Article 2 is one issue. Most other districts do not have it to protect low senoirity personnel. Then health care. Not sure how hard the struggle is for "Prem Techs" to get same pay as I/R or is it I/M. Prety much the same job.
Addendum: it still seems clear that prem techs rise to the I+M level, or I+M falls to theirs. If the latter, landline fails. That means undependable cel sites- because we maintain the fiber too. I have no idea what happens after that-but with no economy to support an an outfit which must depend on economy of scale to survive...well- it looks grim to my admittedly prejudiced eye.
I believe there are substantial differences; it's only the same insofar as the inside wiring is concerned- and unlike I+M, they lack the test equipment to find and fix problems. You have to remember that the basic I+M class was two weeks of pole climbing and ladder safety, followed by six weeks of classroom instruction (preceded by refreshers in pole climbing every morning) followed by two months of OJT. The prem tech course is two weeks, followed by a week of OJT provided by other techs- and the job title is so new that there are no "old guys". The best prem techs are splicing techs or core I+M surplussed from other positions who took that job to keep a foot in the door. No...not the same at all- especially given the lack of test gear. Of course, even I+M is being dumbed down quite a bit these days... the bean counters have their hooks in the meat of this company now- and they never did grasp what takes place where the rubber meets the road.