AT&T West employees threaten strike amidst negotiations

Wireline employees of AT&T (NYSE: T) West in California and Nevada represented by the Communications Workers of America are still working--despite being unable to hash out a new labor agreement with the telco last week--as union leaders debate whether or not to strike.

The two sides returned to the negotiating table on Monday, Southern California Public Radio reports, but the 18,000 workers and CWA leaders said they will decide on a day-to-day basis whether to strike.

Last Thursday, AT&T West and the CWA were not able to ratify a three-year agreement. Earlier, AT&T struck a tentative agreement with the CWA District 9 for wireline workers in the telco's West region.

AT&T's proposed contract would have given CWA workers annual wage and pension increases.

However, T Santora, president of an L.A.-based union under CWA, told Southern California Public Radio that "the wages for U-verse employees would not match what Verizon pays its workers."

Santora added that if the workers decide to strike, it will lead to longer repair and installation times for U-verse TV, broadband and PSTN services.

AT&T said that if a strike does occur it has a "contingency workforce of well-trained managers and vendors."

Relations between AT&T and its Western employees have been strained. AT&T's California and Nevada regions walked off the job in a one-day protest over what they said were unreasonable contract demands last June.

For more:
- Southern California Public Radio has this article

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AT&T West, CWA workers lock horns on 3-year contract
AT&T, CWA District 9 reach tentative agreement
CWA District 6 members last month rejected a tentative agreement
AT&T reached an agreement with CWA Midwest workers last summer
AT&T wireline union workers protest in California, Nevada