CWA Takes Offensive

Communications Workers of America locals in Western Pennsylvania have gone public with charges that Comcast Corp. has dragged its feet for two years, delaying collective bargaining for the cable company's workers.

The union has bought radio ads and will send postcards to area residents in a bid to create public pressure to conclude talks.

The region is home to nine bargaining units representing 1,000 technicians, customer-service representatives and phone-center workers. One unit, in Westmoreland, Pa., has been without a valid contract since 2000, according to the union.

Other units are in South Hills, East Hills, Washington, Coreopolis and Corliss.

Comcast is disappointed that the CWA felt the need bring contract talks into a public forum, a company spokesman said. Comcast is committed to good-faith collective bargaining, and to giving employees the right to decide whether or not to be represented by a union, the spokesman added.

According to a CWA alert, Comcast's campaign rhetoric, videos and behavior are "among the worst in the nation." The organization accuses the company of union-busting behavior in systems in Sacramento, Fresno and Los Angeles, Calif.; Atlanta; Ocean City, Md.; and Knoxville, Tenn.

The union began talks with then-owner AT&T Broadband up to two years ago. Union officials believed they had reached agreement on several contract points but claim that Comcast has refused to accept the tentative agreements made by its predecessor.

The CWA represents 3,000 former AT&T Broadband workers, in addition to 500 Comcast workers.