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Local Comcast Employees Picketing Every Wednesday at Mason Square

A group of union employees want their careers to be respected by Comcast.

Do you know all the facts about your cable company?

That’s what local Comcast employees from the International Brotherhood of Eletrical Workers (IBEW), Union 21, are asking every Wednesday morning as they picket at Mason Square.

Jeff Ptack, who works out of the Oswego Comcast office, said the union has been working without a contract since April 30. He said the picket is about respect as much as anything else.  

“This is our career choice,” he said, holding a sign one recent early Wednesday morning. “They want us to view it as just a job. It’s not.

“We’re at the bargaining table, but the pace is not moving,” he said.

In response to the picket, Comcast media spokeswoman Angelynne Amores said, “We continue to bargain in good faith and hope to come to a resolution soon.”

A business representative from IBEW, Jerry Rankins, said they are still yet to reach an agreement and “Comcast is short-changing us. Because we’re union, Comcast is penalizing us.”

“They are coercing our employees to transfer to nonunion shops,” said Rob DeLong, a line maintenance technician. “They are depleting the work force.”

The IBEW 21 spans Oswego, West Chicago and Wheaton areas. DeLong said the union is picketing at each location ever Wednesday morning until a contract is negotiated. The union marched in a Labor Day parade in Wheaton to distribute flyers about their plight.

“We’re not stopping work though,” said Oswego Comcast employee Lisa Hart, handing off her picket sign as she went to clock in to work at 7 a.m. “We just want everyone to know what is happening.”

DeLong said many of the nonunion technicians Comcast is employing aren’t fully trained and aren’t actually Comcast employees, but contracted workers.

“My main issue is just being treated fairly,” said Comcast employee Henry Mayzes.

Until that resolution is reached, Comcast employees will be picketing every Wednesday at the entrance to Mason Square. 

