August 31, 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I’m aware of the situation unfolding at Altura Communications and the negative impact the decisions made by their executives may have on our membership. IBEW Local 21 made several attempts to achieve a fair contract with Altura prior to their recent actions. A strong message was sent to management when their last best and final contract offer was overwhelmingly rejected by our members.
Since then, I assigned IBEW Local 21 Vice President - Assistant Business Manager Bill Henne, our attorneys, and other members of my staff to assist in the resolution of the dispute we are having with Altura. After management was notified their contract offer was rejected, as required by Article 5 of our contract, we attempted to engage the services of a federal mediator. Rather than taking the high road Altura executives decided to obstruct the process and unleashed an attack on their own employees.
We are currently reviewing all legal aspects of the behavior of these individuals and will pursue the appropriate course to address their actions. We believe your rights have been violated, and we have already filed charges against Altura Communications Solutions with the National Labor Relations Board.
You should know the National Labor Relation Act allows workers the right to belong to a union without interference from their bosses. Management is not allowed to ask you your views about your union and then take action against you if your views don’t coincide with their opinion.
If you are ever called into a meeting with management and you feel the discussion may lead to discipline or effect your personal working conditions, you have the right to have a union representative present at that meeting. If you are denied representation, you have the right to refuse to participate in the discussion. If management continues the meeting, it commits an unfair labor practice. I will be sending you a Weingarten Rights card for you to carry with you; if you need one before that, your Rights are printed on the back of your union card.
These attacks should be an eye-opening testimonial that spells out management’s true intentions. I know from the outcome of your ratification vote that most of you are seeing these company sheep for the wolves they really are. Their tactics are nothing but a desperate attempt to break our solidarity and power to bargain a fair contract for you. We won’t let that happen.
Make no mistake, if they are allowed to divide us, they will conquer. Now more than ever, embrace your coworkers and educate those who are standing on the sidelines. We are all in this together. United we Bargain, Divided we Beg.
Paul T. Wright
President Business Manager
IBEW Local Union 21