Worker Power Update
CWA Wins Subcontractor Transparency Requirements in San Diego
Last Wednesday, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors passed two CWA championed ordinances that will require companies like Verizon, who are construction and right-of-way permit holders, to disclose the subcontractors they are using to complete permitted work. CWA played a key role in crafting the right-of-way measure, which will go into effect in June along with the construction portion of the ordinance. Low-road subcontracting has become increasingly prevalent in the telecommunications industry, and most notably, the new ordinances will require Verizon, which is currently building a 5G network in San Diego, to disclose the subcontractors they are using for the rollout.
“The subcontracting of critical telecom infrastructure work to low-road companies can have negative impacts on work quality, workplace safety, and workers’ rights,” said Frank Lopez, a Maintenance Splicing Technician for 23 years and Chair of CWA Local 9509’s Health and Safety Committee. “I, along with other technicians from CWA Local 9509, have surveyed dozens of Verizon’s 5G small cell sites, many of which were plagued with shoddy, substandard work quality and deployed by contractors utilizing unsafe working conditions. We commend Commissioner Fletcher and the entire Board and staff for taking action on this crucial issue.”
“These Ordinances for Subcontractor Transparency will help ensure that San Diegans – workers, elected officials, and the public alike – will be able to identify and hold bad actors accountable for substandard work and poor working conditions,” added Christopher Roberts, President of CWA Local 9509.
New CWA-Backed Bill Will Crack Down on Union Busting
Last Thursday, at a press conference attended by Michael Grant, a Quality Analyst Team Lead for Veteran Evaluation Services (VES), Democratic Senators Bob Casey (Pa.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.) unveiled new legislation that will prevent corporations from using taxpayer dollars to interfere with workers’ rights to organize. Workers at VES, which was recently acquired by federal contractor Maximus, are organizing to form a union with CWA.
As workers around the country join together to form unions in their workplaces, fighting for better pay and safer working conditions, some corporations are spending millions on anti-union campaigns and are able to claim those expenses as business tax write-offs. The No Tax Breaks for Union Busting Act would end this practice and ensure taxpayers are not footing the bill for these campaigns. “Union-busting tactics, like captive audience meetings where we heard false claims about forming a union, should be illegal! And we certainly shouldn’t be giving companies like Maximus that earned over one billion dollars in the last quarter alone a tax break for the costs of intimidating workers,” said Grant, who spoke at the press conference.
Senator Casey, the lead sponsor of the bill added, “Unions are a rising tide that lifts all boats; they don’t just help workers in them, they raise wages for all workers. It’s long past time we level the playing field and protect workers’ rights to organize.”
Michael Grant (center), a Quality Analyst Team Lead for Veteran Evaluation Services(VES)/Maximus, joined Democratic Senators Bob Casey (Pa.) and Chris Van Hollen (Md.) at a press conference unveiling the No Tax Breaks for Union Busting Act.
Stacey Abrams Stands with Workers
Last Tuesday, Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams met with CWA members and workers from Apple and Delta Airlines who are organizing to join our union. CWA has endorsed Abrams, a long-time organizer and workers' rights advocate who has committed to supporting CWA’s position on broadband expansion and collective bargaining rights for public sector workers.