CWA: There Is No Infrastructure Workforce Shortage

Communications Workers of America
(Image credit: CWA)

Communications workers and their employers apparently have a difference of opinion over the alleged shortage of skilled workers to handle the nation's burgeoning broadband buildouts.

The Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Council (BDAC) working group on Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Job Skills and Training Opportunities plans to offer up a report at the council’s meeting Oct. 29, saying there needs to be more federal funding for broadband job training, according to the Communications Workers of America.

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According to CWA, that working group is being steered by infrastructure companies and contractors who are arguing, without evidence, that there is a shortage of skilled workers that impedes needed buildouts, while at the same time those same companies are undervaluing or getting rid of the skilled workers they have.

CWA points to an Economic Policy Institute report published this month that shows no evidence of either a labor or skills shortage. Instead, says CWA, what has been lacking is decent wages, while major telecoms lay off workers.

“The BDAC working group’s recommendations are based on the assumption that there is a lack of workers available, leading the working group to boost technical training programs rather than wage increases for workers,” a CWA spokesperson said. “This orientation could point to telecom giants’ desire to continue outsourcing jobs and skirting union membership for the workforce — under the guise of a ‘skill gap.’ ”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.