DirecTV Installers Getting Chance to Unionize by Mitch E. Perry

06/14/06

Although nationally the labor movement seems to be in tough shape, one local group of employees today voted to support being organized.

A group of Tampa area technicials at MasTec/Advanced Technologies voted to support being organized by the IBEW, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers . Patti Wilkins is an executive Board Member for Local Union 824 IBEW, which represents 4,000 telephone workers in about 5 counties. (roll tape#1 o.q.�get them a contract�)

MasTec employees work as installers for DirecTV, as well as warehouse and clerical employees at a company parking lot. Carmella Cruse is the national lead Organizer for the IBEW. She says management at MasTec definitely did not want the workers to organize (roll tape#2 o.q.�in the workplace�)

Among the issues that led workers to go to the IBEW included mounting pay deductions for work-related expenses. Employees say that the company is forcing its workers to pay for small parts used to install the satellite television dishes, back-charging them for shoddy equipment that breaks down and assessing technicians a weekly rental fee for driving company trucks.
IBEW is now officially able to represent the workers. The next step is for negotiations.

IBEW’s lead organizer Carmella Cruse says support from the local community was strong (roll tape#3 o.q.� would do the same�)

Cruse says there are other MasTec locations in Florida that the IBEW may try to organize at, with a 100 unit in Orlando perhaps being the next shop.

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