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IBEW Debates FCC Rules, Elects New Telecom Leaders

 December 3, 2008

IBEW telecommunications leaders debated in October a Federal Communications Commission proposal that would have siphoned revenue from midsize and rural carriers Embarq, Citizens and Windstream – all companies that employ IBEW members.

The branch’s Legislative Reform Committee discussed a draft of the FCC’s intercarrier compensation proposal at the Fall Telecommunications Council meetings in Florida. Intercarrier compensation refers to a complex set of federal and state rules that determine the charges that one carrier pays to another. These charges depend on where calls begin and end and which carriers are involved. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was attempting to rush through the proposal with a vote on Election Day.

International President Edwin D. Hill, left, swears
in TCC-7 Vice-Chairman Peter Pusateri, Chairman
Ron Kastner and Secretary-Treasurer Dave Rehberg

The IBEW committee supported the general framework of the draft proposal but asked for consideration and revision for midsize and rural carriers.

“It has been reported by the midsize carriers that they will suffer revenue losses in the hundreds of millions over the next four years,” International President Edwin D. Hill said in a letter to senators on Capitol Hill. “With the current instability in the U.S. economy layered with revenue loss, midsize and rural providers will either be forced to pass on these losses to the consumers, spend less in capital investments to build improved networks and/or layoff workers.”

The FCC scuttled the planned vote before Election Day.

Also at the meetings, nine IBEW telecom council leaders representing thousands of workers nationwide took office with a fighting sprit for the challenges ahead.

International Officers including Hill, Secretary-Treasurer Lindell K. Lee and Fifth District International Vice President Joseph Davis were on hand to swear in the newly elected chairmen, vice-chairmen and secretary-treasurers (see list here). These officers will assist in negotiating collective bargaining agreements and facilitate communication and coordination for dozens of locals representing workers at AT&T, Avaya, Embarq and Comcast during their three-year terms.

“One of our main goals is to resolve issues before they escalate so the companies can succeed and we can grow our membership,” said Chicago Local 134 business representative Dave Rehberg, secretary-treasurer for System Council T-3 and Telephone Coordinating Council 7. “Good relations are beneficial to both sides.”

The councils were originally established in the 1980s to synchronize action with locals in particular companies. A system council holds the same collective bargaining agreement for all the locals it represents. By contrast, coordinating councils represent locals with members at the same company, but each local has a separate agreement with its employer. The IBEW has 11 charted system or coordinating councils in all – four of which voted in officers this fall. Other councils will conduct elections at future meetings.

New Leadership at IBEW Councils

System Council T-3 (representing 16 locals with AT&T and Avaya):

Peter Pusateri, San Francisco Local 1269, chairman
Bobby Morrison, Boston Local 2222, vice-chairman
Dave Rehberg, Chicago Local 134, secretary-treasurer

Telephone Coordinating Council 7 (representing 13 locals with AT&T):

Ron Kastner, Downers Grove, Ill., Local 21, chairman
Peter Pusateri, San Francisco Local 1269, vice-chairman
Dave Rehberg, Chicago Local 134, secretary-treasurer
Telephone Coordinating Council 3 (representing 14 locals with Embarq):

Carl Neutzling, Mansfield, Ohio, Local 688, chairman
Don Tindall, Winston-Salem, N.C., Local 1537, first vice-chairman
Richard Craddock, Ft. Myers, Fla., Local 199, second vice-chairman

Cable Coordinating Council 1 (representing 5 locals with Comcast):

Ron Kastner, Downers Grove, Ill., Local 21, chairman
Mark Cronister, Bethlehem, Pa., Local 1600, vice-chairman
Rich Spieler, East Windsor, N.J., Local 827, secretary-treasurer.




























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