CWA sues AT&T over contract weaseling

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The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has sued AT&T to stop "the company's use of corporate shell games to avoid contractual obligations" to union members.

Filed in U.S. District Court in San Antonio, CWA says the telecommunications company is using recent corporate reorganizations to get out of contractual obligations on employee wages, benefits, seniority and working conditions.  The mergers have allowed the new AT&T, Inc. company - made up of the old SBC, Ameritech, Bell South, Pacific Telesis and former parent AT&T Corp, -- to dump old business units, shuffle workers, and change benefits promised to workers under contracts the old companies had with the union.

CWA represents about 180,000 of AT&T's 310,000 workers. In the lawsuit, CWA is asking the court for injunctions to force AT&T to honor its obligations under collective bargaining agreements and to force the company to recognize all subsidiaries' existing union contracts.

AT&T says many of the allegations are inaccurate, and it respects all of its union contracts and adheres to their terms.  The company plans to mount an "aggressive defense" against the lawsuit.

Relations between AT&T and CWA are described as "largely friendly," despite a 2004 four-day walkout staged against SBC.

For more:
- My San Antonio reports on CWA lawsuit against AT&T. Post.

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