Local AT&T workers join national strike

Hundreds of the striking wirefline technicians, call center representatives, DIRECTV workers and wireless workers from Las Vegas picketed in front of an AT&T wireless store located at 325 N. Nellis Blvd., starting at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon.

CWA union workers for AT&T will be on strike this weekend, but their time on the picket line will be limited - even if there's no new deal in place.

Some 21,000 CWA members who work for AT&T Mobility, the company's wireless division, voted by a 93 percent margin to authorize a strike. "The union wants to empower cell phone store workers to negotiate commissions because at present they are controlled by the company", Richardson said. "Retail workers' take home pay has plummeted in the past year after AT&T unilaterally changed its commission plan".

"The clock is ticking for AT&T to make good on their promise to preserve family-supporting jobs for more than 40,000 workers", CWA District 1 vice president Dennis Trainor said in announcing the ultimatum.

But AT&T is under pressure from Wall Street to cut costs after its recent acquisition of Time Warner Cable for a whopping $85 billion-it also took on huge amounts of that company's debt. A spokesman for AT&T said the strike was "baffling".

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. Additional workers in the wireline business in CT and DirecTV workers in California also plan to walk out, the union said. "We're confident employees will be better off financially in their new contract".

"We're prepared, and we will continue working hard to serve our customers", Phil Hayes, an AT&T representative, said in the statement.

As at most telecommunications companies, AT&T's wireless business is growing faster and is more profitable than its wireline side.

According to the CWA's website the union plans to picket AT&T stores around the country, including one in Austintown, two in Boardman and two in Niles on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.