Blue illustration of a bell with white text on on it on a white background
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The Bell Telephone Company was founded in 1877, after the invention of the telephone a year prior by Alexander Graham Bell. By 1885, the company began to construct a network of telephone and telegraph lines across the nation designed for consumer and business use. By 1892, the project had reached Chicago with plans to expand across the entire continent. By 1899, the company had grown so large it became reorganized under the name American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T). After two decades the workers formed the Communication Workers of America (CWA) Union to act as a representative for the employees. By 1968, tensions between AT&T and the CWA reached a fever pitch resulting in a mass strike. Over 200,000 workers walked off the job in protest of higher wages and benefits. After only 18 days, the company caved and gave the workers the pay and benefits increase of 20% over three years that they demanded.