MATTOON – Consolidated Communications officials expect members of IBEW Local 702 to return to work beginning this evening at 9 p.m. Company officials were approached by the IBEW Local 702 leadership Tuesday evening to inform the company their membership was returning to work without a contract.
Ryan Whitlock, Director of Human Resources, said the company has been working throughout the day Wednesday to prepare for the union workforce to come back and is glad they made this decision. “Our business is complex, and in order to integrate the large number of union employees back into the work force with the least disruption to our customers we needed a day to prepare,” Whitlock said. “We have work orders staged and customer commitments and it’s our responsibility to meet these commitments.”
Whitlock added that it is the IBEW leadership’s responsibility to provide accurate information to the membership, and that he was unsure what employees had been told.
“Unfortunately, we do not know what has, or has not, been communicated to the membership through their IBEW leadership during this process, but its clear there is misinformation circulating. Our concern is that employees have not had accurate information with which to make personal decisions,” Whitlock said.
On Monday, Consolidated Communications sent a letter to union members’ homes to clarify important information about the work stoppage, and IBEW members began receiving that letter as early as Tuesday afternoon.
Union members declared a work stoppage at 10 p.m. Thursday, December 6. Both sides have agreed to resume negotiations on Thursday.
The company’s union-represented employees include technicians, customer service representatives, repair, warehouse and facilities employees.
The Communication Centers in Mattoon, Taylorville and Litchfield, Illinois are expected to reopen Thursday, Dec. 13.