Reporting Derrick Blakley
ROMEOVILLE, Ill. (CBS) — One of the nation’s biggest unions is battling the nation’s biggest cable operator at a southwest suburban work site.
The cable installer who comes to your home is usually non-union. As CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, the Teamsters want to change that.
Comcast employs 90,000 cable workers nationwide, and only 2 per cent are unionized. But in Romeoville, some workers at the giant Comcast supply warehouse want to break that pattern.
“If we were unionized, it would allow us at least a seat at the table that we don’t have right now,” one employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told Blakley.
“They told us consistently, we don’t want a third party to tell us how to treat you and what to pay you guys,” the employee said.
Brian Rainville of Teamsters Council 25 say workers approached his union.
“Anytime somebody spoke up about safety issue, a training issue or something on the job, just honestly brought it up with management … they would find themselves being retaliated against,” he said.
The retaliation would come in the form of schedule changess or denial of pay hikes, Rainville said.
But organizing Comcast isn’t easy. The IBEW tried unionizing a site in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood last year and lost.
“The company has a game plan to organize them, and it’s not to be organized,” DePaul University labor-relations expert Emily Rosenberg says.
In a written statement, Comcast said: “We respect our employees’ right to choose whether or not they work in a union environment … The overwhelming majority of our employees choose to represent themselves and work directly with the company.”
The Comcast Romeoville unit includes about 150 workers. The Teamsters union vote is set for Oct. 11.