We’re talking Fairness and Unity money, of course. FU money is a strike-fund, but not just a strike fund.
Not just for a protracted strike of, say, maybe seven weeks when the CWA International president, Chris Shelton, pulls the trigger. We need FU money so we feel free to take job actions that are short-term but unpaid. Examples of these are grievance strikes, ULP strikes, and some safety walkouts (those are often paid), etc.
On other days, you’re going to want to take a suspension, just to prove a point about your unity. Or, maybe AT&T’s last email to all employees about bargaining made you sick and tired, and they don’t give you sick pay for that particular illness.
The “yeah, buts..”
We all know that guy with the bad case of the “Yeah, buts..” He’s always got a reason why something will never work. If you have one on your crew, they are easier to deal with in a craft meeting because unity creates courage. Talking about a strike is scary to normal folks. Having at least a strike plan, if not a fully-funded strike fund, helps us bolster our courage – and that of our fellow workers. Sharing that plan with others in our work-group fosters commitment to action.
There are several good reasons to do bad things to AT&T management:
- AT&T is trying to make plans about us, that don’t include us. This is dangerous for our livelihoods. We need to get the strongest possible contract – basically, no give-backs. AT&T won’t give that up without a strike
- AT&T is the most indebted company in the world. Though not (yet) in danger of losing his job, CEO Randall Stephenson is being whispered about quite a bit more than usual – his management of any labor unrest will certainly be scrutinized
- AT&T is overextended in other ways. Cost-cutting measures, including the recent announcement of 1800 layoff just in time for Father’s Day, enhance its vulnerability to labor unrest, such as work-to-rule, safety mobilizations around missing/unavailable safety equipment, etc.
- The 2016 Verizon strike demonstrated that contractors put the company and sometimes even the public at risk safety-wise. Production-wise, they are not even close to union workers and will have orders stacked up for 90 days after we win our strike (Don’t try to deny it, contractors, “Production-wise” means it has to work after you get it done as fast as possible js!)
- Unemployment is 3.6%, the lowest on record. Temp jobs are perfect for strikers needing to bolster their strike-pay and savings
- The “gig-economy” is a real thing; and perfect for strikers. Don’t just think Uber, but also others like GrubHub and Amazon Flex, who don’t care what your ride looks like
- Do not forget the 401(k) loan for dire emergencies. The Fed has kept interest rates nice and low. Many of those dudes always bragging about their strike fund are actually using this method.
Job Action: Let your boss know you are saving up some FU money
Remember: AT&T managers are required to report all concerted activity up to their side of the bargaining table. There are several creative ways to let management know you are about to ruin their summer with your campaign for Fairness & Unity:
- Hold a FU Money contest on the union bulletin board
- Picket with your creative FU signs
- Ask your boss as a collective action for a donation to the FU Money fund
- Tell us your idea in the comments