Post-TCI, CWA Urges D.C. Union Vote


Washington -- Union officials recently urged the City
Council here to require AT&T Corp. to establish better worker-training practices at
the local Tele-Communications Inc. system once the merger between the two companies is

District Cablevision will become an AT&T franchise
after the proposed merger is finished, although the City Council still has to approve the

At the public hearing before the council's Committee
on Economic Development two weeks ago, Communications Workers of America vice president
James Irvine said customer frustration with District can be linked to TCI's
"low-road employment policies."

While AT&T is known for investing in worker training,
he said, TCI does not do so, and it excessively uses subcontracted labor.

But District disputed most of the statements that Irvine
made. For example, only 10 percent of the cable company's total work force are
contracted, system president Brad Anderson said.

"From what I saw, their presentation wasn't based
on fact," Anderson said afterward.

Peter Catucci, vice president of CWA District 2, asked the
council to require the operator to rebate customers' money for problems like service
interruptions and failure to make normal installations within seven days, according to a
union press release.

In a phone interview, Irvine said he also asked the council
to encourage AT&T to expedite a union-representation election. District is currently
not unionized.

Irvine said the CWA has an agreement in its contract with
AT&T guaranteeing that the company will allow a union election one year after the
final purchase of a new company, without interference from anti-union consulting groups.

Instead, he would like AT&T to grant an expedited
election soon after the transfer is complete.

States News Service