More than 20,000 AT&T workers in California, Nevada and Connecticut started two-day strikes Tuesday, while representatives for workers in Louisiana and eight other Southeastern states reached a handshake deal on a new labor contract with the company.
AT&T workers in California, Nevada and Connecticut were protesting what the union called harassment by the company.
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.
Unlike a bargaining strike of indefinite duration, this one is limited but extendable, Sayre said.
AT&T spokesman Marty Richter said the company has been “negotiating in good faith.”
The workers are on the landline side of the company. Richter said the company was well prepared to handle the disruption.
The contracts expired in April, and negotiations have been going on since February.
On Monday, AT&T reached a tentative agreement with CWA’s Southeast district. It covers former BellSouth territory and 22,000 landline workers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
AT&T also reached handshakes on tentative agreements with the CWA on two other smaller Southeast regional agreements covering AT&T Billing Southeast and Southeast Utility Operations.
The three-year agreements include wage increases in each year and modest pension increases, AT&T said.
The agreements come on the heels of tentative agreements AT&T reached July 21 in contract negotiations for the AT&T Midwest region and AT&T Corp. Those agreements cover 18,700 wireline workers.
In addition, AT&T Midwest on July 13 announced an agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on a one-year contract extension covering nearly 7,000 wireline employees.
In total AT&T said it has reached agreements covering nearly 48,000 wireline employees.