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How Trump Directly Hurt Local 3 IBEW NYC

Say what you will, a vote for Trump could make a local union 1,800 members lighter

Brian Young's picture
Jul 03, 2018

Readers of UCOMM Blog have seen the recent attacks on organized labor from Trump. While 42% of union members voted for him, he has repeatedly attacked unions through his executive orders, policies, and appointments. His pick for the Supreme Court gave us Janus, his Education Secretary kicked AFGE out of their offices, and his executive order made it harder for AFGE to represent their members. In New York, his appointment of Regional Director John Walsh to the NLRB Region 2 will now result in a decertification election for Local 3 IBEW.

Union employees at Spectrum have been on strike since March of 2017. Instead of negotiating with the 1,800 members, the company decided to dig in their heels and hire scab workers. One of those scabs was Bruce Carberry who was hired in May 2017 to serve as a field service supervisor at Spectrum’s College Point facility. This position required him in part to train new technicians, oversee their installation and service work, and write reports based on his observations of their performance. According to the Regional Director, Carberry also had a role in hiring at least one worker, conducted interviews of others, received memos that were meant only for supervisors, and had nearly a dozen workers under his supervision by February.

However, at the end of February, Carberry began to change his role to a survey technician. In this new role, he no longer received supervisor memos and stopped overseeing workers. Just two months later, Carberry filed a petition to decertify the union. The timing seems quite suspicious. Not only was this scab never a member of Local 3, but he also transitioned to a job with less responsibility just weeks before filing a decertification petition. Seems a little fishy.

Local 3 IBEW filed a complaint with the NLRB saying that since Carberry was a manager he couldn’t file the lawsuit. The union presented evidence that throughout his time with the company he had been a supervisor and even after his change in job title he still had the ability to promote or recommend people for promotion. Even with this evidence, the Trump appointed NLRB director ruled that the decertification could go forward.

Cases like this are just another example of how Trump’s appointees are supporting management and hurting unions. Just a few years ago, a pro-labor Obama appointee would have ruled in favor of Local 3 or President Obama would have stepped in to bring the sides together and stop the strike like he did during the Verizon Strike in 2016. Instead, Trump has appointed anti-union regional directors and even put union busters on the National Labor Relations Board and unions like Local 3 IBEW now have to suffer.

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