Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 11: Teamsters, CWA, Friends, Occupy AT&T in GA

Another tent is up, No. 24, at 745 Peachtree St. in Atlanta. It's the Occupation of the Southeast headquarters of AT&T, which wants to lay off 740 union workers even as it rakes in the dough. The Occupiers, who want to stop the layoffs, brought a surprise to the corporate lobby on Feb. 13. Reports the Huffington Post,
Occupy Atlanta launched a surprise protest against AT&T Monday, staging a sit-in at the communication giant's Southeast headquarters in downtown Atlanta to protest its planned layoffs of hundreds.
...the participants (include) ... retired Communications Workers of America (CWA) members, a Teamster organizer and members of Atlanta Jobs With Justice. They sat as a group in the lobby, each wearing hot-pink hearts made of poster board that read "No Layoffs" and "AT&T Have A Heart."
Yesterday, an interfaith service was held in front of AT&T's building. The American Friends Service Committee reports,
AT&T about 25 leaders of various faith traditions came together to pray, contemplate, and express deep concerns for AT&T’s corporate greed.
Why are they concerned? AT&T made record profits last year, had the resources to compensate their CEO to the tune of 27 million dollars, yet they plan to layoff 740 unionized workers in the south east despite the fact that AT&T customers constantly complain that service is slow.
The interfaith service was held on AT&T property and it appeared that AT&T executive staff didn’t have the nerve to ask folks to leave the grounds; they were of course invited to join, as several AT&T workers did.
AT&T has its own friends in the Georgia Legislature. Alternet reports those friends filed a bill that would make it a felony to picket outside of a workplace, with a punishment of $10,000 or a year in jail or both.

Our brother Eric Robertson (erictheteamster on Twitter), Local 728's political director, told Alternet:
This bill is obviously an attack on working people and anyone who believes in organizing for justice. It undermines civil liberties, and clearly is designed to cripple working peoples' ability to organize and build organizationations to improve their working conditions. Labor, civil rights and community organizations, and our allies are going to have to play hardball to beat this bill.
Stay strong, brothers and sisters!