AT&T workers spread over 36 states are threatening to go on strike if they do not reach an agreement with the carrier by Friday. The workers who maintain they have operated without contracts since February say they may go on strike at any time negotiations having hit a standstill.
AT&T Workers Demand
The Communications Workers of America union which represents a good majority of the workers has already filed an unfair labor practice complaint with federal regulators.
“Going on strike is a decision that is not made lightly,” the CWA said in a message distributed to the workers. “Your bargaining team has worked countless hours to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement, but this company is refusing to budge on the issues that matter the most to us,” said the union in a statement.
The workers are pushing for a bigger wage increase that appears to have spooked AT&T that is pushing for a 2% annual raise. Workers also want the carrier to end its policy of increasing worker health care contributions as well as guarantee tighter job security.
Amidst the strike warnings, AT&T in a statement has said it is working with the union to reach an amicable solution in a bid of averting the possibility strike. However, the company has not ruled out the possibility of a strike happening reiterating that it will work to ensure that customers continue to enjoy their services regardless of the outcome.
Spiraling Costs Concerns
The latest standoff adds to yet another standoff pitying 17,000 workers in the telephone, cable and internet business in California. The workers who went on strike last month have since resorted to holding large protest rallies.
The current labor standoffs mark the first time that AT&T has found itself in hot water with employees since 2012. However the same is a reflection of the tense environment in the telecommunication sector Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) having been forced to approve higher pat and better job security last year.
AT&T reluctance to agree to pay hikes does not come as a surprise given that it is under immense pressure from Wall Street to shore up earnings. Slow growth in the recent past compounded by stiff competition from the likes of T-Mobile US Inc. (NASDAQ:TMUS) has forced the company to resort to cost cutting initiatives as a way of bolstering its bottom line.
AT&T stock was down by 1.04% in Tuesday trading session ending the day at lows of $38.19 a share