The TWU, USW Local 1944 is saddened to announce that former Business Agent Chris Andersen has recently passed away.
Chris was active and involved in the union when it was still known as the Federation of Telephone Workers and became a Business Agent representing clerical locals in the 1970s and early 1980s (after the name had been changed to Telecommunications Workers Union).
A strong unionist, Chris was always there when needed. One example of this was in 1974. At the time, the clerical appendix of the collective agreement contained language that entitled workers to extra pay when they were training new employees. When a worker refused to train a new employee without the extra pay, the company suspended her (the company claimed that the worker was not training the new employee but was merely “familiarizing” her). As Chris Andersen stated, the refusal to pay the higher rate and the subsequent suspension amounted to “the company trying to gain things during the life of the contract that weren’t originally negotiated”.
Sympathetic walkouts followed the suspension until there were eventually 10,000 telephone workers off the job. When the company finally agreed to lift the suspension, the union agreed to binding arbitration where the arbitrator “upheld the union’s contention that employees who trained new staff should be classified in a higher pay group”.
The Telecommunications Workers Union, United Steelworkers National Local 1944