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.
Dara Kheang says that since he started as a sales associate at AT&T's Portland store 9 years ago, his effective pay has dropped by more than $5,000.
The wireline and DirecTV workers have been without a new contract for over a year and held a one-day strike in March. "We are what help make AT&T the company that it is and, I think, that will get our message across", said Travis Daniel, picketer. "Despite being the largest telecom company in the country with almost $1 billion a month in profits and the CEO earning $28 million, AT&T continues to pinch its workers' basic needs and stand in the way of high-quality service its customers pay good money for". This involves less than 14 percent of our employees.
This weekend's strike comes almost two months after 17,000 AT&T workers in Nevada and California walked off the job.
AT&T workers say they are demanding "AT&T commit to bargaining that addresses wage increases that cover rising healthcare costs, job security against outsourcing, affordable healthcare, and a fair scheduling policy".
With over 200,000 employees in the U.S, AT&T is the country's largest telecom company.
Workers have been mobilizing all week, with informational picketing outside call centers and wireless stores, preparing for the strike, national union leaders said.
"AT&T doesn't want to bargain with us, so we're taking a stand".
AT&T is the single largest telecom corporation in the USA, listing $164 billon in sales and 135 million wireless customers.
Just over half of the employees work for the company's wireless business, primarily in call centers and retail stores, and have been without a long-term contract since February. "We're all family, whether you're a union member or not", an AT&T spokesman said.
The strike is expected to end Sunday evening, with workers returning to the job Monday. The settlement earlier this spring with AT&T South will bring back 3,000 unionized call-center jobs.