Workers Union and AT&T® Reach Agreement on Job Protection

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Job Protection Agreement

In light of the increasing economic insecurity for various service workers, an important union has recently won job protection and increase in pay for almost 20,000 AT&T® wireless workers, and a commitment to bring back outsourced work. This deal comes as President Trump has made clear his intention to keep middle and low skilled jobs inside the country.

The union offered to help make case for the proposed 85 billion acquisition of Time Warner® by AT&T® that is opposed by the Trump Administration. The support of a union that represents numerous working class voters might have proved compelling to AT&T® executives. “We tried to emphasize to the company that we could help you or hurt you,” said Dennis G. Trainor, who is the Vice President of the Communications Workers of America, representing the workers. The workers union has called in mid November for the approval of the acquisition.

Service industries offer the biggest share of American jobs. However, in most of the service fields, particularly in the traditional retail field, employees are finding it much difficult to solve issues like high turnover, low pay, and unpredictable scheduling. Wireless workers of AT&T® had been working without any long-term contract since the month of February. They had staged a strike in May and it lasted only less than three days.

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Under labor accord, that mainly covers employees in retail outlets and call centers, AT&T® would increase the proportion of calls that they route to the call centers in the US, changing a recent trend. AT&T® will also commit to offering new job to workers, in majority of the cases if they close the call center or retail store.

This agreement is subject to verification by the union membership and voting on a local level will be done until January 12. “AT&T® wireless workers’ victory is a watershed moment, for themselves and their families, and for working people across the telecom sector who are fighting to keep good jobs in our communities,” the union’s president, Chris Shelton, said. As per the estimates of the union, AT&T® had cut numerous call center jobs since the year 2011, and has sent most of these jobs overseas.

The union also complained that AT&T® had been constantly shifting work from their retail stores to the authorized retailers, who were not unionized and tended to have low wages and weak benefits.

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