80.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Friday, July 1, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesOVILU MAY SIGN WITH STEELWORKERS UNDER PROTEST

OVILU MAY SIGN WITH STEELWORKERS UNDER PROTEST

Members of the Our Virgin Islands Labor Union may sign up with the United Steelworkers of America in order to go back to work, but only under protest.
The possible shift in strategy was announced Friday in a press conference held by OVILU, which represents 24 employees of St. Croix Cable TV. Those employees have been locked out of their jobs since last week because their parent company, Innovative Communication Corp., and the USW claim that their contract calls for a closed shop.
Terrence Nelson, OVILU president, said that talks between ICC and OVILU are taking place and that OVILU members could go back to work under the USW as a temporary solution to the stalemate. Three OVILU members have signed with the USW because of economic "pressure," he said.
"We’re considering signing on in protest to get the employees back to work," Nelson said, adding that Jeffrey Prosser, ICC’s owner, was "very wrong" to lock out the cable TV workers during the holiday season.
The temporary solution comes with terms proposed by OVILU, including, among others, maintaining their seniority, representation by OVILU, resumption of bargaining sessions with ICC, and that the company will pay St. Croix Cable workers for the time they were barred from work.
OVILU’s lawyer, Mary Faith Carpenter, said she was "cautiously optimistic that in the next few days, at least a temporary solution" can be worked out until the National Labor Relations Board makes a decision.
"If they sign off, they’re not waiving any legal rights," she said.
That optimism, however, wasn’t reflected in union members’ feelings about ICC. They took umbrage to an article in the Daily News newspaper, owned by ICC, that said they were on "unpaid leave."
"We’re not fired. We’re not suspended. We’re not on sick leave," said Ricky Brown, a customer service representative at St. Croix Cable TV. "We need to go back to work. We have responsibilities."
Nelson said ICC, through the Daily News, is misinforming the public to make it appear that the cable employees are willingly out of work.
"This is not unpaid leave," he said. "This is a lockout."
As for an act of vandalism early Thursday morning that knocked the cable system off the air, OVILU members disavowed any involvement. Nelson said there was a possibility that ICC sabotaged the system itself to "smear" OVILU.
"Our Virgin Islands Labor Union and the members of St. Croix Cable TV have nothing to do with this alleged sabotage," Nelson said.
Brown, meanwhile, said the cable employees don’t have a problem with cable being consolidated with ICC’s other subsidiaries, like the V.I. Telephone Corp. He did say they reject the ICC’s position that OVILU has been absorbed by USW.
That, Brown said, "needs to be handled by the NLRB and not the company."

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,757FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Members of the Our Virgin Islands Labor Union may sign up with the United Steelworkers of America in order to go back to work, but only under protest.
The possible shift in strategy was announced Friday in a press conference held by OVILU, which represents 24 employees of St. Croix Cable TV. Those employees have been locked out of their jobs since last week because their parent company, Innovative Communication Corp., and the USW claim that their contract calls for a closed shop.
Terrence Nelson, OVILU president, said that talks between ICC and OVILU are taking place and that OVILU members could go back to work under the USW as a temporary solution to the stalemate. Three OVILU members have signed with the USW because of economic "pressure," he said.
"We’re considering signing on in protest to get the employees back to work," Nelson said, adding that Jeffrey Prosser, ICC’s owner, was "very wrong" to lock out the cable TV workers during the holiday season.
The temporary solution comes with terms proposed by OVILU, including, among others, maintaining their seniority, representation by OVILU, resumption of bargaining sessions with ICC, and that the company will pay St. Croix Cable workers for the time they were barred from work.
OVILU’s lawyer, Mary Faith Carpenter, said she was "cautiously optimistic that in the next few days, at least a temporary solution" can be worked out until the National Labor Relations Board makes a decision.
"If they sign off, they’re not waiving any legal rights," she said.
That optimism, however, wasn’t reflected in union members’ feelings about ICC. They took umbrage to an article in the Daily News newspaper, owned by ICC, that said they were on "unpaid leave."
"We’re not fired. We’re not suspended. We’re not on sick leave," said Ricky Brown, a customer service representative at St. Croix Cable TV. "We need to go back to work. We have responsibilities."
Nelson said ICC, through the Daily News, is misinforming the public to make it appear that the cable employees are willingly out of work.
"This is not unpaid leave," he said. "This is a lockout."
As for an act of vandalism early Thursday morning that knocked the cable system off the air, OVILU members disavowed any involvement. Nelson said there was a possibility that ICC sabotaged the system itself to "smear" OVILU.
"Our Virgin Islands Labor Union and the members of St. Croix Cable TV have nothing to do with this alleged sabotage," Nelson said.
Brown, meanwhile, said the cable employees don’t have a problem with cable being consolidated with ICC’s other subsidiaries, like the V.I. Telephone Corp. He did say they reject the ICC’s position that OVILU has been absorbed by USW.
That, Brown said, "needs to be handled by the NLRB and not the company."