First Day of SBC Strike - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/21/04

First Day of SBC Strike

400 union workers marched out of their Southwestern Bell Communications jobs and to the streets. SBC Regional Manager David George says they transitioned stand-by workers immediately following the walk out. "To my knowledge we have had no issues or problems with any customers," said George.

But as everything went well inside, still, on the streets, union workers are fighting for healthcare.

"The company last year profited $8.2 billion so it's not a struggling company." Lubbock Communications Workers of America (CWA) Chairman Guy Stewart can not understand why a profitable telephone giant wants its employees to pay more on their health care. "We would be paying $90 to $100 more for our healthcare than what we are paying now," said Stewart.

After weeks, even months of protesting, CWA union workers feel like company moguls are not listening. "SBC, can't we agree!" chanted protesters.

So, a strike began at midnight Friday and carried into the day, all day long. "I'm a little tired but the cause is great and I will keep being here for as long as it takes," said Dequisha Smith, a Union Worker. Smith has worked for SBC for six years. She has a little boy that is three and one on the way. The lowest and fair health care coverage is important to her.

"I'm an SBC customer and I support the strike," said Trevor Smith. "They've worked hard for me, worked hard for their company and they deserve the healthcare they're demanding," he said.

NewsChannel 11 was on hold for 17 minutes before helped on the customer service line. The strike is scheduled to end Tuesday morning. SBC is currently working on another proposal that CWA workers hope is more reasonable than the last.

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