Sailing into Milwaukee at dawn (photo credit Lynette Hooker)

My name is Brian Hooker. When I hired in to AT&T in 1996, I also joined the union that represents most AT&T workers, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Local 4034. After witnessing and experiencing the benefits of working in a place where employees have a voice, I soon decided I wanted to be a part of that. Since then, I have served the CWA membership in different roles both locally and on behalf of the CWA International, and even “underground.” Along the way, I stole from other unions new grievance-methods and mobilizations that became so effective that management decided it would  be easier to illegally fire me than to follow the contract that they had signed with the union. After an exhaustive 10-month investigation, the federal government determined that AT&T discriminated against me because of my union status, and fired me for that reason. There was a 13-day federal hearing in Grand Rapids, Michigan that concluded December 20, 2017.

In January 2019, fifteen months after being fired, I won most of the 13 or so charges filed against AT&T. I was ordered to be reinstated with full back-pay, interest and benefits.  Naturally, AT&T timely filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board and I and my family await that decision. Despite the Board members composition mostly being anti-union employer-lawyers, I remain optimistic. Even President Trump dislikes AT&T management.

This blog is a frank discussion regarding AT&T’s alleged unlawful attempts to dominate a local union; the annotated federal complaint can be viewed here. Legal documents are never fun to read, so I have annotated it in “plain English.” In this blog, I will describe and outline tactics that I used to effect change in the workplace and the reactions those tactics received from management (besides illegally firing a union rep!). It is axiomatic that no union representative can effect change alone, so I will also describe ways to engage employees to act together for mutual protection from management.

Speaking of protection from management, if you are a manager and reading this, please be advised that this website contains discussions relating to union activity and to terms and conditions of employment. Your participation in discussions on this site is not welcome; your reading of the content of this site is typically construed as chilling and unlawful surveillance of union activity. Though the employer in this case is primarily AT&T and its affiliates and subsidiaries, all workers are welcome to participate and it is presumed that any questions or comments by anyone on this site are in relation to terms and conditions of the participants’ respective employers and thus protected under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.

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