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South Florida union members go on strike at AT&T. How will this affect your service?

Dan Long from the Communications Workers of America Local 13000 shares some stories during the Raise the Wage rally outside of the Centre County Courthouse in Philadelphia in this file photo from June 17, 2019.
Dan Long from the Communications Workers of America Local 13000 shares some stories during the Raise the Wage rally outside of the Centre County Courthouse in Philadelphia in this file photo from June 17, 2019. adrey@centredaily.com

Three South Florida-area Communication Workers of America unions announced a strike against AT&T on Thursday.

CWA Local 3121 in Hialeah, CWA Local 3120 in Broward and CWA Local 3122, which covers North Miami Beach to Key West, cited “unfair labor practices” by the telecommunications giant.

The local unions cite “threats of discipline and prevention of concerted work activities across their membership” as reason for striking. The strike began at 7 a.m. Thursday.

The unions did not respond to a request for comment from the Miami Herald.

AT&T said it was prepared for the strike and took measures to ensure interruptions in areas like service call appointments and installations would be minimized for its customers.

“We’re aware of some localized walkouts at a number of locations in South Florida. This involves some wireline employees — it does not involve Mobility (wireless) employees,” said Kelly Layne Starling, a spokeswoman for AT&T.

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“A walkout like this is in no one’s best interest and it’s unfortunate union leadership chose to do this. We’re prepared, and will continue working hard to serve our customers,” Starling said. “The company has systematically and thoroughly planned for a potential work stoppage and has a substantial contingency workforce of well-trained managers and vendors in place.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration protects your right to a safe and healthy workplace. Learn how you can file a complaint if you believe your workplace is dangerous.

“We remain committed to reaching a fair agreement, and we’re offering terms in which our employees in this contract — some of whom average from $121,000 to $134,000 in total compensation — will be even better off,” Starling said in her email to the Herald.

“We’ve reached, and union-represented employees have voted to ratify, 20 agreements since the beginning of 2017, collectively covering about 89,000 employees. That includes two wireline contracts that CWA-represented employees ratified earlier this month, each with about 65% of union members approving,” Starling said.

“We look forward to doing the same here.”

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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