April 2012 District 6 OSH Conference Call

CWA District 6 Occupational Safety and Health Conference Call

  • Participants-

Chad Barnhill, President, and Ron Shaw, Vice President, CWA Local 6012
Mike Farrell, CWA Local 6132
Stacy Gilmore, Vice President, CWA Local 6137
Marc Larousse, President, CWA Local 6139
Angela Lewis, CWA Local 6201
Randy Rodriguez, CWA Local 6222
Jim Billedo, President, CWA Local 6312
Ed Stephens, President, CWA Local 6314
Tim Andrews, Secretary-Treasurer, CWA Local 6508
Charlie Torres, CWA Representative
David LeGrande. CWA Occupational Safety and Health Director

  • Participant Reports-

Randy Rodriguez, CWA Local 6222, discussed his participation in March, 2012 Occupational Safety and Health “Union Approach” training pointing out the availability of his conducting incident investigation/hazard recognition and control for District 6 locals. In addition to initiating this training with Local 6222 leaders and members, the training will be introduced to members of the CWA District 6/AT&T Occupational Safety and Health Committee. Additional training classes are schedule during June, 2012 at Local 6201- Fort Worth, Local 6132- Austin, and Local 6143-San Antonio.

Also, Randy mentioned success with AT&T specific to the identification and resolution of safety and health hazards associated with central office batteries. The company has agreed to identify and remove damaged batteries from central offices in Local 6222’s geographic jurisdiction.He encouraged other locals to raise this issue with AT&T.

Charlie Torres noted the central office battery issue will be a primary topic for theUnionduring upcoming CWA/AT&T Joint Occupational Safety and Health Committee meetings.Other issues will include heat stress and emergency response.

Jim Billedo, CWA Local 6312, discussed a number of issues at AT&T Mobility stores including emergency response and workplace ergonomics. He noted particular problems at the Company’s retail stores.

Angela Lewis, CWA Local 6201, and Tim Andrews, CWA Local 6508, indicated the same issues are evident in AT&T Mobility retail stores within their locals’ jurisdictions.

  • CWA District6/AT&T Joint Occupational Safety and Health Committee-

Charlie Torres mentioned continued discussions with Company safety and health representatives specific to central office batteries (following the breakthrough agreement between Local 6222 and AT&T), heat stress training, and emergency response. He indicated he is hopeful on moving these issues with Company personnel.

  • CWA/USW National Occupational Safety and Health Conferences-

David LeGrande reported on the first CWA/USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference conducted March 5- 9, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Some 1,400 health and safety activists, including 50 from CWA and IUE-CWA locals, participated in timely and lively plenary and workshop sessions. Featured presentations were given by President Cohen and USW President Leo Gerard. Also, CWA and IUE-CWA safety and health grant trainers worked as co-chairs conducting several workshops such as heat stress, ergonomics, emergency response, incident investigation/hazard recognition and control, and systems of safety.

Indicating the next joint national conference is scheduled for September, 2013, David encouraged participants to begin plans to attend. Given the future negotiation and ratification of contracts with New JerseyState government, Verizon East and West, as well as AT&T East, Midwest, and West, he anticipated increased CWA activists’ attendance at the 2013 conference

  • CWA/USW Health and Safety Gant Training-

(Please see above comments from Randy Rodriguez).

  • CWA Heat Stress Campaign-

David LeGrande discussed specific activitiesregarding the use of heat stress training as part of the CWA/USW grant training. To date, training sessions have been conducted in most CWA Districts involving several hundred local union safety and health activists. He indicated the Unionhas encountered several problems/tragedies re. heat stress with represented employers- particularly Verizon, AT&T, and Century-Link.

For example, last September, a member of Local 9588, Colton, California, employed as a Verizon premise technician, died as a result of severe health effects associated with heat stress. Following this tragedy, Local 9588 filed a grievance against Verizon and a complaint with Cal OSHA. Subsequently, Cal OSHA cited Verizon for violating the California Heat Stress Standard. Verizon has contested the citation. Efforts initiated by Local 9588 leaders have resulted in Verizon’s improving working conditions throughout California as well as other areas of the U.S.

  • 99% Campaign-

David LeGrande indicated the Union’s future safety and health training functions will include (during an extension period) 99% training. Materials have been provided to district and local union legislative and political action coordinators- who will conduct the political action training. In turn, these efforts will be integrated into district 99% activities.

  • Republican Members of Congress Assault on Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health

David LeGrande noted Republican members of Congress have and will continue to attack workplace and environmental safety and health. Their efforts will include attempts to neutralize and prevent OSHA and EPA from fulfilling their legislative mandates. Recent hostile activities have primarily focused upon freezing the Agencies from introducing new regulations/standards and implementing existing regulations.

  • Date of the Next CWA District 6 Occupational Safety and Health Conference Call-

The next CWA District 6 Occupational Safety and Health Conference Call is scheduled for Thursday, July 19, 2012 from 9:00- 10:30 a.m. (CST)