Beginning the first week of March, organizers for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) began contacting workers in Washington who install and repair satellite TV dishes for DirecTV. They’ll launch a similar effort in Oregon in the coming weeks. Last year, nonunion DirecTV was acquired by AT&T, a heavily unionized company which has neutrality agreements with IBEW and Communications Workers of America (CWA). Under the agreements, AT&T doesn’t oppose union campaigns, and grants union recognition if a majority of workers in a unit sign cards within 60 days of the beginning of a union campaign.
IBEW represents other satellite TV workers in the Pacific Northwest, including subcontractors for DirecTV’s competitor Dish Network. If IBEW signs up a majority of the roughly 400 Oregon and Washington DirecTV workers, they would begin bargaining a first contract and would eventually become members of IBEW Local 89, a telecommunications local headquartered just north of Everett, Washington.