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April 2015

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FairPoint Workers Ratify New Agreements

More than 1,800 IBEW and CWA members throughout Northern New England returned to work Feb. 25 at FairPoint Communications after a months-long strike.

IBEW and CWA leaders and members are praising the agreements negotiated with federal mediators as a win for working families who have manned the picket lines in sub-freezing weather this winter to hold out for a better deal.

"This is great news for our members, their families and our communities," said Augusta, Maine Local 2327 Business Manager Peter McLaughlin. "Our members remained united and committed to this fight for more than four months and today we have a fair deal that will bring them back to work and provide good service for our communities."

FairPoint workers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont went on strike Oct. 17 after the company walked away from the bargaining table. FairPoint demanded millions in concessions, cuts to retirement benefits and the power to outsource New England jobs to low-paid, out-of-state contractors.

The strike saw major delays in repair and service calls and increased wait times for customer service.

"Our communities have seen the results of outsourcing these last four months, and it has not been pretty," said Manchester, N.H., Local 2320 Business Manager Glenn Brackett. "There's no replacement for well-trained, skilled workers."

FairPoint agreed to let employees participate in the IBEW/NECA Family Medical Care Plan, which brings better benefits and lower costs.

"It's a better plan for less money," said International Representative Bob Erickson. The agreement also protects retirement benefits for existing employees and maintains job security against possible outsourcing.

Community and labor groups gave strong support to FairPoint workers, raising more than $350,000 for a solidarity fund to help strikers.

Numerous elected officials throughout the region also spoke out in support of a fair contract.

The new contract will be in effect until Aug. 4, 2018.

"What happened at FairPoint proves that solidarity works," said IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill. "By sticking together and refusing to surrender their commitment to their community and families, IBEW and CWA members have shown how the middle class can stand up and fight back."


More than 1,800 IBEW and CWA members ratified new agreements with FairPoint Communications Feb. 25, ending a months-long strike.

ADT Locks Out N.C. Security Techs

After months of stalled negotiations and obstructionist tactics, ADT locked out 19 of its employees in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Feb. 13. The move came one month after workers voted decisively to keep the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 342 as their bargaining agent.

Employees — installation specialists and service technicians who provide home and business security service — voted for representation by the IBEW in 2013 and have been negotiating for a first contract ever since.

"ADT has dragged out talks for nearly two years, using every trick in the book to prevent us from coming to an agreement," said Local 342 Business Manager Alvin Warwick.

The company's final offer would slash employee pay by up to 30 percent.

"They don't want to pay us a fair wage," ADT technician Brook Tolar said in a video released by the IBEW. "They want us to work till you drop — no family values whatsoever."

Management has brought in replacement workers to perform the locked-out workers' jobs, including out-of-area contractors — some with little experience installing ADT systems.

The Florida-based company's insistence on wage cuts prompted a 9-9 vote for decertification last October.

The union filed charges against the company with the National Labor Relations Board, challenging the decertification vote and charging ADT with putting illegal pressure on employees during the period leading up to the October election.

The NLRB agreed, negotiating a re-run vote with management. On Jan. 14, workers voted for the IBEW by more than a 2-1 margin.

"Sophisticated employers know how to play the game," said Lucas Aubrey, an IBEW attorney. "Companies will drag out contract talks until some workers start to dissent, then some will call for a decertification."

The IBEW represents approximately 1,000 ADT employees. Workers are also represented by the Communication Workers and the Office and Professional Employees International Union in some locations.

This isn't the first time the company has been accused of violating workers' rights.

Numerous unfair labor practices have been filed against ADT over the years. In 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ordered ADT to reinstate its collective bargaining agreement with its workers in Kalamazoo, Mich., after the company tried shutting down the union facility and shifting jobs to nonunion employees.

Despite its efforts to squeeze wages in North Carolina, ADT's top officers have been paid more than $31 million in total compensation since the company was spun off from its Swiss-based parent, Tyco International Ltd., in 2012.

Chief executive Naren Gursahaney alone was paid more than $17.5 million in the last three years.

