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About 17,000 AT&T workers walked off the job Wednesday.

The striking workers also claim that as talks drag on to settle a new contract, AT&T has been violating the current terms and conditions of employment by forcing technicians on the West Coast to do work that is outside their areas of expertise and threatening their ability to deliver the best services for their customers.

The workers have been without a contract since.

" He average AT&T core network technician in this contract makes almost $150,000 in wages and benefits", Maviglio said.

"While AT&T is extremely profitable, the company has become disconnected from the day to day issues facing workers and customers", the union said in a statement to DSLReports. It also accuses AT&T of dragging its feet on promises to provide high-speed internet throughout rural communities in California and Nevada.

AT&T said it has hired 20,000 people into union-represented jobs in 2016 and has openings to fill more than 4,200 other union jobs.

Joining technicians in the strike are call center workers. The wireless workers are calling for an "end to offshoring and outsourcing". "AT&T technicians work around the clock to make sure our customers get the high-quality service they need and depend on, and we are building AT&T's billions of dollars in profits", he said. "We're the only major wireless company with a unionized workforce".

Additionally, the spokesman indicated the carrier is not proposing a reduction in wages for any employees as part of the contract negotiations and remains "committed to providing great benefits".

The firm has reached 28 labor agreements since 2015, covering close to 123,000 employees, Maviglio added.

Workers also said AT&T reneged on an agreement to resolve the dispute without any explanation.

Unlike competitor Verizon, which was hit with a bitter seven-week strike a year ago, AT&T has seen a lengthy period of constructive dealings with the CWA and other unions.

AT&T brought in $42 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter of past year, the union noted. "We're a customer service company and we plan for all contingencies, whether related to weather, natural disasters, work stoppages or any other factors".

AT&T said early Wednesday afternoon that it was in discussions with the union "to get these employees back to work as soon as possible".