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Anti-robocall activist sues union, labor federation

Local man alleges election-related call was telemarketing; union disputes claim

Posted: November 15, 2012 6:04 p.m.
Updated: November 15, 2012 6:04 p.m.

A Santa Clarita Valley anti-robocall activist has filed lawsuits against his electrician’s union and the state labor federation for allegedly making unwanted robocalls to his cellphone, a labor representative has confirmed.

“We did get some notice yesterday and, yes, he did file a small claims complaint against the federation,” Steve Smith, spokesman for the California Labor Federation, said Thursday.

Robert Arkow, listed online as living on Seco Canyon Road in Valencia, is suing the federation and the electricians union to which he belongs — the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 45.

Officials at the union local on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles declined to comment on the lawsuit Thursday.

Although Arkow could not be reached for comment by phone Thursday, his views on unwanted cellphone calls are documented on a website devoted to the subject.

Arkow, founder and president of Californians Against Telephone Solicitation, explains concerns about receiving unwanted calls on

The robocall that sparked his latest civil suit was an invitation to electrical workers to learn about Proposition 30 via a “town hall teleconference,” Smith said.

“Union members were called and asked if they wanted to participate in this event to learn more about Proposition 30,” he told The Signal Thursday.

“We feel it’s an important distinction between this and your standard telemarketing call,” he said. “This is just asking folks if they want to participate.”

Federal law prohibits unwanted phone calls made automatically by machines.

Proposition 30, The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012, was put on the November ballot by the state Legislature at Gov. Jerry Brown’s request to generate about $6 billion in annual revenue from 2012-13 through 2016-17.

It was narrowly passed on election night.




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