Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

AFA-CWA Wins Strong Tentative Agreement for United Flight Attendants

Ratification Vote Soon; Pact Improves Pay, Job Security, Flexibility


AFA-CWA Flight Attendants at United Airlines are preparing to vote on a tentative agreement reached with United last weekend through expedited mediation. Covering 15,000 Flight Attendants, the agreement makes significant strides in pay, protections against involuntary furloughs and increased work schedule flexibility.

The union defeated hundreds of concessionary proposals from United, including changes to healthcare and pay protections.

Under the agreement, Flight Attendants' wages at United would return to pre-bankruptcy levels, with 17.5 percent pay raises over three years. Flight Attendants would immediately get a 10 percent wage increase and a $5,000 signing bonus.

"For 10 years, United Flight Attendants have been fighting just to hang on, just to minimize the damage, just to live to fight another day," said AFA-CWA President Veda Shook, praising members' determination in defeating United's concessions. "This agreement provides restoration of wages, flexibility and quality-of-life improvements. It resets the industry negotiations and gets us moving forward."

Greg Davidowitch, AFA-CWA President at United, said, "Despite many obstacles and challenges, we remained undeterred from our number-one goal of reaching an agreement that addresses immediate needs and serves as a stepping stone to a single contract with our flying partners from Continental and Continental Micronesia. We are not done. This is just the first step toward the contract Flight Attendants are due."

AFA-CWA is mailing the agreement to every member's home and preparing for membership meetings at 14 locations in the United States and overseas.

After 3-Year Battle, Intense Bargaining Yields Tentative Contract at NBC

Locals Prepare for Ratification Votes; Results to Be Announced in February

A long campaign of solidarity for NABET-CWA members at NBC Universal has paid off, as the union and company reached a tentative agreement this week with wage and job security improvements. The last contract expired March 31, 2009.

"Our members have waited three years to have a decent contract offer on the table," NABET-CWA President Jim Joyce said. "Through their solidarity and the diligence of the union's negotiating committee, we were able to obtain significant improvements from NBC's previous offer last July."

Joyce added, "I am confident that now, one year after the Comcast merger, and with this contract in place, as NBC Universal horizons expand, our members' work opportunities will expand."

The tentative contract, which would run through March 31, 2015, is the result of numerous bargaining sessions over the past three weeks in New York, and has the unanimous recommendation of the union's bargaining team, Joyce said.

The contract applies to about 2,500 staff and daily-hire employees working as broadcast technicians, newswriters, building, air conditioning and plant maintenance personnel, staging services personnel and couriers at various NBC network and local TV station operations in New York, Chicago, Burbank and Washington D.C., as well as NBC News and NBC Sports. The new contract will run through March 31, 2015.

The contract offers a total of 8 percent in wage increases over the next three years, in addition to a signing bonus upon ratification. In the area of job security, the contract provides numerous layoff protections for staff employees, and calls for the conversion of a number of daily-hire jobs into full-time staff positions.

NABET-CWA locals will be holding membership meetings in preparation for ratification votes over the next few weeks. Joyce said votes will be tallied by Feb. 10.

High-Impact Campaign Fighting Indiana 'Right to Work' Bill

CWA Helps Coordinate as Statehouse Draws Thousands of Activists Daily



Statehouse Sign-In Table-Jan12

CWA Local 4900's Coleen Martin and Angie Schritter work the union "help desk" inside the Indiana statehouse as part of the campaign to defeat "right-to-work" legislation.




With a campaign that is flooding the Indiana statehouse with thousands of activists every day, CWA and other unions are determined to stop Republican leaders from ramming an anti-union "right-to-work" bill through the legislature.

Union members with clipboards are positioned at entries in the capitol, where long lines of activists stretch down the street. Volunteers sign in visitors and direct them to the "help desk," a table staffed with activists armed with laptop computers. They help visitors identify their representative and suggest other lawmakers to visit who are wavering on the issue.

"We're really focusing on educating people about the issue and how to lobby for it," said CWA Local 4900's Angie Schritter, Legislative-Political Action Team coordinator. "We talk to them about the facts about 'right-to-work' states, the fact that wages are lower in those states, that on-the-job injuries and fatalities are significantly higher, that even infant mortality rates are higher."

As hundreds of activists visit various Indiana statehouse offices each day, "It's driving some of the office staff crazy," Schritter said. "We are sending a very strong message."



IUE @ Indiana Statehouse-Jan12

IUE retirees and Local 4730 members, with sign, are among other CWAers helping fight the anti-union bill.

Local 4730 Members




Based on the fire marshal's estimates during the first week of January, Schritter said 3,000 is the fewest number of people who came through the capitol. Typically, 5,000 to 7,000 people arrived daily, from union members and allies to people who wish they had the chance to join a union.

"I had a 73-year-old grandfather here today and he said, 'I'm doing this for my grandkids,'" Schritter said.

The capitol was filled to the brim the night of Jan. 10, as Gov. Mitch Daniels gave his State of the State address. TVs were set up in overflow rooms, but it was almost impossible to hear with the huge crowd, many of whom angrily booed their governor and the Republicans for pushing "right-to-work."

