Rethink Fairness


Man-eating beasts!

Deadly gas leaks!


Those are just a few of the perils that AT&T Mobility Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) and Retail Sales Consultants (RSCs) will never have to face.  But tomorrow, Tuesday, January 31, 2012, many of them throughout Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas will be wearing red and sporting “United We Stand, Divided We Beg” wristbands as their union, Communications Workers of America, begins collective bargaining in District 6.

Apparently it is “unfair” that these unskilled workers laboring in climate-controlled environments make a maximum wage of $17.12 and $15.92 per hour, respectively (excluding commission):

There’s a lot of talk these days about income inequality and fairness. What’s fair at AT&T Mobility? Is it fair that AT&T paid its top 5 executives $65.7 million last year?

AT&T pays its execs enough to put them not just in the top 1%, but in the top one-tenth of one percent. They each make more than 99.9% of American families!

We’re not asking for those kind of riches. We want a good standard of living, fair working conditions, and employment security.

We’ll have to fight for what we want. The wages, benefits, and contract protections we have now weren’t “given” to us by “generous” management. CWA members before us fought to win, piece by piece, what we have.

It’s time to mobilize! Wear red every Thursday, join our “Town Hall” calls, and get involved!

2010 AT&T Executive Pay
Randall Stephenson
Chairman & CEO
$27.3 million
Ralph de la Vega
President & CEO, Mobility
$10.9 million
Richard Lindner
Senior Executive VP & CFO
$8.7 million
John Stankey
Pres. & CEO, Business Solutions
$9.5 million
Wayne Watts
Sr. Exec. VP & General Counsel
$9.2 million
Top pay is $685 for CSRs and $637 plus commission for RSCs. Stephenson makes $525,000 every week!

Perhaps nobody at CWA ever stopped to consider that the people getting paid an amount that puts them in the “top one-tenth of one percent” are doing jobs that only the top one-tenth of one percent of people are capable of doing.  Similarly, the jobs of the CSRs and RSCs could, quite literally, be done by anyone of average intelligence who simply walked in off the street and was willing to show up for work.

This is not the type of job for which unionization is necessary.  This is not even the type of job out of which one should make a career.  An employee filling a position which requires absolutely no skill is by his or her very nature inherently replaceable.  If one is looking for job security, one should take the time to acquire a unique set of skills, whether that be in nursing, HVAC repair, or air traffic control.

Unfortunately, predatory organizations like CWA make grandiose promises of something for nothing (emphasis mine):

The pay system at AT&T Mobility is covered under our union contract. It provides wage progression steps which means automatic 6-month increases for employees until they reach top of scale, in addition to annual wage increases.

Why bother working hard, or learning unique and valuable skills, when all an AT&T CSR or RSC has to do is stay out of trouble (or barring that, file a grievance with the union) in order to get three guaranteed raises a year until maxing out at over $600 a week?  (That’s over $30,000 a year for those of you for whom math is hard.)  The best and worst employees get the same guaranteed raises, and the worst part about this “egalitarian” system is that a stellar new employee could be outperforming a mediocre “veteran” and getting paid much less.  Something tells me that in five to ten years AT&T Mobility will no longer have any company owned stores and we will all be buying our phones from “Authorized Retailers”.  I hope all the (former) RSCs will remember to thank CWA when that happens.

By the way…

Look out McDonald’s, you’re next.  You know those kids that work the drive-thru?  They’re technically communications workers.


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