I wanted to take a minute to share an issue related to the expansion of broadband services in the state of Connecticut. CWA is opposed to legislation that takes work away from our members. Many of the complaints I have heard are related to the lack of the expansion of broadband services in rural areas. Any legislation to address those concerns should be singularly focused to providing highspeed internet to those underserved areas. The complaints about the delay in the make ready process are mostly related to providers who are overbuilding existing networks. Some providers are only building over existing providers in aerial plant neighborhoods. "One Touch Make Ready" is a poison pill that has a direct impact on CWA jobs. CWA supports the expansion of highspeed internet in Connecticut, however, efforts that impact our jobs cannot be supported. There are many other concepts including, most importantly, proper funding that can achieve these goals.
CWA Local 1298 is sharing opportunities on our website and Facebook page for our members to engage their legislators to inform, educate and ask for their support. The Legislators need to be aware that their decisions will have an impact on our jobs. They need to know what is helpful and what is harmful.
I am also asking for our members to support all bills related to labor and the working people of Connecticut. HB 6383, An Act Concerning Call Centers and Notice of Closures and HB 6536, An Act Requiring Adequate Equipment and Reimbursement for Employees Working From Home are two specific bills we are supporting.
One Touch, Make Ready threatens worker and public safety and destroys good jobs.
Gov. Lamont's broadband bill HB 6442 and the Energy and Technology Committees bill SB 4 include the directive: "Require PURA to develop a one-touch make ready process to be implemented by utility pole owners."
One Touch, Make Ready (OTMR) mandates that companies (and their approved contractors) that want to put new equipment on utility poles can move existing equipment to create the necessary space. This is called "make-ready" work. Moving Frontier equipment has been performed by CWA-represented Frontier employees for decades, ensuring the safety and quality of the make-ready work. In Aug. 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted OTMR as nationwide policy but gave states the right to determine their own approach; Connecticut reserved the right to regulate make-ready work.
- One Touch, Make Ready threatens worker and public safety. Make-ready pole attachment work is complex and, if done incorrectly, can lead to dangerous conditions for workers and the public. Unskilled work could leave heavy terminals and wires hanging without the proper support. Ungrounded wires could pose electrocution risks. Incorrect placement or overloading equipment on damaged or decaying poles could lead to poles falling in the public right-of-way. Skilled, professionally trained workers who know the equipment, the condition of the poles, and safe practices can best protect public and worker safety.
- One Touch, Make Ready destroys good jobs. Career company employees are in the best position to do make-ready work safely and properly; they know the equipment, the condition of the poles, the rules regulating attachment placement, and have been professionally trained. Moreover, career workers are on the frontlines of the telecommunications industry - responding to consumer needs, building & maintaining networks, ensuring safety and quality service. Mandating contractors to do make-ready work undermines good, career jobs in communities across the US.
CLICK HERE to let your legislator know One Touch Make Ready impacts our jobs and we cannot support it.