Speed Reads

on strike

17,000 AT&T workers have gone on strike in California and Nevada

After working without a contract for almost a year, an estimated 17,000 AT&T technicians in California and Nevada went on strike Wednesday.

The workers are union members affiliated with the Communications Workers of America, District 9; they say AT&T is cutting their sick time and disability benefits, making them pay more for health care, and continually asking them to perform the duties of higher-paid employees, the Los Angeles Times reports; the technicians usually install and maintain the U-Verse television service but have been told to also work on the cables and hardware for landline phone services.

"We are hoping to reach an agreement settlement with the company," Sheila Bordeaux, a member of the CWA Local 9003 executive board, told the Times. "They are unilaterally and continually changing the job duties of our premise technicians to do a higher-wage job at a lower rate of pay." A spokesman for AT&T said the company is "union friendly" and "currently negotiating with the union in a good-faith effort to reach a fair labor agreement covering wireline employees" in California and Nevada. The strike does not affect the company's wireless division.