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MasTec Workers Declare Victory
in Key First Vote

The first critical election hurdle in a push for more than 1,000 satellite television installers occurred on June 14 in Tampa, Fla. Today the score stands 1-0 for the workers against the company that hired union-busters and attempted to intimidate workers all the way along.

Despite a vigorous six-week anti-union campaign by the company, MasTec, workers prevailed in a 46-39 vote.   Now, the campaign moves to Fort Pierce, where organizers filed a petition for an NLRB election on June 13.  Organizing efforts are ongoing in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia. 

An informational picket outside MasTec's Tampa office disrupted a captive audience meeting going on inside.

“The guys stood together and strong against a company that tried to demoralize them every step of the way,” said organizer Kitty Prouse.  “To be able to witness that was a great gift.”

MasTec’s board chairman Jose Mas made a special trip to Tampa a day before the vote, calling suspected union supporters in to one-on-one meetings all day.  During the two-hour early morning NLRB-administered vote, the MasTec Management team and the company's attorney were present to eye workers one last time. But the intimidation of the owners and their union busters were not enough to keep the workers, who were finally empowered to begin their journey for Union representation, from standing in solidarity for their rights.

“The biggest improvement in their working lives is going to be gaining a voice,” said lead organizer Carmella Cruse.  “They have had to endure a lot of unfair treatment and disrespect.”

Cruse said the Tampa vote will be a positive signal to workers in other units that collective action can work.  MasTec workers have reported surveillance, illegal firings and company misrepresentations about the consequences of choosing union representation. 

While management remained somber and IBEW organizers acted with restraint at the close of the vote, workers could hardly contain their enthusiasm on the news of their victory. 

“The employees were thumbs-up and thrilled,” Cruse said.  “I think they went to work in a good mood.”


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