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Comcast settles union spat, more to come

Thu, 01/17/2002 - 7:00pm
Anne Kerven

Comcast Cable Corp. resolved parts of a dispute with the Communications Workers of America Local 4107 and the National Labor Relations Board that accused the cableco of unfair labor practices. More is pending, CAW says.

According to CWA Local 4107 President Jan Rich, Comcast was accused of a convoluted list of actions, including bypassing the union and dealing directly with employees, coercion and antiunion activities, such as, "You'll get this and that if they didn't talk to the union," she says.

Comcast inherited two union locations, one in New Haven, Mich., when it acquired a small cable operation from Adelphia, which had just purchased it from its first owner, she says. Rich says Adelphia swapped the unit for other Comcast property it wanted.

Comcast had acquired two companies with two unions, which ultimately were combined via elections into the CWA's jurisdiction, with NLRB approval, she says. New contract negotiations were based on those Comcast had with a union location in Detroit, and Rich says CWA agreed to do that. Rich says the union has been negotiating with Comcast since January 2001, and workers still have no contract.

CWA says in a release the charges were made in a series of complaints from NLRB, most recently on Dec. 5, which were based on information investigators received from CWA and Comcast employees.

A Comcast spokeswoman would not comment except to say the company values all its employees and is committed to continuing to bargain in good faith.

The two factions reached a resolution that calls for Comcast to start a new premium wage rate for on-call technicians, whose salaries Comcast had cut to time spent in the field, rather than the requisite three hours they'd been paid for under former management. The resolution also calls for Comcast to post job openings to permit employees to apply, raise on-call wages, and make remedial payments to on-call techs retroactive to Oct. 1.

Rich says other unfair labor practices charges are pending regarding the facility.

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