By Paul Gorski
I recently read this article, “IBEW Ratifies Agreement Covering AT&T Wireline Employees,” at http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=24176&cdvn=news&newsarticleid=36413. AT&T is an extremely large communications company, which, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, provides landline (wireline) and wireless phone and Internet services, in addition to voice and cloud services, and a wee bit more.
I knew that AT&T employed union labor, but I didn’t realize how many union jobs AT&T had created. According to the article, AT&T has 83,000 wireline employees represented by Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). That number doesn’t include the wireless employees represented by unions.
Marty Richter, spokesman for AT&T, informs me: “AT&T is the country’s largest employer of full-time union labor, and the only major U.S. wireless company with a union-represented workforce. About 55 percent of our more than 245,000 employees are union-represented.” By my calculations, that means nearly 135,000 union jobs.
Richter added: “We have union-represented employees in a variety of jobs, including network technicians, premises technicians who install our U-verse service, employees in our retail stores, and call center employees. We work diligently with our unions to create competitive contracts that provide solid middle-class careers with excellent wages and benefits for our employees.”
AT&T is one of our nation’s leading communications providers, offering competitive service and pricing on its technology solutions and is very profitable — all this with a large union labor force. This reinforces the point that when labor and business work together, both can be successful.
Disclosure: I do have an AT&T wireless voice product, but I also have technology from Comcast, Verizon Wireless and US Cellular. When I narrow it down to one or two devices, I’ll write about that successful upgrade.
For readers wishing to comment on AT&T wireless service, you may want to first read my column, “Tech-Friendly: Test drive your next smartphone before you buy” (Jan. 9-15, 2013, issue), at: http://rockrivertimes.com/2013/01/09/tech-friendly-test-drive-your-next-smartphone-before-you-buy/. Summary: the quality of your wireless service often depends on the phone you choose as much as the carrier.
Paul Gorski (www.paulgorski.com) has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple IIe.
From the Aug. 28-Sept. 3, 2013, issue