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"Global Outlaw" Sprint Must Be Stopped Union Leaders Protest Anti-Worker Tactics of Telecom Firms


More than a thousand trade unionists here demonstrated against Sprint Corp. and labeled the telecommunications firm a "global outlaw" for its abuse of workers' rights.

The union leaders were in Montreal for the world congress of the Postal, Telegraph and Telephone International, the worldwide federation which represents communications workers members of 220 unions from some 120 countries.

At a rally, Canadians were warned about Sprint's anti-worker and anti-union reputation in the wake of its major advertising efforts in Quebec. The union leaders also heard about Sprint's efforts to enter markets and partnerships in Germany, France and other countries and how the strategies used by Sprint to deny workers' rights must not be exported from the United States.

Sprint spends a lot of money on a carefully crafted public image, but its real identity as the biggest labor law violator in the United States is one that we must publicize, said Morton Bahr, president of the Communications Workers of America.

Bahr told the crowd how Sprint threw 235 mostly Latina employees out of work in an effort to block a union organizing vote at its La Conexion Familiar facility a little more than three years ago. Last year, the full National Labor Relations Board determined that Sprint had coereced and intimidated the workers, violating their rights under federal law. The NLRB ordered Sprint to rehire the workers and to pay back wages, benefits, moving expenses and interest a penalty that now exceeds $12 million. "But Sprint is refusing to do the right thing, and has appealed the order, further delaying justice for the workers," Bahr said.

CWA is pressing Sprint to pay what it owes and will not stop until the Sprint/LCF workers have their jobs and dignity back, Bahr said. He noted that President Clinton and Vice President Gore, as well as members of Congress, are looking into the Sprint situation.

"As Sprint seeks to expand into markets around the globe, a united worldwide union movement will be there, ready to turn the spotlight on Sprint's record of worker abuse and to demand justice for workers," he said.

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