Nationwide, tens of thousands of members of the Communications Workers of America at AT&T, including some in Rohnert Park, walked off their jobs Friday, May 19. This strike started at noon Friday, and ended at 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 21.
AT&T workers in Rohnert Park were joining the nationwide strike to show solidarity with their colleagues and try to bring an end to the 14 month stretch of time that they’ve been working without a new contract.
The renegotiation process started April 9, 2016, with the new terms currently causing the impasse including health benefits for all workers, and commissions for AT&T wireless store employees. Currently, commissions are controlled by the company, and the union wants to make certain that cellphone store workers have a chance to negotiate this, because though retail workers aren’t union the CWA will stand behind all workers at AT&T.
Jan Godoski, the CWA Shop Steward for district 9 who works in the Rohnert Park based call center, was one of the workers joining the strike on Commerce Boulevard. He remarked that though this strike would inconvenience customers over the weekend, he was buoyed by the fact that passerby came over to talk with them and drivers on the nearby freeway would honk and wave in support. When asked about what they were looking for with this strike, he replied, “Well, you know, an unnamed executive makes $24,000 an hour – 28.4 million a year. We’re looking for a fair wage, a good health plan, a good retirement plan; we’d just like a fair shake.”
He also commented that though the workers felt terrible about inconveniencing the customers, they feel that they’ve run out of ways to solve this negotiation roadblock and striking was the best option to show that they’re serious about coming to an agreement. He added, “There are other issues, of course, like the move in the past four years toward outsourcing. That frustrates customers, too and when calls get escalated, we at the Rohnert Park call center are the ones fixing the mess.” When asked what it would take to make certain the strike ended as planned Monday, he stated, “If the Union is satisfied that the company will continue the negotiations in good faith, then we can continue working.”