Hundreds of AT&T Union Members Sent Home Without Pay

Wore anti-AT&T t-shirts as a protest

AT&T's contract with the Communications Workers of America Local 1298 expired in April, and the union's not happy about management's approach during negotiations.

So, hundreds of union members went to work wearing t-shirts saying "prisoner of AT&T".

"They gave us the option to take 'em off or go home, suspended for a day," said Mike Duffy, an installation repair technician in Danbury. "I didn't have another shirt, so we went home."

Duffy's union leaders figure more than two hundred workers were suspended, out of a thousand union workers who wore the shirts.  They threaten to file a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board over arbitrary suspensions.

"I was amazed," said Bill Henderson, the local president. "How can they say that one job should be sent home and the other job shouldn't?"

What he's really worried about is AT&T sending jobs away, out of Connecticut.  Over the last two years it's moved twelve hundred union jobs to the Midwest, he says.

In a statement, AT&T spokesman Walt Sharp said "We do not believe dress disparaging the company is appropriate for someone representing the company."  If workers wore the shirts to jobs in call centers where they don't face customers there would be no problem, he said.

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