The Communications Workers of America union says that up to 40,000 AT&T workers have started walking off the job over contract fights with the phone company.
They'll return to work Monday.
That includes 21,000 workers on the wireless side of the company, which the union says raises the prospect that some cellphone stores could be closed this weekend in Washington, D.C., or one of the 36 states affected.
Wireless workers want wage increases that cover higher health care costs, better scheduling and promises from the company to not cut jobs.
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Some 17,000 other potential protesters come from AT&T's home phone, internet and cable division in California, Nevada and Connecticut. Another 2,000 are DirecTV workers in California and Nevada.
Dallas-based AT&T says it has a contingency workforce" ready in preparation for the walkouts.
A spokesman for AT&T released the following statement to NBC 5:
A strike is in no one’s best interest, and it’s baffling as to why union leadership would call one when we’re offering terms in which our employees in these contracts – some of whom average from $115,000 to $148,000 in total compensation – will be better off financially.
We’re prepared, and we will continue working hard to serve our customers. This involves less than 14 percent of our employees.
What’s most important is we’re all family, whether you’re a union member or not. Like any family we have our disagreements but we’ll sort them out. We’ve reached 29 fair agreements since 2015 covering over 128,000 of our employees, and we’re confident we can do the same here.