As we have reported previously, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the FCC’s elimination of the Net Neutrality rules which were put in place by Chairman Wheeler in 2015.However, the court also ruled that the FCC failed to examine the implications of its decision for public safety and other key considerations and has directed the FCC to address these concerns.The FCC is currently seeking comments from the public on this issue. The IBEW has consistently advocated that the FCC adopt fair Net Neutrality rules that accomplish the following:
- Prohibit the blocking of legal internet content.
- Ban the throttling of internet speeds.
- Forbid discriminatory actions by Internet Service Providers against content carriers.
- Ensure that Internet Service Providers protect consumers’ data and privacy.
- Mandate that customer billing is accurate and transparent.
The IBEW encourages our members to engage in this process and let the FCC know that an open internet is critical to the success and safety of our nation.You can leave a brief comment to the FCC on this issue by clicking the link below.The Proceeding Number is 17-108.
DC Circuit Court of Appeals Rules on Net Neutrality
On October 1st, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued a significant ruling on Net Neutrality. The court upheld the FCC’s elimination of the federal Net
Neutrality rules which were put in place by Chairman Wheeler in 2015 under the Obama
Administration. However, the court also ruled that states
regulate broadband and that the FCC's action to preempt states from doing this was improper. This means that the 22 states that passed
their own Net Neutrality rules were within their rights to do so and any state is now free to set their own Net Neutrality rules. Unless reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court or an act
of Congress, the court’s ruling moves the Net Neutrality battle to the
FCC Approves Funding for Broadband Expansion
The FCC recently approved 563 million dollars to expand broadband in 24 states in unserved rural areas.This will provide broadband access to 220,000 homes and businesses in these states. However, 24 million Americans still lack access to broadband. The funding for this effort comes from the Connect America Fund which was created in 2011.
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About The Telecommunications Department:
Since its invention in the 1870’s, the telephone has become essential to our everyday life. Over the last 150 years, technology has revolutionized how we communicate with the rest of the world. Beginning in 1897 with the first local union of telephone operators, the IBEW has always been committed to servicing and advancing the telecommunications industry.
IBEW members are involved in all aspects of the field from telephone, to cable and satellite television, to wireless systems. Employees erect telephones lines, run lines into buildings, lay cables, install, maintain, and repair equipment, and service the community. As new means of communications are developed, they will continue to grow with the industry.
Through negotiated collective bargaining agreements with communications companies across the United States and Canada, the IBEW Telecommunications Department ensures that the rights of its 50,000 members are protected and that their interests are represented.It also helps strengthen local unions through training, research, and organizing.
NLRB Rules Employer Must Supply Subcontractor Agreements to the Union
The NLRB has issued an award in the DirectSat v. IBEW 21 case ruling in the Union’s favor. The award requires DirectSat to supply the Union will a “full, unredacted” copy of its contract with DirecTV (referred to as a “Home Service Provider” agreement). The Board said that because DirectSat made a proposal which referenced this Home Service Provider agreement, the Union was clearly entitled to it.
NLRB Overturns Union Organizing Win for Minor Voting Delay
In the attached unpublished NLRB ruling (Bronx Lobster v. Machinists), the Board overturned the majority vote of employees of Bronx Lobster who voted 14 to 12 to unionize. The rationale for setting aside the vote was that there was a 7 minute delay in opening the polls. There were 4 employees in the unit who didn’t vote. The Board ruled that even though there was absolutely no evidence that the delay caused any of these 4 not to vote, it still had the “potential” to “disenfranchise” these 4 employees. The Board used this to justify ruling against the union since had those 4 employees voted against the union, the employer would have prevailed. Interestingly, the Board Agent running the election was the one who caused the 7 minute delay.
NLRB Rules Union Does Have a Right to “Overscale” Wage Contracts
The Denver Musicians’ Association has a contract with the Colorado Symphony that allows individual musicians to negotiate a wage rate above the rates in the CBA. After an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate a higher wage with the employer, one of the musicians filed a complaint with the Union because she believed the employer’s offer was unfair and was less than wages being paid to other male musicians. The Union requested a copy of all “overscale” contracts from the employer. The employer refused on the basis that the Union waived its right to information because it agreed to allow individual employees to negotiate their own wages. The Board ruled that a waiver of any bargaining rights by the Union (which includes the right to information) must be “clear and unmistakable” and cannot be inferred because the Union waived its right to bargain “overscale” wages.