ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Thousands of AT&T workers say they are officially on strike after the union that represents those employees says the company is participating in unfair labor practices.
"Unfortunately, it is going to affect our customers," says Shane Peterson, president of the Communications Workers of America Local 3205 in Covington. "That's something that we as technicians, service representatives and everybody takes very seriously."
Peterson says talks between the company and the union have stalled. He says the union contract expired Aug. 3.
"At this point in time the company seems to have stalled in our bargaining, not really wanting to bargain in good faith," says Peterson.
Friday night, some 22,000 members in nine states prepared to walk off the job.
"We will not be at work, we will be standing in protest in front of the AT&T work centers that we represent," Peterson told FOX 5 News. "Just asking AT&T to go back to the table and do justice by us."
Jim Kimberly, an AT&T spokesperson, released a statement to FOX 5 which reads:
“A strike would be in no one’s best interest. We’re baffled as to why union leadership would call one when we’re offering terms that would help our employees – some of whom average from $121,000 to $134,000 in total compensation – be even better off.
“You should also know that we have offered the union terms that are consistent with what other CWA-represented employees have approved in recent contract negotiations; the company has reached 20 fair agreements since 2017 covering more than 89,000 employees.
“We’re prepared for a strike and in the event of a work stoppage, we will continue working hard to serve our customers."
"Those are few and far between jobs. Our average technician here makes somewhere between $30,000 and $70,000 a year," says Peterson. "I wish I made that much money every year. Even with overtime, I do not make that much money."
Peterson tells FOX 5 News the last strike was in 1983. It lasted three weeks.