Message from Paul Wright IBEW 21 President-Business Manager on AT&T Extension
July 16, 2012
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
As many of you know, The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers System Council T-3 Chairman negotiated an agreement to extend the AT&T contract. To tell you the truth, I was surprised, as were many of you that an agreement could be reached so quickly considering a contract vote was just completed on Friday July 6, 2012 and the Officers of Local 21 along with myself were just sworn in on Tuesday July 10, 2012. Let me take a few moments to discuss where we are now, how we arrived here and how we will move forward.
The retirement of Ron Kastner as IBEW Local 21 President-Business Manager on Tuesday (7/10), caused the Chairmanship of the IBEW System Council T-3 to be vacated. The bylaws of the System Council T-3 state the Vice-Chairman assumes the role of the Chairman.
On Wednesday July 11th, Chairman Peter Pusateri informed AT&T management of his new role. He made a proposal to extend the AT&T Contract that was set to expire on August 11, 2012. On Thursday July 12th, AT&T accepted and signed an agreement to extend the current contract until June 22, 2013. The Chairman, on behalf of the System Council T-3 and its members, signed off on the agreement.
Presumably, the decision was made in part because SCT-3 delegates and Local 21 members had common concerns about the Local 21 Officer elections coinciding with the expiration of the AT&T contract. Our Local may have the most members in the Council, however all members of all locals deserve an equal voice. We must understand Chairman Pusateri has the responsibility to act in the best interest of all IBEW members represented by the SCT-3 Council.
On a positive note, all members currently covered by the agreement will see no changes in their wages or benefits, unlike the contract the IBEW membership voted down. AT&T will not be able to reach deeper into our pockets for higher healthcare costs. They also didn’t achieve any of the concessions they would have sought in prolonged negotiations.
I know many of you are asking about Article 30, our premise technicians, sales consultants and the other hot bed issues we wanted to put to rest this year. I promise you, my staff and I will be out there every day for the next year fighting against the negative impact those issues impose on our membership. I have already begun making organizational changes so our members have the best representation possible.
The fight for our new contract starts today. I will be working with your Officers, Business Representatives, Chief, Area, and Local Stewards and plan on reaching out to you as we prepare for bargaining. The preparation includes developing strong new contract language and implementing a mobilization plan to unite our membership. I will also be working to build new relationships not only within the IBEW but also with CWA districts whose AT&T contracts expire next year. We will leave no stone unturned.
While I’m doing what it takes to make sure we are truly prepared for bargaining in 2013, I need every one of you to hang in there and be the strongest most united members in the IBEW.
Stand Strong and be Proud, We are All in this Together.
President- Business Manager, F/S
IBEW Local Union 21