How Our Union Saves Jobs

Unless you’re caught up in an individual dispute with the company, you may not know that there’s a group of people working hard behind the scenes to save workers' jobs at Piedmont every day. The System Boards of Adjustment, which meet once a month or so in Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Charlotte, include representatives from the company and from our union. Together, they listen to evidence and presentations from both sides in each dispute—then they make a decision about whether a worker has been wrongly or rightly terminated and whether those workers deserve reinstatement, back pay, or other compensation.

In just the past few months, the System Board meetings for Local 1171 out of Boston ruled in favor of three workers, putting all of them back to work. In Philadelphia, workers won several victories over the summer. Pam Tronsor, CWA representative for District 2-13, says that the members of Local 13301 are ecstatic about their wins with the Board, and she attributes the success to EVP Anthony Early’s strong advocacy.

Pat O’Neil, a staff representative for CWA District 1, sits on the System Board for Local 1171. Pat says that although the Board meets only about once a month, the process of gathering evidence, interviewing workers, and presenting the best possible defense for each case takes a lot of time. Stewards are the folks on the ground who do a lot of the legwork to make sure every detail is correct and to present the workers’ cases in the most positive way. Then Pat, Local 1171 President Tom Gunning, and Director of Area Representatives Mahlon Robinson plan strategy before meeting with the company.

According to O’Neil, “We did some digging and uncovered some really good evidence in one case, and after we brought it to the attention of the company, they completely agreed and brought the worker back with full back pay. Sometimes we see cases of human error, and it’s great when the company can admit that and make things right. Other cases aren’t so easy or clear-cut. But when we all work together the way we should, we can have good outcomes for our members. This is why we do what we do, so we can save people’s jobs. This is definitely one of the best parts of my job.”