What's New in Telecommunications:
Statement by FMCS Director George H. Cohen
On Verizon-CWA-IBEW Labor Talks
Statement of Edwin D. Hill, International President,
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
On Developments in the Verizon Strike
August 13, 2011
(Washington, D.C.) -- I have received reports that members of two IBEW locals are performing contracting work for Verizon, even as members of our union and the Communications Workers of America are on strike to preserve middle class standards in their contract with the telecommunications conglomerate.
I wish to state in no uncertain terms that IBEW locals are not to engage in such actions while their brothers and sisters are on strike. While we understand the economic pressure that is affecting many workers all across our economy and the short-term need for employment, performing work at a struck company violates a bedrock principle upon which the IBEW, like the entire labor movement, was founded. I am using the full authority of the office of International President to put an end to our members undermining the struggle of others in our union and in the CWA.
What we are seeing as this strike unfolds is the fruit of 30 years of unremitting class warfare waged by corporate America and their political allies against the workers of our country. As our economy continues to slog through the mire of the Wall Street-created crisis of 2008, it is a bitter truth that men and women increasingly desperate for employment will grasp at any opportunity. It is also an unshakable truth that solidarity is our foremost – indeed our only – weapon to fight back against those who would condemn us to a life of subservience.
I call on all IBEW members to live up to this principle in these difficult times, obey the law and stand strong in the common struggle that unites us all. Verizon has made a full assault on our wages, benefits and working conditions, and, having unleashed the forces of anger and bitterness, are whining like children at the mess they have created. The fallout of this conflict is also affecting many others in communities across the Northeastern United States.
We repeat our calls for the company to engage in serious negotiations for a fair contract so that our members can get back to work and help our struggling economy to recover.
News Update: House Nixes Tax Loophole, Sending Warning to Big Business
The IBEW is at the forefront of a recent wave of legislation to prevent
corporations from eluding risk at the expense of taxpayers and workers.
News Update: Judge to Illinois commission: Don’t Approve Verizon Deal
An Illinois administrative law judge recommended Tuesday that the state’s commerce commission
reject a proposed transfer of land-based telephone lines from Verizon to Frontier Communications.
Statement of IBEW President Ed Hill on FairPoint Bankruptcy
Edwin D. Hill, International President of the IBEW, issued the following statement after FairPoint Communications Inc. announced today that it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection:
About The Telecommunications Department:
When Alexander Graham Bell received the first ever telephone patent in 1876 he probably did not recognize the dynamic industry he was helping to create. In fact, the telecommunications industry has proven to be one of the most challenging and evolutionary industries in the United States and the IBEW is proud to say that we have played a vital role in helping to make this industry a success since as early as 1897.
The Telecommunications Department oversees contracts covering 100,000 highly skilled and sought after IBEW workers employed by the nation’s telecommunications industry. Our members have helped implement the ever-changing technology that is currently deployed by the telephone companies, cable television industry and wireless enterprises. They install, maintain and repair the switches, multiplexors, transmission equipment and associated emergency generating equipment required to keep the communications network viable. The new age of communications and entertainment is having a profound affect on every aspect of our lives, and only with the expertise of IBEW members can the technology thrive. The IBEW represents thousands of customer service representatives and operator services employees throughout the industry. These IBEW members experience a great sense of accomplishment working with the sophisticated equipment that links these various communication formats, while enjoying the protection and advantages contained in several hundred collective bargaining agreements.
The IBEW Telecommunications Department also provides local unions assistance with national negotiations, local union negotiations, legislation, health care initiatives, training, research and organizing.
IBEW members can be confident that as this industry continues to evolve, the brotherhood will be there in force to ensure that our members are there meeting the challenges of the future.