Tower Climbers Reach Settlement With QualTek Wireless

Tower Climbers Union/Communications Workers of America members who worked at QualTek Wireless in Henderson, NV, before it declared bankruptcy have reached a settlement with the company that will provide them with a severance package of $40,000. In May 2023, QualTek filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 and layed off its workers after suffering losses of more than $100 million in 2022 and 2021.

A year before, in May 2022, Qualtek’s tower technicians won formal union representation. As a result, the company was required under U.S. labor law to bargain with the union over the impact of the layoffs. The settlement will be split among the eight workers who were employed by QualTek in Henderson at the time of the layoffs.

“If we hadn’t formed our union, QualTek could have just handed us our pink slips and waved goodbye,” said Derek Combs, a member of the Tower Climbers Union/CWA and former QualTek tower technician. “Instead, they had to sit down with us and work out a settlement. The severance money is a big help for us and our families.”

In July, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas approved the reorganization plan of QualTek, which allowed it to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Through the confirmed plan, QualTek shed $307 million of debt. Qualtek entered into $25 million exit term loan financing, in addition to the $40 million DIP financing. An ABL facility with $101.2 million will be available. QualTek emerged from bankruptcy proceedings last month.

By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor

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