Some 17000 go on strike against AT&T in California, Nevada

Telecommunications giant AT&T has broken federal law by unilaterally forcing technicians to do work outside their areas of expertise, according to the union representing 17,000 workers in California and Nevada who walked off the job Wednesday.

AT&T said it has hired 20,000 people into union-represented jobs in 2016 and has openings to fill more than 4,200 other union jobs. The union is also filing an unfair labor charge with the National Labor Relations Board over the issue.

The California and Nevada workers "are some of the most highly paid union-represented employees in the company, and that will not change", AT&T also said. The wireless workers are calling for an "end to offshoring and outsourcing".

The above photos show workers picketing a Rohnert Park call center and Santa Rosa during the first morning of the strike.

The workers are customer service representatives and technicians and they're picking call centers and offices in the two states. "We're the only major wireless company with a unionized workforce".

" He average AT&T core network technician in this contract makes almost $150,000 in wages and benefits", Maviglio said.

Additionally, the spokesman indicated the carrier is not proposing a reduction in wages for any employees as part of the contract negotiations and remains "committed to providing great benefits".

Unionized workers who are part of the Communications Workers of America, District 9 haven't had a contract for nearly a year, reports the Los Angeles Times.

AT&T brought in $42 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter of a year ago, the union noted.

Union members are also upset by the closure of AT&T's USA call centers in favor of hiring overseas workers, and the erosion of health benefits.

"Despite the financial success, the company is asking its workers to do more for less - keeping them from their families with unpredictable overtime, undercutting pay and advancement, offshoring good jobs, and pushing more health care costs onto employees", the union said. The strike involves landline employees and not any employees from the mobile phone division, the company said.

"A walkout is not in anybody's best interest", AT&T spokesperson Marty Richter said, but the company is "very prepared to continue serving customers" despite the strike.

  • Santos West