CWA Touchy Over One Touch

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) is fighting hard against an FCC proposal they say endangers its members and could send CWA work to unskilled non-union contractors.

The FCC is preparing next week to vote on, and almost certainly approve, a proposal to allow for "one touch, make ready" prep for attachment of communications equipment on utility poles.

The idea is to speed broadband deployment by allowing those attaching or moving wires and equipment on utility poles to do all the work itself, rather than spreading it across multiple parties--say incumbent users doing the moving and the new attacher doing the attaching. 

That will save time, but CWA says at the price of safety, as well as jobs. "Pole attachment work is complex, and if done incorrectly, can cause electrocution or poles to fall," it said this week in pushing back hard.

In decrying what it said was the dangerous, anti-union proposal, the union said it had collected 9,000 signatures on a petition against the proposal which it delivered to the FCC this week.

CWA District 3 vice president Richard Honeycutt, who delivered the petition to the FCC and said he also met with FCC chair Ajit Pai, commissioner Brendan Carr and the staffs of the other two commissioners.

“OTMR risks public and worker safety,” said Honeycutt. “And it gives our work – work with good, family-supporting wages and benefits – to unskilled, untrained low-wage contractors," said Honeycutt. "We’ve been actively fighting OTMR policies across the south and now we’re making our voices heard at the FCC.”

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.