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PUC Again Refuses to Arbitrate Labor Dispute

Fortnightly Magazine - September 15 1995

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has once again turned back an attempt by the Communications Workers of America to invoke state utility regulation to solve labor complaints against Pacific Bell.The union had complained that PacBell's use of lower-paid technicians to perform duties allegedly reserved for higher-paid contract classifications violated the state's public utility code. (The CPUC had earlier dismissed a similar complaint involving the use of nonunion workers on certain corporate marketing programs.)

In rejecting the latest complaint, the CPUC again refused to broker a dispute it viewed as involving interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement that already contained an arbitration clause. It saw no reason to investigate further even if PacBell might have failed to pass along any cost savings to ratepayers. CWA v. Pacific Bell, Case 94-11-002, Decision 95-06-057, June 21, 1995 (Cal.P.U.C.). t

Phillip S. Cross is an associate legal editor of PUBLIC



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