Local AT&T workers could strike - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/30/09

Local AT&T workers could strike

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - More than 300, local AT&T workers could strike if union negotiators cannot reach a contract agreement with the company. Both sides tell NewsChannel 11 that's the last thing they want to happen, but time is running out. The current contract expires Saturday at midnight.

About 350 workers could be affected. They're members of AT&T's land line crew. That means they're the folks you see out in the bucket trucks, working on the lines. The Communication Workers of America say the major sticking point seems to be healthcare.

Local CWA Local 6203 President David Patton says the union has been bargaining for five weeks without any agreement. "We're just trying to reach a fair and just contract for the employees, and hopefully there won't be any kind of work stoppage on April the 4th," Patton said. 

We also spoke with AT&T Corporate Spokesman Walt Sharp. He tells us negotiations do continue. He says the company is looking at more market based health plans. Those would require workers to pay more of their health costs. Sharp says he's optimist both sides will come to an agreement.

Just because the contract ends on Saturday, doesn't mean workers will strike at that time. They could extend their contract, or work without a contract until an agreement is reached.

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