"This is a profitable operation in Winston-Salem," said Local 342's Warwick. "Locking out their workers is absolute corporate greed."

Go to to see the video. (This url is case sensitive.)


ADT locked out 19 of its North Carolina security technicians Feb. 13.

Credit: BIRD

Local 3 Project Helps Remake New York

It's one of the most important transit projects in New York City history. The city is near completion of a $1 billon extension of the Metropolitan Transit Authority's 7 subway line.

When completed, the new line will extend the 7 line from Times Square in Midtown Manhattan to a new station at 34th Street along the Hudson River — right next to the largest real estate development project in U.S. history: Hudson Yards.

The extension has meant more than 200 jobs for members of New York City Local 3, wiring the tunnels and a new station.

"To actually see a new subway system being built from scratch, you're happy to see that you're part of something brand new," said Local 3 member Randy Russo.

The Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project is a massive effort to remake Manhattan's far west side neighborhoods, bringing new housing, commercial development, and with the completion of the 7 line extension, mass transportation to the area.

"We're part of creating a neighborhood where there are going to be families and children and schools," said Local 3 Business Representative Anthony Falleo. "It's all because of the men and women of Local 3."

Go to to see Local 3 members at work.


Members of New York Local 3 work on a $1 billion extension of the city's subway line.

St. Louis IBEW Helps Kick Off City's Pro Soccer Season

As any soccer fan knows, the key to success is having a sharp group of professionals at the top of their game.

The same is true for union electricians in the field. That's one reason why the IBEW's flagship local union is helping sponsor the St. Louis Football Club for its inaugural 2015 season. When the team steps onto the field, they will be clad in crisp new jerseys emblazoned with the NECA/IBEW Electrical Connection logo on the front.

"Much like IBEW/NECA, soccer has a long tradition of excellence in St. Louis," said Jim Curran, executive vice president of the Electrical Connection. "We are proud to be part of that tradition through our support of St. Louis Football Club."

The sport's culture in the city dates back more than a century. Teams like the Stars, the Ambush and the Storm have been notable competitors in the North American Soccer League, the Major Indoor Soccer League and other leagues over the decades.

Patrick Berry, executive director of the city's team, expressed gratitude toward the Brotherhood. "We look forward to representing the IBEW/NECA partnership and the city of St. Louis every time our players pull on their jerseys," he said.

The St. Louis Football Club plays in the United Soccer League, which kicked off its first season in 2011. Home games will be played starting in April at St. Louis Soccer Park in nearby Fenton.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for our IBEW membership," said Local 1 Business Manager Frank Jacobs. "You'll find our workforce throughout the community supporting boys and girls soccer — from the little ones first learning to kick the ball, to the schools, churches and soccer leagues that ultimately develop the talent that defines St. Louis' soccer tradition. With the popularity of soccer in St. Louis, the IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection logo will be in many households and worn all over town."

Area residents can pre-order jerseys and get more information about the upcoming season at


St. Louis Local 1's IBEW/NECA partnership is sponsoring the city's pro soccer team this season. Players revealed their new jerseys — with the Electrical Connection logo — at a gala event.

Young Workers on the Rise in the Fourth District

Young members of Reach out and Engage Next-gen Electrical Workers in the Fourth District had a busy and productive year organizing volunteer events and canvassing during the 2014 election.

"There are half-dozen very active locals in the district," said Jimi Jette, RENEW chair in the Fourth District and a member of Columbus, Ohio, Local 1466. "There are also young workers at many other locals at all stages, from exploring starting a chapter, to recruiting members, to organizing events."

Jette said that he is now seeing members of all ages at RENEW events including the Local 1466 volunteer day at the Columbus Community Food Kitchen and a Habitat for Humanity volunteer day organized by RENEW members of Norfolk, Va., Local 80.

Involving the entire membership makes it clear, Jette said, that RENEW isn't about demographics — it's about the future of the brotherhood.

"One guy told me he loved to see us young cats getting involved," Jette said. "If the intent is to pass the torch, you need to have the members who have been there before."