Fall River, MA — Comcast technicians at the Fall River and Fairhaven Massachusetts garages have been working together for over two years to win union recognition and the right to sit down with management to discuss improving their wages and working conditions.
The techs lost their first NLRB union election in December 2011. With one election behind them, the techs in Southeastern Mass. knew what to expect the second time around. Comcast’s use of contractors and changes in technology gave them the determination to stay the course.
The techs waited more than a year after their first vote to regroup and rebuild their strength. Then they quickly signed up their co-workers for a second election. Management was stunned when they got notification from the NLRB.
And management was even more shocked when a second garage in Beverly, Mass. also petitioned the NLRB for an election!
As in the first union election, Comcast management tried to use its near complete access to employees and its power over their work lives to chip away at their confidence. But this time the group stuck together and they were not swayed by the misinformation about unions and pleas for a “second chance” to fix problems without a “third party.”
When the vote finally took place on April 24, the Comcast workers won their election 49 to 42. It is the first union victory for Comcast workers in Massachusetts. The pending election in Beverly is scheduled for May 8.
“The techs from Fall River and Fairhaven have shown that they have the right stuff,” said IBEW organizer Steve Smith. “They learned from their previous experience and this time they knew what it would take to win. Now the important part begins: winning a first contract. We are counting on the support from all Comcast union members and the communities in Southeastern Mass. where these workers live to build the support we need to win a good agreement.”