Busloads of Texas CWA members head to Dallas for AT&T meet

Hundreds of CWA members from all over District 6, and some from even further away, are making the trek to Dallas by bus and van, to arrive Friday May 1st, for AT&T's annual shareholder meeting. Members will leaflet outside the meeting, calling attention to the company's demand for huge health care cost shifting and other proposals that will cut workers' standard of living, despite the company's $12.9 billion profit in 2008.

Inside the meeting, CWA District 6 Vice President Andy Milburn will address company executives and shareholders and ask why the company's biggest asset – its employees – are being treated so poorly at the bargaining table.

AT&T's positive financial outlook continued into the first quarter of 2009, with analysts and the company's own executives agreeing that its $3 billion profit beat expectations because of strong growth in video, data

services and wireless, all part of the integrated network supported by CWA members. 'For this economy, it was an outstanding performance,' one analyst said.

'This week's earnings report reinforces the fact that AT&T is well-positioned to lead the telecommunications industry into the future digital age,' CWA President Larry Cohen said. 'AT&T also is well-positioned to help move our nation out of economic crisis and back into prosperity. If successful companies like AT&T don't step up in this economic recession, and instead hide behind it to force more cost shifting to workers, how will our economy recover?' AT&T's demands would double and triple health care costs for some workers.

CWA contracts covering nearly 100,000 workers at AT&T expired April 5 and members have voted to authorize a strike if there is not significant movement at the bargaining tables.

Milburn criticized AT&T for 'dragging its feet in bargaining, its ridiculous take back demands and its comparing AT&T, a company that made $3 billion this first quarter of 2009, to the troubled auto companies. Tomorrow they will hear from the people who build and maintain this network, the people whose work enables this company to move ahead into even newer technologies.' Mark Franken, CWA District 6 administrative director for organizing, said at least 500 CWAers will be rallying outside the meeting, with some planning to go inside and participate.