Sacramento-area DirecTV technicians continued to strike for a fourth day Thursday in solidarity with a colleague they believe was unfairly fired.
The roughly 130 workers who install and maintain satellite dishes between Fairfield and Lake Tahoe faced a new hurdle Thursday: They could no longer enter the McClellan DirecTV office to use the restroom, said Mike Felmann, a DirecTV employee. Felmann also serves as the vice president of the Communication Workers for America Union Local 9421.
“I’m a little irritated about what they are trying to do,” he said. “They are obviously trying to make it as difficult as they can.”
The workers began the strike Monday in front of the DirecTV office in McClellan Business Park after technician Anthony Estrada was fired from the company. Estrada said he was fired for losing a $300 meter used by installation technicians to aim satellite dishes in the right direction while he was at a commercial job site.
Both Estrada and Felmann said firing was too severe a move by the company. Neither of them have heard of an employee being fired for losing a tool or a meter in the past, they said.
AT&T spokesman Marty Richter said in an email that the company took the proper steps in firing Estrada and argued that it looked at the entirety of his work history instead of an isolated incident. AT&T and DirecTV completed a merger in 2015.
When asked about keeping employees out of the McClellan facility, he said the company was “following our normal process when employees are not working.”
Felmann said technicians on strike were also being told that they had to be clocked into work to submit requests for time off. Richter again said the company was following procedure and recommended that employees with urgent needs contact a supervisor.
Felmann has not been able to meet with local management to negotiate Estrada’s return to work, he said.
“The guys want to work,” Felmann said. “They will return to work as soon as they agree to that or something similar.”