One of the reasons AT&T loves to give work to disgusting, scabby contractors is because they are cheaper, sometimes a lot cheaper. They are cheaper because they often do terrible work, usually unsafely. In fact, many a fired AT&T boss who leaves in disgrace eventually ends up working for AT&T again as a – wait for it – filthy contractor!
AT&T requires its contractors to adhere to the same occupational safety policies as AT&T employees do
When you see a filthy contractor doing telephone work of any kind, conduct a job inspection. Take lots of pictures and let the contractors see you doing it. Note down any safety violations and immediately report them to your manager. Most folks don’t know that AT&T managers are required to enforce AT&T safety policies for contractors as well as employees. Letting them know that the filthy contractors are working unsafely forces management to do their job – to someone else this time. Enough safety complaints on a contractor and it’s “buh-bye.”
Also, the Local should file a safety grievance each and every time a contractor is working unsafely (usually every time, duh). This not only draws attention to an important issue, but lets upper management know they have a problem in the lower management ranks. Bosses get jammed up when forced to do their job, mostly because they suck at being a boss and fear accountability. (You also may accidentally save the life of a filthy contractor, but that’s the way it goes.)
What if my lazy boss won’t do anything?
Well, that is to be expected so the next step is to report the contractor to OSHA. When you make the report, be sure to let them know you that informed AT&T of the issue first to get it corrected and provide the name of the lazy boss. For the “Employer Contact,” use the area manager’s information. This will ensure that the accountability gets handed out in the right proportions.
OSHA is federal, but your state may have a its own Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) plan that may be even tougher (CALOSHA comes to mind) on an employer. But, OSHA is just one tool in our tool-box. Consider the EPA, or the state version of it; fines for these violations far exceed those for worker injuries. How about city inspectors? Do filthy contractors have the proper permits pulled? Find this public information at city hall or the equivalent. Know somebody on the county road commission? Get the drift?
One OSHA charge, missing permit or bad inspection can wipe out one of these knuckleheads and we say, “Good! Hope it hurts real bad, filthy contractor!”
Pro-tip: It is legal to picket contractors while they do your work
If your Local does not have a “goon squad,” it’s time to set one up. A small cadre of trouble-makers who are not afraid to exercise their rights can do wonders. Both management and contractors will have a nervous day waiting for a flying picket-line to show up. This will cause them to work safer and slower and can drive up the cost to the contractor. Then the contractor will be “surplused!”
If contractors object to being filmed or picketed, tough. Don’t feel bad for these contractors, these mofo’s have been charging AT&T to “work safely,” while undercutting the bid in order to steal your job!