Oct 22, 2015
CWA Reaches Tentative Agreements with AT&T Southeast, AT&T Utility Operations, and BellSouth Billing
CWA bargaining teams have reached tentative agreements in negotiations with AT&T Southeast, AT&T Utility Operations, and BellSouth Billing on contracts covering a total of 28,000 workers. Details are being provided to CWA members for ratification votes.
The new contracts will provide increases in wages, pension safeguards and improvements in job security, a better work/home life balance, and many other gains that will provide real economic improvement for workers.
The contracts cover 28,000 workers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
With one loud voice, CWA activists across District 3 said "It's our turn!" on Oct. 16. Together, they mobilized for District 3's Day of Solidarity at AT&T by wearing black, rallying and standing together for a fair contract.
Verizon's Neglect of Telephone Infrastructure is Serious Public Hazard
CWA has petitioned the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to open an investigation into unsafe conditions at Verizon locations throughout the state. The company's systemic neglect of its telephone infrastructure poses a real hazard to public and worker safety, CWA said.
The story is grabbing the public's attention. Read the Philadelphia Inquirer's report here.
CWA examined Verizon's equipment in areas of the state where Verizon has not built its new fiber network (FiOS) and only offers service through traditional copper wiring. The investigation documented hundreds of dangerous locations that include poles designated for removal that are not stable (and in some cases broken), portions of old poles suspended in the air, terminals and other equipment not attached to poles, cables hanging dangerously low due to broken lashings that have not been replaced, plastic coverings and splice boxes placed over damaged cable and other equipment that pose a risk of insect and animal infestation and that are not properly grounded, damaged cabinets that pose a risk of insect and animal infestation, and similar conditions that pose a risk to CWA members and the public.
Left: In Newport Township, in Luzerne County, this partial pole is just dangling mid-air, with its connection attached to the new pole by a single cable. The cables that send signals to customers' homes still are mounted on the old pole; if it goes down, so does telephone service. Right: On Mountain Road in Montoursville, near Wilkes-Barre, this cross-connect cabinet is severely damaged, yet Verizon hasn't replaced it. Inside the cabinets are hundreds of pairs of individual conductors that serve customers. Clearly, these cables are completely exposed to weather and animals, affecting customers' service.
Click here for more photos on unsafe conditions for workers, consumers and service.
"Every day, CWA members put themselves at risk climbing poles that can fall at any minute or fixing equipment that has become a home for rats and other dangerous infestations due to Verizon's unwillingness to maintain its equipment," said CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney."Despite a billion dollars in profits every month, Verizon refuses to spend the money necessary to keep the public and its employees safe. Customers are paying every month for telephone service that's reliable. They deserve better than this."
"AARP supports the call for an investigation of Verizon's operations in Pennsylvania. We know that telephone service is a basic necessity, allowing older people to maintain social contact, preserve health and safety, and call for assistance in an emergency," said Bill Johnston-Walsh, AARP Pennsylvania State Director. "Many consumers rely on their landline service during extreme weather or other emergencies. When the power goes out, they need to be able to communicate. AARP also encourages consumers to take advantage of advanced technologies. The Commission should use its investigation to ensure that Pennsylvania consumers enjoy the finest, affordable, universal, reliable and high quality telecommunications system in the nation."
CWA has documented more than 200 examples in 13 counties where Verizon is failing to provide safe facilities. Since 2012, the PUC has received more than 6,000 complaints of inadequate service from Pennsylvania residents. Many of these complaints document multiple days without service over several months, and have led to missed medical calls and an inability to call 911 in emergencies.
Across the Verizon footprint, 4 million people rely on the copper network for their telecommunications. CWA wants the PUC to order Verizon to take immediate action to correct the dangerous conditions and to fine Verizon for the apparently willful failure to safely maintain its equipment. Fines can be as much as $1,000 a day per violation.
CWA Local 7272 Members Ratify 3-year Contract
Members of CWA Local 7272 have ratified a three-year contract with Garden Valley Telephone Company, a rural telecom company in northwest Minnesota. Local 7272 President Dave Holzer said the settlement provides for substantial wage increases over the contract term across all job titles, increased company contributions to health care coverage, as well as company increases to workers' 401(k) retirement plan and health savings accounts. It covers about 100 workers.