March 4, 2015
ADT is undermining the security of working families in Winston-Salem
After months of stalled negotiations and obstructionist tactics, ADT locked out 19 of its employees in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Feb. 13. The move came one month after workers voted decisively to keep the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 342 as their bargaining agent.
Employees – installation specialists and service technicians who provide home and business security service – voted for representation by the IBEW in 2013 and have been negotiating for a first contract ever since.
“ADT has dragged out talks for nearly two years, using every trick in the book to prevent us from coming to an agreement,” said Local 342 Business Manager Alvin Warwick.
The company’s final offer would slash employee pay by up to 30 percent.
“They don’t want to pay us a fair wage,” ADT technician Brooks Tolar said in a video released by the IBEW. “They want us to work till you drop – no family values whatsoever.”
Management has brought in replacement workers to perform the locked-out workers’ jobs, including out-of-area contractors – some with little experience installing ADT systems.
The Florida-based company’s insistence on wage cuts prompted a 9-9 vote for decertification last October.
The union filed charges against the company with the National Labor Relations Board, challenging the decertification vote and charging ADT with putting illegal pressure on employees during the period leading up to the October election.
The NLRB agreed, negotiating a re-run vote with management. On Jan. 14, workers voted for the IBEW by more than a 2-1 margin.
“Sophisticated employers know how to play the game,” said Lucas Aubrey, an IBEW attorney. “Companies will drag out contract talks until some workers start to dissent, then some will call for a decertification.”
The IBEW represents approximately 1,000 ADT employees. Workers are also represented by the Communication Workers and the Office and Professional Employees International Union in some locations.
This isn’t the first time the company has been accused of violating workers’ rights.
Numerous unfair labor practices have been filed against ADT over the years. In 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ordered ADT to reinstate its collective bargaining agreement with its workers in Kalamazoo, Mich., after the company tried shutting down the union facility and shift jobs to nonunion employees.
Despite its efforts to squeeze wages in North Carolina, ADT’s top officers have been paid more than $31 million in total compensation since the company was spun off from its Swiss-based parent, Tyco International Ltd., in 2012.
Chief executive Naren Gursahaney alone was paid more than $17.5 million in the last three years.
“This is a profitable operation in Winston-Salem,” said Local 342’s Warwick. “Locking out their workers is absolute corporate greed.”
Go to www.bit.ly/ADTLockOut to see the video. (Case sensitive)