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Workers from AT&T gather at the intersection of North Jackson Avenue and West Limestone Street Monday morning to protest unfair labor practices.

AT&T employees protest unfair labor practices

The rain fell and winds blew as workers braved the elements holding “honk if you’re for workers” and “AT&T unfair” signs at the corner of North Jackson Avenue and West Limestone Street in Russellville Monday.

More than 20,000 AT&T telecommunications workers across nine states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee – began protesting Friday after the Communication Workers of America filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board against AT&T for unfair labor practices by management during negotiations of a new contract.

“We entered these negotiations prepared to bargain in good faith with AT&T to address our members’ concerns and to work together to find solutions,” said CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt. “Our talks have stalled because it has become clear that AT&T has not sent negotiators who have the power to make decisions so we can move forward toward a new contract.”

Local organizer Justin Thompson said protests in the northwest part of Alabama area began Saturday in Sheffield and have grown to include Florence and Russellville. He said roughly 80 employees from the northwest Alabama area are participating.

Some protestors in Russellville said they began protesting Saturday on Cox Boulevard in Sheffield, spent Sunday at the protest on Pine Street in Florence and traveled to Russellville to protest Monday so they could have a change of scenery.

“All we want is a fair contract,” Thompson said. “This is not a strike for wages or making more money. This is not a strike for anything like that. We just want to be treated fairly and have a fair shot and a fair representation. Our district leadership feels like that is not being represented, so we are backing them 100 percent.”