AT&T workers plan Friday strike

James Gardler, president of Local 13000 of the Communications Workers of America in Philadelphia.

Some 21,000 AT&T employees — retail sales associates, wireless technicians, and call center workers — who work for the company’s wireless division, say they’ll go out on a short strike over the weekend, unless their union, the Communications Workers of America, can reach a tentative agreement with AT&T by 3 p.m. Friday. The workers will picket AT&T stores in 36 states, with about 600 expected to go out on strike locally. They plan to return to work on Monday.

Issues include increased health care costs and keeping call center jobs in the United States, said James Gardler, president of CWA Local 13000 in Philadelphia. The company said it was prepared to serve its customers during a strike, adding that the two sides have disagreements, but would sort them out. The company said it has 20 contracts with unions and this one covers about seven percent of its employees. The employees’ contract expired Feb. 11.