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May 19, 2017

AT&T wireless workers go on strike in Philly, across nation

Business Labor
08192017_ATT_Strike_Philly Staff photo/PhillyVoice

Striking workers picket on Friday afternoon outside the AT&T wireless store at 15th and Walnut streets in Center City Philadelphia.

AT&T workers went on strike Friday in Philadelphia and other cities in Pennsylvania to protest the company's failure to negotiate in good faith a new contract.

The three-day strike will last through the weekend, according to the workers' union, the Communications Workers of America. The strike at the nation's largest wireless carrier includes thousands of workers in Pennsylvania and tens of thousands nationwide and follows a warning the union gave the company on Wednesday.

More than a dozen employees began their protest at 3 p.m. outside the AT&T wireless store at 1501 Walnut St. in Center City. The held signs reading "On Strike" as customers went in and out of the store and pedestrians walked by.

According to a statement by the union, the union members walked off the job to protest AT&T's "failure to present serious proposals that invest with good jobs with a future." The company and the union have held contract negotiations for nearly four months of bargaining, according to the statement, which said workers are fighting for wage increases to cover rising healthcare costs, basic job security, affordable healthcare, and a fair scheduling policy.

In an earlier statement, AT&T said it was "baffling" that the union might call a strike considering "we're offering terms in which their members – some of whom average $115,000 to $148,000 in total compensation – will be better off financially."

The company had said it was prepared for a strike; CWA contracts represent less than 14 percent of its employees, the company said.