Yesterday, Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) introduced a new bill to clarify that the FCC’s “one-touch, make-ready” (OTMR) rules do not supersede collective bargaining agreements, a win for CWA members who have been fighting against the unsafe OTMR policy for years.
In 2018, the Republican-controlled FCC voted to adopt the dangerous anti-worker OTMR policy that sends CWA members’ work -- done by skilled employees who know the equipment and have extensive training -- to unskilled, untrained, low-wage contractors. The Commission ignored hundreds of comments submitted by workers urging the FCC to protect public and worker safety and protect good jobs.
The OTMR policy allows companies that want to add equipment to a utility pole to move existing equipment. A local OTMR ordinance in Louisville, Kentucky was disastrous, with dangerous mistakes made by contractors. Pole attachment work is complex, and if done incorrectly, can cause electrocution or poles to fall.
“Outsourcing skilled jobs to lower wage contractors always has serious consequences not only for workers, but for our communities,” said CWA Director of Government Affairs Dan Mauer. “This bill will protect CWA members’ jobs and ensure that utility pole work is performed safely by skilled employees. We thank Senator Cardin for introducing it.”