Local Workers Join Strike Against SBC

5-21-04 - More than 100,000 Union workers for SBC are on strike. The Communications Workers of America walked off their jobs at midnight, Friday. Union members are demanding better health benefits and more job security guarantees.
Over 200 workers in Grayson, Cooke, parts of Denton and Collin County are on strike until Tuesday morning.
Several installation, repair and data service technicians from the Denison work center began picketing at 8:00am. Mark Ewig, a long time employee, says, “They’re stripping the healthcare costs from our retirees and we can’t stand for that.”
Lower level managers at SBC are now taking over key duties of striking employees. SBC says the strike should not affect phone service. However, local technicians say customers nedding new lines or repairs may not get service until union members report back to work.
SBC has proposed annual pay increases but asked for higher medical co-payments. The CWA says that would have hiked average workers' monthly health-care expense to about 70 dollars. It says that's double the amount under the previous contract which ended in April.