Many Democrats skipped the speech, and have been refusing to show up to legislative sessions, denying the Republican majority the quorum it needs to pass the bill, which has been approved by House and Senate committees. Last year, Democrats fled Indiana for five weeks to block the bill in the 2010 session.

"After the speech, the Democrats who did attend got up and left immediately to absolutely roaring applause," Schritter said. "They came through and shook everyone's hands. It was great. Then the Republicans got up to leave and the boos were unbelievable."

Although she couldn't see inside the chamber, she heard that "quite a few Republicans" didn't stand and cheer when Daniels talked about right to work. "We are definitely having an impact," she said. "We know there are Republicans who don't want to support this bill, but they are afraid to go against their leadership. We are appealing to them to do the right thing."

Among the broad support for workers, NFL players, who are union members themselves, are calling on Republicans to kill the bill. "'Right-to-work' is a political ploy designed to destroy basic workers' rights. It's not about jobs or rights, and it's the wrong priority for Indiana," the NFL Players Association said in a statement last week (PDF).

Daniels and Republican leaders are anxious to pass the bill so the controversy will die down before Indianapolis hosts the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

As the CWA Newsletter was being published Jan. 12, union activists in their favorite NFL gear were preparing for a march from the statehouse to the Colts' stadium.

Offshoring Bill Shows Path to Returning U.S. Call Center Jobs

Call Center Postcard


Focusing on ways to return jobs to the United States, a White House forum on "insourcing" this week highlighted the return of 400 US Airways reservations jobs to Winston-Salem, N.C., Phoenix, Ariz., and Reno, Nev.

CWA, which represents US Airways agents along with the Teamsters, negotiated for the return of reservations work; another 300 jobs were returned to the U.S. about 18 months earlier.

U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), who is sponsoring bipartisan legislation to keep U.S. call center jobs from being offshored, asked President Obama to include the bill in the forum's work going forward.

In a letter to Obama, Bishop noted the half-million call center jobs that have been lost over the past four years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Teleservices Association. "These job losses are a direct consequence of corporate practices and incentives that encourage continued off-shoring and outsourcing...and also placed consumers' personal information at risk to security breaches," he wrote.

He said he and other lawmakers are working with CWA and allies "to identify new incentives and expand accountability and transparency in the call center industry."

Forum participants included CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins. "To those who say they must ship call center jobs overseas because of cost, we challenge them to look at U.S. companies that are bringing jobs back to the U.S.," he said.

Collins said Bishop's bill "doesn't stop a corporation from moving jobs overseas. But it makes it clear that corporations must make a choice. Corporations that don't want to keep good jobs here in the U.S. won't be able to benefit from federal grants and guaranteed loans. No more handouts from the taxpayers for those who choose not to keep good jobs in the U.S."

CWA Legislative-Political Action Team activists are distributing and collecting postcards from CWAers that call on members of Congress to support H.R. 3596, the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act. Activists also are sending op-eds and letters to the editor to local newspapers and are reaching out to their members of Congress to build support for the bill.

Learn more at

CWA/USW Health and Safety Conference March 5-9 in Pittsburgh

Registration is open for the 2012 CWA/USW Health and Safety Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa., March 5-9. This year's conference, hosted jointly every other year by CWA and the Steelworkers, focuses on identifying workplace hazards and will offer workshops on hazard mapping, heat stress, ergonomics, hazardous materials and other topics.

Space is limited for the conference and training, so local safety and health activists are urged to register as soon as possible. Online registrations will be completed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Participants have the option of attending only the first day, attending the first three days, or staying the full week:


  • For the Monday, March 5, union plenary session and CWA activist meeting, the fee is $75.


  • For Monday's events plus two days of training Tuesday and Wednesday, the fee is $200.


  • For the full week, with four days of training, the fee is $400.

A free continental breakfast will be provided each day at the Westin Pittsburgh Convention Center Hotel. The hotel rate is $125 plus tax for a single/double room per night. There is a $10 charge for each additional person.

Click here to register for the conference only. To make hotel reservations by phone, call the Westin at (412) 281-3700 and identify yourself as attending the CWA/USW 2012 Health, Safety, and Environment Conference.

Click here to book a hotel room online.

If you have questions, contact CWA Safety and Health Director Dave LeGrande at or by phone at (202) 434-1160.

The next issue of the CWA News will focus on workplace safety and health issues. Does your local have a story idea? Please let us know by emailing

Alltel and Non-Profit Workers Join CWA

To get better pay, benefits and working conditions, former Alltel workers at AT&T Mobility are continuing to join CWA through majority sign-up. The latest are 15 network technicians in Montana.

A month earlier, over 100 former Alltel workers at AT&T Mobility joined CWA in New Mexico, Colorado, and Minnesota.

In Washington, D.C., 10 workers at the non-profit organization Washington Empowered Against Violence gained TNG-CWA representation in an NLRB election.


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