Communications Workers Protest Tennessee, JLL Privatization Scheme
[Sara Steffens, CWA International Secretary Treasurer]: “When our public workers are under attack, what do we do? [Stand up, fight back!] What do we do? [Stand up, fight back!]”
Dozens of Communications Workers Of America members in Pittsburgh Tuesday for the union’s national convention marched outside offices of real estate giant JLL to protest the privatization of service jobs at state-owned college campuses in Tennessee. Diana Moyer is President of United Campus Workers, UCW-CWA Local 3865:
[Diana Moyer]: “We’re standing here outside of the JLL Building. Our governor in Tennessee is trying to outsource thousands of public facility services jobs to this multi-national company. They want to take good jobs and turn them into low-paying jobs without security. Governor Haslam, one of the richest elected politicians in the country is behind this. The governor has tried to claim that this is going to save millions in taxpayers’ money, and like many outsourcing claims, these are false promises. People are gonna lose good jobs, and that taxpayer money, where it’s going to is for profiting JLL. It’s going out of Tennessee. We have people who have contracts with these universities, local businesses, that will lose those contracts. It also loses accountability and transparancy. It’s a bad deal for taxpayers.””
While Governor Bill Haslam has already signed a contract with JLL, the CWA, which has been fighting the proposal for nearly two years, is calling on individual campuses to opt out of the privatization scheme. A majority of state legislators from both sides of the aisle share the union’s concerns about the effect of the outsourcing proposal on state jobs and the economy and had called on the governor to delay signing the deal.
CWA International President Chris Shelton called on workers to stand up against the spread of privatization efforts nationwide`:
[Chris Shelton]: “What they’re trying to do here is destroy good, union jobs in the state of Tennessee, but Tennessee is just the next one on the list. We have to stop this in Tennessee so that they can’t do this all over the United States. We’re not going to let them. When these dirty bastards come to your state, we have to know so that we can stop them, because if it keeps going, they’re gonna go from state to state to state, that’s their plan. This fight is just starting.”
Thanks to the Labor Video Project for this audio, laborvideo.org