AT&T workers vote to authorize strike

First informational picket held in Jacksonville on Tuesday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Members of the Communication Workers of America, which represents AT&T workers, have voted to strike if AT&T continues what the union considers an attack on its employees.

The union claims AT&T wants to reduce worker benefits by raising health care premiums and deductibles, reducing pensions, sick days and workers' disability, as well as renegotiate agreements with retirees who worked for the company for 30, 40 or more years.

"If the company were not profitable, the union would be open to renegotiation of their contract, but AT&T is making billions of dollars in profit even with its current healthcare and pension liabilities," the union wrote in a media release. "Increasing profits on the backs of retirees and active workers alike, is unacceptable."

In the weeks prior to the expiration of its contract, CWA members across the county are holding informational pickets. The first in Jacksonville was held Tuesday.

AT&T spokesperson Marty Richter released a statement Tuesday evening:

"Our goal in these negotiations is to continue to provide our employees with high quality middle class careers with wages and benefits that are among the best in the country. Our employees in these contracts are very well compensated, and will continue to be. We are not proposing to reduce the wages of any employees in these contracts, and we remain committed to providing great benefits. A strike vote is not an unexpected step in negotiations of this sort and is often a part of the process. We remain confident that an agreement will be reached."