CWA members are fighting hard to stop a dangerous Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal that endangers workers and could send CWA members' work to unskilled, untrained, low-wage contractors.
The Republican-dominated FCC will vote next week on a nationwide One Touch, Make Ready (OTMR) policy that would allow new companies that want to add equipment to a utility pole to move existing equipment. A local OTMR ordinance in Louisville, Ky., has been disastrous, with dangerous mistakes made by contractors. Pole attachment work is complex, and if done incorrectly, can cause electrocution or poles to fall.
CWA members in District 3 are leading the campaign to stop the policy from going nationwide. Over the past few months, they have gathered more than 9,000 signatures on a petition opposing this harmful policy and enlisted support from a bipartisan group of elected officials.
CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt and other CWAers hand-delivered the petition signatures today to the FCC in Washington, D.C. Honeycutt and CWA Local 3310 member Chad Melton also met with FCC commissioners to tell them directly how the policy would hurt workers.
"I'm from Louisville, where OTMR is law, so I know how bad it is," said Melton. "The FCC wants to take away our work and our jobs. The proposal would allow contractors to do work that we have fought for and won in our CWA collective bargaining agreements."
"OTMR risks public and worker safety," said Honeycutt. "And it gives our work – work with good, family-supporting wages and benefits – to unskilled, untrained low-wage contractors. We've been actively fighting OTMR policies across the south and now we're making our voices heard at the FCC."
Senator Bill Nelson and Representative Darren Soto, both of Florida, joined CWA members on a town hall call on Tuesday to discuss why they oppose the proposal. "We know that access to rural broadband is essential. But we know we have to do this right, and OTMR is a dangerous proposition," said Soto. "You can't have second-rate, untrained workers working with some of the most complex communications infrastructure in our nation. And we have to honor collective bargaining agreements."
Nelson encouraged CWAers to submit comments to the FCC. More than 800 comments have already been submitted. CWA has set up a tool to make it easy to submit a comment. Click here to submit yours.
District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt, CWA Local 3310 member Chad Melton, and other CWAers hand delivered petition signatures opposing the harmful OTMR policy to the FCC in Washington, D.C.