Law Offices of Louis Spitters
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City attempts to help end employment contract dispute for workers

Often, when two sides are having a difficult time reaching a mutually satisfying agreement, a mediator may get involved in order settle some of the differences. While not every employment contract dispute requires such intervention, it can help both parties understand the situation from a different perspective. There are times when California workers may require assistance from other professionals in order to resolve some protracted disputes.

One such dispute between union workers and a privately owned infrastructure company has drawn the attention of the city council in one major city. The two parties in this dispute are the United States Infrastructure Corporation (USIC) and the Communication Workers of America Local 1101 (CWA Local 1101) and concerns both wages and working conditions. The workers, who were only recently organized, number approximately 180 and are only a fraction of the more than 7,300 employees across the nation that are employed by USIC. The company hires workers whose job it is to identify and mark underground utility lines before any construction is undertaken in a given area.

The employees are requesting both higher wages and just compensation for required on-call hours. In addition, they are seeking more paid time off. The company and union workers were recently invited by the New York City Council members to sit down and address the issues. The council letter requested the presence of both parties and included the warning that the city could take legal action in the form of legislating the pay that workers receive through a bill that would add them to the city's other utility workers.

Such a measure could significantly increase these workers' pay. The council also threatened to pass a bill that would eliminate required on-call work. Workers had other grievances as well that concern working conditions.

The company, which reported earnings of an estimated $1.4 billion, has not publicly responded to the city's overture. The council has stated that the issue involves both public and employee safety. California workers who find themselves in a contentious employment contract dispute may decide to seek the assistance of an employment law attorney who may be able to resolve the matter while protecting the employee's best interest.

Source: NY Daily News, "Infrastructure company's union worker dispute headed to Council", Ginger Adams Otis, Dec. 2, 2017

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