Today, March 18, 2020, IWW members at CapTel engaged in a sickout at both the Madison and Milwaukee offices.
CapTel workers at Milwaukee are demanding a living wage – defined as $15 an hour – as part of their five-point platform which they have been advocating for since 2014, which includes: 90 percent adherence policy, better equipment and maintenance, transportation compensation of $10 per week, and a voice in how the company is run with union representatives given access to mediate conflicts.
Similarly, CapTel workers in Madison are demanding $15 an hour and a defined, compensated sick leave plan.
At the moment, CapTel workers in Madison are now able to call off sick without receiving any penalty, but are uncompensated. One worker stated that, “We’re afraid that we are essentially being forced to go into work during the coronavirus spread, when others aren’t. If we are quarantined and can’t go to work, we’ll be late on rent. We don’t want to be treated like we don’t matter.”
CapTel workers are classified as Telecommunications Service Priority Level 3, the same level given to that of state and local police and fire departments, but are paid at much lower rates than other emergency workers.
Call volumes throughout shifts have increased as a result of COVID-19, increasing process times for emergency responses. Without a pay increase, turnover rates could continue to rise, affecting both the workers and consumers. We call upon CapTel to meet these workers’ demands and support their workforce during these troubling economic times.