Comcast Employees Counter Shady Management, Win $160K in Back Pay
December 20, 2011
A grueling two-year battle against Comcast ended in victory last month for dozens of East Windsor, N.J., Local 827 members who won thousands of dollars each in back pay.
But the company failed to pay the BBC members the agreed wage, instead conflating the 5 percent increase with a separately negotiated wage hike that was also extended to other members of the bargaining unit.
Local 827 Business Agent Rich Spieler, who was heavily involved in the case, said:
A team of Local 827 stewards – including Brian Marshall, Mike Mullen, Jorge Reina, Mike Pfancook and chief steward Tom Brown – filed a grievance in November 2009 that led to an arbitration hearing. On Nov. 17, after hearing evidence presented by both sides, arbitrators ruled in favor of the workers, ordering Comcast to award back pay of nearly $160,000, or about $3,500 per BBC employee. About three-fourths of the techs at Tom’s River are broadband certified.
“The company’s actions leading up to this settlement were shady,” said Marshall, a steward
Spieler said Comcast’s behavior in the matter mirrors the company’s long history of employing anti-worker tactics:
The current contract covering nearly 60 workers at Tom’s River expires Jan. 13, Bargaining for a new agreement begins Dec. 21.
“This win for workers shows that, despite the odds, the IBEW is consistently there to advocate for fairness and justice in the workplace,” said International Representative Kevin Curran of the union’s Telecommunications and Broadcasting Department.
Organizing workers at the mostly nonunion Comcast has been fraught with challenges, including captive audience meetings, harassment and termination of pro-union employees. For more exclusive coverage, read “IBEW Steps Up Organizing at Comcast” in the July 2011 issue of the Electrical Worker.