There is growing dissent among California Communications Workers of America against their union leaders’ intransigence and failure to approve a new contract with AT&T.
While every single CWA District and Local in the United States, with the exception of Connecticut and California, has signed a new contract deal with pay increases and generous health care benefits, California AT&T workers are starting to strike back at their own union and demand settlement.
Just this week, more than 20,000 AT&T workers in California, Nevada and Connecticut started two-day strikes Tuesday to protest what the union called harassment by the company. But a number of union members opposed the two day strike and question their union leadership’s action, which cost them two days of pay.
The phone company is negotiating new contracts with the Communications Workers of America. The company is restricting standard bargaining-support activities such as wearing union stickers and buttons, said Libby Sayre, president of the CWA district covering California and Nevada.
The contracts expired in April, and negotiations have been going on since February.
Dallas-based AT&T Inc. is the country’s largest employer of unionized workers. About 140,000 of its 256,000 employees are union members.
California AT&T workers are quietly saying they don’t care about the ‘sticker issue’ raised by CWA District 9 President Libby Sayre and are pushing back at union leadership and demanding an immediate conclusion to contract negotiations with AT&T.
“We are at odds with our own union leadership, not with AT&T,” one worker, requesting anonymity, said. “The deal that was accepted by AT&T workers in other states is a good one and we want it here, too.”
The growing dissent by CWA workers against their leadership was visible in northern California this week as a number of members protested the two day strike and instead held signs protesting against CWA’s leadership, holding signs that read: “Our Union Has Us Striking Over a Stupid Sticker!” and “We Just Lost 2 Days Pay: Thanks CWA.”