
Local union members joined those employees in strikes on Saturday, and came back out Monday. They say their contracts expired August 3, but negotiations started long before that, in June.
"I believe it's just games on the company's part,” Phillip Evans, president of the local Communications Workers of America chapter, said.
Evans says he wants to see AT&T start to play ball in renewal negotiations.
"We're trying to get AT&T to bargain with us at the bargaining table,” he said. “They've been down there for three months and have not gotten anywhere."
For workers like James Knapp, contract negotiations are nothing new. He says in nearly 3 decades in communications, he's only seen a strike like this once before.
"We were all on strike. There was nobody making any money,” Knapp said. “I'd like to not see that happen again."
Evans couldn't go into detail about the contract changes workers want. He says CWA has decision makers ready to go, if AT&T will work with them.
"We're serious that we're going to do whatever it takes to get a contract,” he said.
According to AT&T, the company has reached contract agreements for nearly 90,000 employees since 2017. Knapp hopes he'll become one of them soon, so he can get back to work.
"If we can get them to negotiate in a timely fashion, we can help or support our families and keep the lights on,” he said.
Until then, he says he won't be discouraged as he waits for a new and fair contract to come his way.
"Support is high. Morale is high, so we're willing to stay here even in the pouring rain,” he said.
In a statement on Monday to Channel 3, AT&T says a strike isn't in anyone's best interest. They say they remain ready to sit down with union leaders to negotiate new, improved contracts for employees.
PREVIOUS STORY: More than 20,000 AT&T employees across the southeast are on strike.
The Communications Workers of America is accusing AT&T of unfair labor practices during the process of negotiating for a new contract.
Union officials say the major issues are job security and a steady rise in healthcare costs.
AT&T officials say they were blindsided by the strike, but the business will continue to go on as usual.
These are the states they are protesting at:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina