CWA Takes On Comcast Again

The Communications Workers of America continued plugging away at Comcast Corp.

The union sent a letter to major Comcast investors warning of problems uncovered by technical audits in Massachusetts, Michigan and California that uncovered noncompliance with safety and electrical-code provisions.

“If the deficiencies that the audits found are systemic, Comcast may have a need to make additional capital expenditures, may face liability from suits for damages or regulatory enforcement actions and may even face a risk to its brand name and reputation that could give its satellite-television competitors an edge in the competition to win additional subscribers," the CWA letter said.

For example the union said, in Brookline, Mass., only 26% of the lines evaluated were found to comply with current safety codes, while in Contra Costa County, Calif., a technical audit found some 75% of lines not in compliance with current electric codes.

CWA also claimed that Comcast has failed to comply with Federal Communications Commission system requirements.

For example, in Massachusetts, the union’s audit found that in 57% of locations, the operator failed to meet the FCC's signal-level standards. And in Prince Georges County, Md., test results showed that several of the required standards were not met.

Earlier this month, the union claimed that 54 Comcast employees in the Pittsburgh area were forced to accept layoffs or face future job losses with no severance support, and it filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board accusing Comcast of engaging in bad faith and surface bargaining over the job-cut issue.

And in May, the AFL-CIO and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers joined CWA in urging the MSO’s shareholders to withhold support from Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and director Decker Anstrom at the company's annual meeting May 26.

Comcast spokesman Tim Fitzpatrick responded Thursday: "Comcast has repeatedly proven that safety is our top priority and, without regard for the CWA's regurgitation yesterday of old, outdated and often inaccurate complaints, we will continue providing our employees, customers and communities with the highest possible level of service."