As the dust is settling on our historic strike, some things are coming into view clearly.
It is crystal clear that management was absolutely stunned that so many people went on strike to demand a fair contract (special props to our great mobilizers and picket captains who did great work maintaining those picket line).
AT&T underestimated the anger we all feel as our commissions checks have declined, as our jobs have become more insecure, and as more and more work is being offshored. We have every reason to be angry, especially as the top executives give themselves huge pay increases at our expense.
We have clear plan to negotiate a contract we can all be proud of. The company now knows we are capable of launching an effective strike. It is dawning on them that their arrogance is now coming back to haunt them.
Our lawyers have been filing many Unfair Labor Practice Charges (ULPs) against the company at the National Labor Relations Board. We have accused the company of failing to provide necessary information to the union during bargaining, of making illegal threats to members during and after the strike, and perhaps most important, we have filed a ULP because management has unilaterally changed our commissions without bargaining. And the last point is critical. It is illegal for AT&T to make any changes unilaterally to any of our “terms or conditions” of employment without bargaining. In many ways, this puts us in the driver’s seat during this period.
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Each day that passes, it is harder and harder for the company to operate in this ever-changing industry without having the ability to make certain changes. And so as we bargain, time is on OUR side. Each day without a contract brings more pressure on the company. In addition, we are waiting for all the ULP charges to be investigated by the labor board. Once they conclude the investigation, we believe complaints will be issued by the government against AT&T. Again, more pressure.
And of course, nothing prevents us from calling another strike. More pressure.
Management knows all this, and they have tried desperately to break our unity; recently, they have encouraged people to resign from the union. And you know what happened after they starting this campaign? We saw something unprecedented: Right after the strike, more and more Mobility employees have joined the union instead!
We will soon be announcing more mobilizing activities which will further pressure this greedy company to begin bargaining fairly. Keep in close contact with your mobilizers, your stewards, picket captains, and local officers.
Getting any contract is easy. Getting a contract we deserve will take unity and mobilization. Keep up the great work, and know that we have a plan, we are following the plan, and the company must come to their senses and begin to address our issues at the bargaining table.
Dennis G. Trainor
CWA District 1 Vice President