756 former AT&T Wireless Workers at Cingular Gain CWA Representation in Austin, Texas

Nearly 800 Cingular Wireless customer service employees in Austin, Tex., gained union representation with CWA on August 15. More than 63 percent of the former AT&T Wireless employees at the call center signed cards supporting representation with CWA Local 6132. Currently, there are 756 employees at the Austin center and in January the workforce is expected to reach 1,000.

The workers' campaign was led by a 40-person committee made up of volunteer employee organizers. Their goals in getting a union are similar to those held by other former AT&T Wireless employees who have gained CWA representation at Cingular –greater respect, a voice in their jobs, and a say in their benefits and working conditions.

The committee worked hard to communicate the advantages of union representation, distributing literature, answering co-workers' questions, and by publicly endorsing union representation on their literature. They also manned tables that they set up in the call center to talk with employees. A number of those involved in the campaign had tried to get a union when they worked for AT&T Wireless, but that company, unlike Cingular, did not respect its employees' right to form a union.

Since early summer, more than 1,500 former AT&T Wireless employees have gained CWA representation at Cingular. Currently, more than 23,000 employees at the company are represented by CWA.

The employee organizing committee was assisted by CWA Local 6132 President Luz Riley who attended shift meetings and committee meetings, distributed literature, and helped answer workers' questions. Also assisting were Local 6132 Secretary-Treasurer Richard McCullough, Local members Brandon Gaovonghet, and Jason Peavler, and CWA District 6 Area Organizing Director Danny Fetonte.