Roy Rumaner November 02, 2012 at 01:28 PM
They should just be happy they have a job and not worry about what others are doing. I am sure that there are a lot of other people out there that would be happy to do their job and not complain about it.
chris kosciukiewicz November 02, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I'm an IBEW local 701 member and I stand by the solidarity of my brothers and sisters as they bargain against Comcast. Keep your spirits high, as our local went w/o a contract for 4 years. The public is entitled to their opinion, sometimes it's ignorant/uninformed but that's what makes this country great.
Jeff November 02, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Yes I agree most people are uninformed. CEO of Comcast made 36 million last year, stock went from $14 to $37 and going up. Make a company profitable, have them share the wealth. This company is growing - good and bad economy - workers deserve respect and to profit off of the companies wealth. Union yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jeff November 02, 2012 at 06:13 PM
your post makes no sense - these workers work for the company- why wouldnt they worry about their companies direction on benefits, wages, safety! Sorry you are most likely a work to right employee without a voice. Maybe we could organize your employer? Complaining no, demanding respect yes!
Smokingdiesel November 02, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Oh what a strong union, picketing BEFORE work then going and punching in, a REAL union would have a full fledged walk out strike until the contract was ratified.
christine ptack November 02, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I am not only proud of my husband, but I am proud of all the workers fighting besides him. It takes courage and I respect you all for standing up for your rights.
Brian Jones November 02, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Another example of unskilled workers thinking they deserve a piece of the pie....just because. None of the union employees are decison makers. They run a wire from a box outside to a house. The true decision makers....management.....are responsible for the growth of the company. Time to say good-bye to unions. They have already driven too many jobs out of the country.
Chris Janick November 02, 2012 at 08:37 PM
ahh no! They should start there own company. A worker is only entitled to the paycheck he agreed to receive when he was hired. He has the choice to except that wage or move on. Union or nonunion this does not matter. Union employee's as myself have the right to negotiate our wage's but to feel entitled to the owners profit because the company is succesful come on.... your uninformed!
Barbara November 02, 2012 at 09:02 PM
It doesn't say what the workers are asking for, but If Comcast wants to go non-union, let them. Unions cost corporations money, why shouldn't companies be able to hire competitively? There are many people who need the work. I think all this union hiring, along with DBE, MBE, WBE nonsense needs to stop. If you don't like your job, find one that suits your income needs, or maybe even live within your means. A company should be able to hire the person most qualified for the job, not based on government or union preference.
Kendallcitizen November 02, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Brian must be a TEA bagger
Tim November 02, 2012 at 09:26 PM
The stock went 'up' because Comcast did a $6.5B share buyback, increasing the technical earnings per share by removing a lot of shares form the market. Nothing is stopping you from buying shares in the company you work for, but you have decided to waste your money instead.
Rob November 02, 2012 at 10:55 PM
There is way more to this than wages. We are asking for whats fair, not just financially, we are looking for the job security. Our purpose to let the public know is to "inform" Comcast customers that while your bill continuously increases for what the company calls increased labor fees, they would rather hire contracted workers for less pay and they make more money. Do you want what you pay for? If you have troubles, do you want it fixed on the first call? And, do you want someone that has not passed a background check accessing your person information. When a company hires someone off the street, you could potentially have a sex offender around your children, or a convicted felon in your house. And this has happened in areas, but we don't want it in ours!
marcus November 02, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Our customers depend upon us to deliver a high quality service to them. I do not feel it would be in their best interest to walk out and strike. If we were to take those actions they would only have the under trained and severely over routed contractors to provide the services requested, which would lead to more missed appointments and repeated visits to the home or business. This would negatively affect the company's customer service rating, our customers ability effectively communicate and entertain themselves, and negatively affect the profitability of the company which so many of us are workers are share holders of.
marcus November 02, 2012 at 11:39 PM
That generalization is incorrect. What we would like is job security, reasonable wage, and increased training for all. A pay rate that will allow the company to attract and retain skilled workers. Chances are, that they guys entering your home don't have many years of experience. There is a high turnover rate at this company for a reason. The one thing that you are correct about is that we run a line from the pole or pedestal to your home. Have you ever asked why can't Comcast find somebody to do it correctly.
marcus November 03, 2012 at 01:02 AM
We do not stop nor take part in the individuals that the company chooses to hire. In fact, the company has chosen not to hire new employees, at the union locations, in over five years. Our techs have a large footprint to cover. Due to attrition, on certain days there are only five to six techs to cover the area, leading to long drive times and decreased productivity.
John Birkenmaier November 03, 2012 at 01:28 AM
I have been a service technician with Comcast for almost 7 years. My first responsibility, foremost is to all our customers, and to provide them with the best customer service possible. Many of us at Comcast, go above and beyond to achieve that. I do not feel it is unreasonable, to ask Comcast , to treat each and every one of it's employees fairly. We all work tirelessly to make sure our customers receive the best service possible. Whether we are installing new services, or fixing existing ones, our customers' come first. Whatever field you yourself may work in, being respected for what you do, and the quality with which you do that work, should never be taken for granted. We all do what we can,to support ourselves and our families, during these trying and difficult times. Only by making our voices heard, can we get change for the better. I will still continue to provide the best service I can to our customers. I only hope that Comcast can see that as well.
StandForSomething November 03, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Maybe these REAL union members have REAL families that rely on their REAL paychecks to put REAL food in their bellies. Their family shouldn't have to starve so they can get a fair wage. These people aren't asking for $100K/year - they are just asking to be treated with respect and paid fairly for the quality services that they provide in sometimes dangerous conditions, everyday of the year in rain, snow, heat, cold. Unless you've stood in their shoes...you're really not qualified to talk about how they choose to "walk the line".
Free America November 03, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Unions have paved the way for all Americans to enjoy what they have today- for example- -Any one with a child over 9 years they would be working if not for Unions - Overtime after 40 hours, Overtime would not exist if not for Unions - Minimum wage $8.25 per hour, would be less than a dollar, if not for Unions If you are part of the1 percent (that is 5 million in the bank) congrats, thats not real world, for the rest of you that think you are in the 1 % search your soul- it is iresponsible as an American to bash the very foundation of our country- Remember history... a group of english who banned together to fight for what was right....Hmmm sounds like a UNION!!! I support you Brothers and Sisters of the IBEW 21....I know my cable rates are going up just like the rest of the people on this site and your company is raking in the dough they need to be fair- stay strong!!!
Free America November 03, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Barbara- Comcast has not hired in the Oswego shop since 2007- they are not trying to hire, I respect your right to an opinion but you have no facts to stand on, if you would like to know the truth go to the Oswego shop next Wednesday and talk to the workers like I did, not sit uninformed about their struggle, I'm not sure what "DBE, MBE, WBE" is?? I believe in the middle class, it is what make are economy grow... its pretty easy it goes like this..... good jobs = good wages = people spending money = good economy
Os Com Tech November 03, 2012 at 03:46 PM
You can picket all we want but bottom line is Comcast doesnt care what u do on ur own time as long as your there working when ur shift starts.
Lisa Hart November 03, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I have worked for the cable company for 24 years. I started in Dispatch and Customer Service then moved to Locates where I also pushed to get further training to do installs, service calls, repair work and also worked On Call. I have am now working in the Warehouse and in every position I worked my way up to the Lead position. I would say that is very skilled in many phases of the business and there are many others just like me that work for Comcast. We work hard and do not appreciate being treated as though we hold no value. This area has earned the company the highest numbers in the market and we deserve to be treated with respect. Sorry you have been misinformed Brian, But these are the facts!!
Lisa Hart November 03, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I have worked for the cable company for 24 years. I started in Dispatch and Customer Service then moved to Locates where I also pushed to get further training to do installs, service calls, repair work and also worked On Call. I am now working in the Warehouse and in every position I worked my way up to the Lead position. I would say that is very skilled in many phases of the business and there are many others just like me that work for Comcast. We work hard and do not appreciate being treated as though we hold no value. This area has earned the company the highest numbers in the market and we deserve to be treated with respect. Sorry you have been misinformed Brian, But these are the facts!!
marcus November 03, 2012 at 09:54 PM
@Os Com Tech...if you choose not to stand with us, that is your right. While you are sitting on the sidelines, don't forget that we are fighting for you also. If you don't think your or my voice is important to be heard, you have every right to work in a non-union shop. If you can't support us, it would best for the rest of us if you kept your mouth shut and said nothing at all. My personal belief is that you should leave. We don't need lil brothers like you.
Jeri November 03, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I am not a union person but when I tried to do the bundle thing, a sub contractor came out and totally screwed everything up and new not what to do. The regular comcast tech has always been super and flexible and knowledgeable. They always fixed the problem. I even showed up at their gate in the a.m. and was always professional and did not shuffle me away. If comcast offers the original service I will probably change carriers due to value. So thank you for the service, I do understand your frustration, I work in a union shop but not have to be union. so i am not and I provided the best due to values within myself. When one becomes accustom to certain benefits it is always hard to modify them. I find the union employees in my shop hiding behind the union with poor performance. I will attest to comcast that your qualities far supersede the sub contractors.
Created Equal November 05, 2012 at 04:09 AM
What?
ralph December 02, 2012 at 06:51 PM
what about the contractors we have no union do 80% of your work and take out over 300 points a day on average.
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Rob December 28, 2012 at 02:55 AM
organize my friend. Comcast is exploiting the contractors to play you guys against us. This isnt a bash against you

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