An estimated 17,000 AT&T technicians in California and Nevada went on strike Wednesday, highlighting workplace tensions within the massive Dallas-based telecommunications giant. The strike follows a protracted dispute between AT&T and union members affiliated with the Communications Workers of America, District 9, who have been working without a contract for nearly a year. Workers say they have been increasingly asked to perform the duties of higher-paid employees without the same level of compensation. Union members also have been upset by AT&T's closure of U.S. based call centers, including a facility near Anaheim, to hire workers in overseas locations. They contend that AT&T has moved thousands of call center jobs in recent years to the Philippines, Mexico and other countries.
Telecommunications giant AT&T has reached a tentative agreement with a union representing 17,000 employees, including DirecTV technicians, in California and Nevada. The deal would mark the first time that DirecTV employees have been covered by a union contract, according to the union. AT&T acquired DirecTV, headquartered in El Segundo, in 2015. The tentative four-year agreement, announced late Friday, includes undisclosed pay hikes, job security measures, retirement benefits and "continued affordable healthcare," according to a statement by CWA District 9 Vice President Tom Runnion. Union members had been concerned about rising costs of healthcare as well as the company's move to shift jobs to foreign call centers to save money.