Now it’s up to the company to recognize it
MIDDLEBORO, MASS. — On Friday, Congressman Stephen Lynch, Fall River Mayor William Flanagan and community leaders representing the Massachusetts Workers’ Rights Board reviewed a list of Comcast employees and then checked it against union authorization cards voluntarily signed by employees at the same locations — Fall River and Fairhaven— requesting IBEW Local 2322 to represent them.
Based on the card count, an overwhelming majority of Comcast employees at the two locations desire to unite in IBEW Local 2322.
“We requested the certification because we wanted to prove beyond a doubt to management that a genuine majority of our co-workers want to form a union and begin collective bargaining,” said Brian Almeida, a Comcast technician from the Fall River office who began working for the company in 2001. Almeida was accompanied at the certification event by about 25 other Comcast employees and many union and community supporters.
Immediately after the card count at the IBEW Local 2322 union hall here, Rep. Lynch and Flanagan sent a letter to Comcast urging the company’s management “to respect the employee majority and voluntarily recognize IBEW Local 2322 as their representative and begin collective bargaining for an agreement covering their wages, benefits and working conditions.”
In Massachusetts and across the country, workers are increasingly pursuing this voluntary approach — rather than going to the National Labor Relations Board for an official representation election — because too many employers have aggressively used their unilateral power over work schedules, promotions and pay to destroy the workers’ majority without fear of any meaningful penalties.
Comcast is not obligated to recognize the workers’ union, but it can choose to do so voluntarily. “I sincerely hope that management will respect the wishes of the majority and begin those discussions as soon as possible,” Rep. Lynch says in the video above.
“I wholeheartedly endorse this voluntary approach to assist workers to gain a voice at work and their collective bargaining rights,” said Mayor Flanagan.
Rand Wilson is an organizer and chief of staff at SEIU Local 888 in Boston.