Roughly 130 DirecTV technicians working out of Sacramento continued to strike Wednesday morning over what they called the wrongful termination of a former employee.
The strike began Monday after Anthony Estrada, a technician who has installed and performed maintenance on satellite dishes for the company for the past two years, was fired earlier that day.
Estrada said DirecTV management cited a December incident in which he reported the loss of a $300 meter used to aim satellite dishes in the right direction as the reason for his termination. Estrada said he left the meter at a commercial location where he was performing work and when he returned, the meter was gone.
“I’ve never heard anyone being fired for losing a meter or a tool,” he said. “That completely surprised me.”
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The strike brought out roughly 130 employees to a DirecTV office Wednesday morning in McClellan Business Park. Many of the striking workers are technicians who install or maintain TV satellite dishes three to four times a day between Fairfield and the Lake Tahoe area, said Mike Felmann, a DirecTV technician.
Felmann, also vice president of the Communication Workers for America Union Local 9421, said the company took an extreme step in firing Estrada. He said the strike would continue until Estrada was offered his job back.
“It’s completely heartbreaking to have something like this happen to you or a co-worker,” he said. “The fear of not knowing if you’re next is a real problem.”
The strike took place as thousands of DirecTV and AT&T workers in California continued to bargain for new labor contracts, according to a news release sent out by strike organizers. The two companies completed a merger in 2015.
There is no mutually agreed-upon grievance process in place between the local chapter and DirecTV, Felmann said.
In an email, AT&T spokesman Marty Richter countered Felmann’s point, saying management acted based on “agreed-upon disciplinary process with the CWA, and have confirmed it was followed in this case.”
Richter said he could not disclose details about the disciplinary actions levied against any employee due to privacy rules, but he said the company took into account factors such as Estrada’s performance and disciplinary records when making its decision.
The outcome was discussed with union members before Estrada was terminated, Richter said.
The company has tapped additional technicians to minimize disruptions for DirecTV customers brought on by the strike, Richter said.
“We are prepared, and we are continuing to serve customers,” he said.