Why I May Strike At AT&T

Any day now I could go on strike at AT&T with 21,000 of my union brothers and sisters. As a single mother of four children, walking off the job is not an easy decision. But I am prepared to do it.

I’ve worked the past 13 years at AT&T, yet my future at this company is unclear. AT&T keeps sending our jobs to third-party retailers, where workers make even less and don’t have union protections like my coworkers and me. My co-workers at AT&T call centers worry more of their jobs will be sent overseas. It feels like the company is trying to send a message that they don’t need us.

There is no work-life balance. Management is constantly changing our schedules — as if we’re robots! — to benefit the company’s bottom line, not the workers who make AT&T more than $1 billion each month. I leave 45 minutes early every day just to make sure I’m not penalized for even a second of late attendance, which can result in “points” on my record that could ultimately jeopardize my job. Working at AT&T means I miss a lot. I missed my daughter’s talent show. My son is in the school band, and I would have missed him performing in the Memorial Day parade if it wasn’t for a rain delay.

CEO Randall Stephenson made $28.4 million last year, while he cut our commissions, which meant I took home less pay than the year before.

I want the CEO to know that even though my budget is as tight as it is, I’m saving money, stocking up on groceries, and making a plan if we go on strike. I hope he will think about the thousands who work for him and how he would want to be treated if he were in our shoes. Maybe then he would stop trying to take from us, stop trying to make the lives of the people who make him those millions worse, and start treating us like human beings.

If we strike, we’re following in the footsteps of our brothers and sisters at Verizon who last year went on strike for 49 days and won big improvements for themselves and their families. It sent a message that corporate giants can be beat if working people stick together.

I want to set an example for my kids and show them why I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure they have a good life. I’m telling them that this fight isn’t just about our family — it’s about the 21,000 other people and their families also trying to make a living. There is too much on the table for us to sit back and let the company take advantage of us.

Cindi Chesters
Sales Support Representative, Shelton, CT