DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Union workers at the AT&T call center in Davenport have joined thousands of fellow employees in a nationwide strike.
At 2 p.m. on Friday, May 19, members of CWA Local 7110 walked off the job and joined the picket line on Elmore Drive.
Union leaders said they have been without a contract since February. They are fighting for a wage increase bigger than the 2 percent annual raise offered by AT&T, as well as benefits and commissions.
Another key issue is job security protections. CWA leaders said that while AT&T brings in nearly $1 billion in monthly profits, the company continues to outsource and offshore jobs.
"[Workers are] very stressed out because the managers are on them for selling. They have these demands -- everyday it's like sell, sell, sell, you know? Coming around, asking, 'How many sales did you make?' They monitor every call, they nitpick every call that we take in there, and it's not a very good morale," said Sofia Simons, secretary for CWA Local 7110.
AT&T spokesman Mark Giga issued a statement, saying it's "baffling" as to why union leadership would call a strike.
"We're offering terms in which our employees in these contracts -- some of whom average from $115,00 to $148,000 in total compensation -- will be better off financially," said Giga. "We're prepared, and we will continue working hard to serve our customers."
Giga added that the strike involves less than 14 percent of AT&T's employees.
With or without a deal, union members plan to return to work on Monday. The strike is only scheduled to last three days.