April 8, 2012- On Sunday, 40,000 AT&T union workers could have gone on strike. However, the landline employees and their union representatives decided to stay on the job without having a new contract in place. The contract for the workers expired as of midnight Sunday, increasing the possibility of a strike. Nevertheless, AT&T and the Communications Workers of America agreed to keep the negotiations ongoing to reach a new accord.
Union representatives spoke with AT&T on Sunday about continuing to work while the negotiation process continued. Temporarily the employees will continue with the same rate of pay and benefits they were receiving prior to the expiration of the contract. If the negotiations do not result in a new agreement, then the workers still have the right to walkout.
The two sides are trying to agree upon issues with heath care costs and co-payments and about job protection. AT&T wants the employees to pay additional money for the increasing costs of health care. It also wants to have more leeway in downsizing its operations in landlines. Currently some of the union workers have contracts guaranteeing them new jobs in different sectors of AT&T if they are laid off where they are presently working.
Union members have an issue with AT&T wanting to cut costs even though the company recently announced a 2011 profit of over $4 billion.
This same circumstance took place three years ago when the contract at that time expired. The two sides however, reached a new agreement and averted a strike.