CWA rallies Texas AT&T workers

On the eve of contract negotiations that begin Tuesday, the Communications Worker of America Local 6139 held a public rally in Beaumont, Texas on Monday evening to mark the start of its contract bargaining period with AT&T in the Southwest.  Participating union members were required to wear red shirts. Guess there aren't really Trekkies in that bunch.

Around 400 affected AT&T employees in southeast Texas have a labor agreement that expires April 4. Union officials speaking to the local media took pains to say they hope that negotiations will not go beyond the deadline, but if they do, they have various options available other than a strike. The bargaining committee could continue negotiations beyond the deadline and use a rolling contract until an agreement is reached, or it could even work without a contract as a "less popular option."

In 2004, a four-day strike occurred after negotiations went on for nearly six weeks past the deadline.

Issues the union intends to discuss include job security, health care and outside contracting. 

For its part, AT&T notes it has worked to change some contract positions back into union jobs. An AT&T spokesperson said the company expects negotiations to be a "cordial process" with both parties reaching a good-faith agreement that is fair to employees and "allows the company the flexibility it needs to compete in today's environment," said Sharp.

For more:
- Beaumont Enterprise article.

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