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AT&T employees rally at busy Auburn intersection

Company officials say workers are well-compensated
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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AT&T employees rallied at the corner of Highway 49 and Bell Road Monday night, hoping to make a statement. They are currently in labor negotiations with the company and didn?t reach an agreement when their last contract expired April 7. Currently, they are working under the terms of their old one. Michael Davis, president of the Communications Workers of America Local 9431, says the 200 wireline employees the union represents are unhappy with the terms the company has offered. Marty Richter, spokesperson for AT&T says employees are well compensated and the company is committed to working with the union. Davis said all of the items the company has proposed are what they deem ?take-backs? or ?retrograde.? He said the wage increases are less than half a percent a year, there is a proposed 38 percent rise in medical costs and the overtime schedule has been changed. He said employees are sometimes told the day of that they will work overtime schedules and may no longer get premium pay for working on Sundays. ?This is our second week of what we are calling our rush hour rallies,? Davis said. ?All the proposals that the company has placed on the table are what we call retrograde.? Davis said if changes are not made to the proposals the workers, including a total of 18,000 AT&T workers on the west coast, may strike. Richter said the average wireline, or landline, worker pays 60 percent less for healthcare coverage than other AT&T union employees, AT&T managers and the national average. He said call center representatives covered under the current agreement make an average of $67,000 per year and $40,000 a year in benefits, while network technician make an average of $90,000 per year and $43,000 in benefits. Both are considered wireline workers. ?We?re committed to working together with the union to bargain a contract that will allow us to continue to provide and protect high quality middle class careers for our employees, with wages and benefits that are among the best in the country,? Richter said Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News.