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Tower Climbers Fight Back, Win Settlement With QualTek Wireless

In 2022, my coworkers and I made history by becoming the first group of tower technicians in the United States to win formal union representation with the Tower Climbers Union/CWA. But one year later, 7 of my coworkers and I were laid off when QualTek Wireless in Henderson, Nevada filed for bankruptcy. 

We know we are not alone in this – many workers in our industry are facing layoffs right now and are struggling to find work. But because we are union, we were able to sit down with QualTek management and negotiate the terms of our layoffs. 

We recently reached a settlement with the company that will provide all of us workers with a severance package and make it easier for workers to organize at QualTek in Henderson in the future. The total amount of the severance package is $40,000, which will be split among the 8 of us. 

QualTek also signed a neutrality agreement, which means that the company will remain neutral if and when workers want to join a union in the future.

We were able to secure this settlement because under U.S. labor law, QualTek was required to bargain with our union over the impact of the layoffs. The settlement is a result of that bargaining, and an example of the power we have when we are organized.

If we hadn’t formed our union, QualTek could have just handed us our pink slips and waved goodbye. Instead, they had to sit down with us and work out a settlement. 

The severance money is a big help for us and our families. The agreement we worked out for the company to remain neutral when workers want to join a union means that the movement for better working conditions and safety in our industry that we helped start will get stronger.

Read the full press release here. 

In Unity, 

Derek Combs,
member of the Tower Climbers Union/CWA 
and former QualTek tower technician