PORTLAND, Maine — About 65 employees at nine AT&T Wireless stores walked off the job Friday at 3 p.m. in a weekend-long strike, as they enter the fourth month working without a contract.
The Communications Workers of America on Friday announced the start of the 21,000-employee strike across 36 states, in a lingering dispute over outsourcing, wages and health care costs.
Serina DeWolfe, a vice president for the union representing workers in northern New England, said Friday that workers began striking at 3 p.m. at stores in Saco, Scarborough, South Portland, Portland, Windham, Brunswick, Auburn, Ellsworth and Bangor.
“It’s more or less to bring public awareness to the struggles of the middle class and to bring awareness also to the company that we’re going to stand behind our members and the members are going to stand together in solidarity to get a good contract,” DeWolfe said in a telephone interview Friday.
She said the hope is that negotiators can make some progress before Sunday and return to work on Monday.
The employees’ contracts expired Feb. 11, and the union on Wednesday notified the company of the planned strike. The union said it has opposed outsourcing of domestic call center jobs to call centers in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and the Philippines, and closure of retail outlets in favor of selling from authorized dealers staffed by non-union workers.
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