installers' union push fits with U.S. telecom trend
By Beth Potter, Staff Writer
Monday, January 6, 2006
Six cable installers in Alamosa who decided to become union
members to fight for a raise are part of a growing national
Many non-union cable workers who install high-speed Internet
and phone service question why they don't make as much as
their unionized telephone colleagues who do the same thing,
said Bresnan Communications lead cable technician Art
Danforth and co-workers at Bresnan make $16 to $18 an hour,
while similarly trained phone workers make $25 to $30, said
Danforth, who joined the Communications Workers of America
with five co-workers after almost slicing off his thumb in a
work-related accident in August 2004.
"Our jobs are very comparable to the telephone people, and
our working conditions are very comparable," Danforth said.
"We want to increase our wages and increase our voice."
Bresnan workers make "a very good wage" and get training to
install new cable offerings such as high-speed Internet and
phone service, said Maureen Huff, spokes woman for Bresnan,
which operates in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah.
Fewer than 100 of Bresnan's approximately 900 workers are
union members, Huff said.
Colorado phone installers and technicians for Denver-based
Qwest are union members, a spokesman said. Virtually all
area cable workers, including those at EchoStar and DirecTV,
Nationwide, about 24 percent of phone and cable workers are
union, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The number of union cable workers may be increasing, said
Elizabeth Ashack, a labor bureau economist, even though the
number of telecom union members has been stagnant in recent
"Traditionally, they haven't made as much as the telephone
guys, so now they're trying to organize," she said. "It
makes perfect sense. There's an increased demand for those
types of cable guys."
Staff writer Beth Potter
can be reached at 303-820-1503 or