Thursday, April 2, 2009

AT&T Strike Looms this Weekend

April 2, 2009 - AT&T unions and employees approximately 125,000 workers are poised to walk off the job on Saturday at midnite. AT&T employees are threatening a possible strike for several issues regarding employee wages, retiree benefits and healthcare. A critical issue is the company wants union workers to pay more for healthcare costs.

The workers who may strike are the AT&T call center and service representatives who take your calls about landlines service and wireless phones service would not be affected.
At&T management is preparing for the contingency plans. "We have been planning for the possible strike for some time and we are very prepared," said a company representative.

Communications Workers of America(CWA) workers have recently gone on strike before. It was five years ago, and eventually, they came to an agreement. The latest agreement is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.

A spokesperson with AT&T says it is a competitive market right now and these are tough economic times, but the company is committed to negotiating a contract with good wages and benefits.

Both sides would like to prevent a strike and say a contract extension, while they continue negotiating, is possible.

Unified Instant Message and Chat with Pidgin

We have been using a competent instant messaging application to communicate with of our contacts, customers and colleagues and found that chat is an indispensible tool. After a review of several applications we found one application called Pidgin that was entirely unique which lets you log in to accounts on multiple chat networks simultaneously. This means that you can be chatting with friends on MSN, talking to a friend on Google Talk, and sitting in a Yahoo chat room all at the same time.

Pidgin runs on Windows, Linux, and other UNIX operating systems. Pidgin is compatible with the following chat networks out of the box: AIM, ICQ, Google Talk, Jabber/XMPP, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, QQ, Lotus Sametime, SILC, SIMPLE, MySpaceIM, and Zephyr.

It can support many more with plugins. Pidgin supports many features of these chat networks, such as file transfers, away messages, buddy icons, custom smilies, and typing notifications. Numerous plugins also extend Pidgin's functionality above and beyond the standard features.
Pidgin integrates with the system tray on Windows, GNOME2, and KDE 3.1.
We were also impressed with the Pidgin-Encryption plugin that encrypts conversations using stored RSA keys, so security isnt compromised.

Pidgin is under constant development as the code is open source and community driven. Releases are usually frequent and driven by user contributions, such as bug reports and patches.

Pidgin is free and contains no ads. The code is licensed under the GNU General Public License. This means you can get Pidgin's underlying code and modify it to suit your needs, as long as you publish the changes you make for everyone to benefit from as well.

So what was impressive and the clincher for our platform, is we communicate with team members in multiple countries, from India, China and Russia, so we needed an application that could support our team members using various languages. Pidgin is translated into 70 different languages, thanks to the generous contributions from volunteer translators.
So after the intensive search, we now have a new tool that can offer some major benefits to our enterprise. Try the Pidgin :)