Today CWA 4034 Administrative Assistant Brian Hooker filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) against the Grand Rapids Uverse management team in Grand Rapids. As many will recall, back in October of last year hundreds of Premise Technicians in Michigan participated in a spontaneous work-stoppage to protest what they perceived to be bad-faith bargaining on the part of AT&T.
In total, 41 Prem Techs were suspended for banding together to improve their working-conditions; 5 from the Holland garage (Local 4035) and 36 from the Grand Rapids garage (Local 4034). Our position has been, and continues to be, that these brave activists were engaged in protected concerted activity. Protected because we believe federal law protects these kinds of activities; concerted, because they were acting on behalf of one another for mutual aid and protection (in this case, to ensure the Company followed the contract). The Company believes these Prem Techs violated the “No Strike” clause of the contract. We disagree.
We disagree so much that we filed 108 grievances on the Local Uverse management; one grievance for each of the three steps of discipline (verbal warning, written warning and suspension) that each of our 36 members received. We also filed grievance number 109, in which we accuse the Company of violating article 5.02 of the contract. The “No Strike” clause. Surprised? So was management! However, we feel that by its actions and its inaction AT&T both caused the Uverse wildcat and, once the wildcat began, failed to do its duty to stop it. This caused our members to be unjustly disciplined.
The other weapon in our arsenal is the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The Feds! They will be taking witness statements from the Local and some of the Prem Techs who were involved in the work-stoppage and, if they determine that the Company unjustly disciplined these workers, set about making AT&T right its wrongs.
Watch this space for more updates.