AT&T reported first quarter profits of $3.3 billion—yet the company is trying to cut quality jobs, wages and benefits with the more than 100,000 union workers who are behind the giant telecom’s success.
“We Are The Network,” a report released today by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), shows AT&T outperforming its competitors, and its stock is beating the Dow Jones average. Analysts are optimistic about the company’s future growth prospects, as it continues to introduce new technologies and bring together its customers’ voice, broadband, video and wireless services.
AT&T wants to shift more health care costs to employees—a move that will save only a fraction of 1 percent of operating costs and one that has a great cost to AT&T in terms of employee morale, according to the union. Such a move would lower workers’ standard of living at a time when the company posted a $3 billion profit, says CWA, which represents the workers.
According to the report:
On the eve of the company’s annual meeting set to begin tomorrow, thousands of CWA members will participate in an unprecedented demonstration of unity and support in the union’s largest-ever membership meeting. During the 30-minute online meeting, video streamed over the Internet at www.cwaunion.tv at 9 p.m. EDT, CWA members will get an update on negotiations, hear field reports on mobilization and learn what else can be done to support the bargaining team.
The workers are still on the job at AT&T across the nation, even though their contracts with the telecommunications giant expired earlier this month with many key issues not resolved.
The union says the contracts will not be extended. Workers are keeping open their option to strike. The AT&T workers recently voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if a fair contract isn’t reached.
Several CWA districts have filed unfair labor practices charges with the National Labor Relations Board, saying AT&T has refused to provide the information necessary to resolve many outstanding issues.
CWA Executive Vice President Annie Hill sums up the situation this way:
AT&T is very successful and profitable, even in these bad economic times. That makes it all the more difficult to understand why AT&T is demanding that workers take on even more health care costs than they already pay. This company takes care of executives and investors. It needs to set the right priorities and maintain quality jobs and quality benefits for workers.