Dover, NH – 600 AT&T Government Solutions workers in Dover, New Hampshire have formed a union with Communications Workers of America Local 1298 last month. It is the largest private sector organizing victory for workers in New Hampshire since 1966.
By joining CWA Local 1298, the Dover call center workers have united with nearly 6,000 other AT&T employees throughout New England. CWA Local 1298 is based in Hamden, CT.
The call center workers assist the public in applying for passports under a contract with the U.S. State Department’s National Passport Information Center. These highly skilled workers, who must also qualify for stringent security clearances, decided to form a union because of concerns about wages, high medical coverage costs, job security and fairness on the job.
“AT&T is a good company to work for, but we needed a voice on the job to help make it better,” said Michael Coon, one of the Dover workers who served on the organizing team. “With CWA, we’ll have the ability – and the legal right – to have our voice heard. That’s why we organized.”
Another Dover worker involved in the organizing campaign, Deanna Reagan said, “I am so happy about this, we worked hard and we worked together. It’s democracy and solidarity in action!”
Under a national agreement between CWA and AT&T, management remained neutral while workers decided whether to choose union representation. The agreement with management also included a voluntary recognition procedure so that the union would be officially recognized once a majority of employees had signed union authorization cards.
Unfortunately, Dover became one of the first workplaces to be impacted by the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “Dana decision” mandating a 45-day period following management’s voluntary recognition of the union for a minority of workers to request a secret ballot election by the NLRB. The so-called “Dana” period is now concluded at Dover without a petition having been filed, allowing workers to finally celebrate their organizing win.
“I am so proud of the Dover workers,” said Bill Henderson, President of CWA Local 1298. “They are a smart, hard-working and enthusiastic group, and we’re excited to have them join the Local 1298 majority of AT&T employees who are united in Local 1298 and other CWA locals around the country.
“I also have to give credit to AT&T, who remained true to their commitment to remain neutral,” continued Henderson. “This win shows conclusively why a voluntary recognition procedure is a much better way for workers to make a decision about organizing without employer pressure and the delays of the current National Labor Relations Board process. This is real democracy, and all workers should be given this type of opportunity.”