DirecTV Installers Getting Chance to Unionize by Mitch E. Perry06/14/06
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.Ã¢â‚¬?get them a contractÃ¢â‚¬?)
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.Ã¢â‚¬?in the workplaceÃ¢â‚¬?)
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.
IBEWÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lead organizer Carmella Cruse says support from the local community was strong (roll tape#3 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬? would do the sameÃ¢â‚¬?)
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.