Jan 23, 2002 at 12:00 am

The drama continues in the battle between the Communications Workers of America and Comcast Cable. CWA Local 4107 in Port Huron is proclaiming victory after penning a National Labor Relations Board settlement with Comcast on the eve of a hearing set for Jan. 15. Jan Rich, president of 4107, hails the settlement because it requires the company to bargain in good faith and not participate in anti-union activities. The company, which admitted no wrongdoing, must also make payments to technicians retroactive to Oct. 1, 2001, about $300 apiece for 43 employees. The union has been without a contract since Comcast came to town in January 2001.

“They’re a ruthless company,” says Rich, who’s represented cable workers around Port Huron for 30 years. Comcast spokesman Bill Black refutes Rich’s interpretation of the settlement, saying “boilerplate language” requires both sides to act in good faith. “The CWA is attempting to use the NLRB and its extended and expensive litigation process to put pressure on Comcast” for contract concessions, Black says. The company is presenting a contract proposal this week, he says, and the union is giving “half the story.”

Following up on our recent cover story about Comcast in Detroit, union workers here plan protests Saturday and Monday at the corporation’s Lyndon Street headquarters. Stella Howard, president of CWA Local 4100, says the goal is to get Comcast “to honor our contract and to respect the union workers.”

Lisa M. Collins contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]