As Contract Expiration Nears, CWA Members at OFS Vote to Authorize Strike

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Washington, D.C. – With just days until the May 28 expiration of the contract covering about 300 workers at OFS, a division of Furukawa Electric (formerly Lucent), members of the Communications Workers of America at the plants in Sturbridge, Mass., and Norcross, Georgia, voted nearly unanimously  to authorize a strike if a fair agreement cannot be reached.

As Furukawa Electric's top performer, OFS’s profits have more than doubled over the last year. In the same time period, OFS made nearly 23 times more than in 2014. OFS is a leading manufacturer of fiber optic cable and products. 

Lisa Bolton, CWA Vice President for Telecommunications & Technologies, said: “The proposals that OFS have given us are downright insulting. During leaner times, OFS workers made big sacrifices year after year to help this company succeed. Now it’s our turn. OFS is now reaping benefits from that hard work, and it’s time that they negotiated a fair contract that reflects workers’ contributions.”

“OFS workers have approached this process determined to constructively bargain on important issues including pay and healthcare costs,” said bargaining committee member Chris Lapierre, an OFS equipment technician in Sturbridge for 18 years and district vice president, CWA Local 1400. “Unfortunately, OFS has responded with disappointing proposals, despite its huge profits. It’s time for OFS to go back to the drawing board and come up with an offer that doesn’t diminish the employees who have worked tirelessly to help this company succeed.”

“It’s a shame that OFS has such a short memory of the sacrifices that employees have made for the company for years,” said bargaining committee member James Brown, an OFS employee in Norcross for 41 years and executive vice president, CWA Local 3263. “They want us to accept absurdly low pay proposals that don’t even keep pace with inflation, and to pay much higher healthcare premiums. With a company as profitable as this one, it would be ludicrous for us to accept their lowball offers. As the expiration of the contract quickly approaches, we hope OFS will seriously reconsider their negotiating tactics and work with us for a fair contract that recognizes the past sacrifices and current efforts of OFS workers.”