CWA members authorize AT&T strike if contract talks fail

UPDATES:
CWA exec board green-lights strike authorization
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CWA, AT&T 'Far from agreement' on contract negotiations

On Monday, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) announced that its members working at AT&T had voted "overwhelmingly" to authorize a strike if negotiations didn't work out. Contract talks continue for new contracts covering about 112,500 AT&T workers across multiple regions and divisions, with most contracts scheduled to expire on April 4.

AT&T says the strike authorization is "expected and routine" at this stage in time. The company says it is also the nation's largest employer of union labor, for what that's worth.

CWA said, of the members covered by the contracts under discussion who took part in the vote, 88 percent voted in favor of a possible strike. For a strike to take place at any or all of AT&T's operations would require authorization by the union's executive board and a strike date set, so AT&T would get at least one more warning to prepare for the worst should talks not go as planned.

AT&T is seeking concessions on health care in the negotiations, among other things. CWA may not be in the mood to provide much given AT&T's $12.9 billion profit for 2008 and statements by AT&T executives that the company will continue to grow in 2009. The union has conducted several public actions to highlight that contract talks are underway.

For more:
- CWA press release.
- AP's paragraph on the announcement.  Post.

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