Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

CWA Telephone Town Hall Call Tonight

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You won't want to miss the CWA national town hall call tonight at 7:30 pm, ET.

CWA President Larry Cohen will discuss the challenges and opportunities that face CWA and our movement for economic justice and democracy. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) will be joining to give us the latest updates on the effort to reform the Senate rules and end the silent filibuster. Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford will be on the call to discuss the Democracy Initiative, a new coalition of progressive organizations brought together by CWA, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and the NAACP. We'll also hear about NABET-CWA's seven-year fight for a new contract at KGTV in San Diego and the campaign for union representation at American Airlines.

American Agents Standing Strong for a CWA Voice

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American Airlines agents and CWA are continuing their efforts to get a voice on the job and in their future, following a narrow loss in the representation election among 7,800 agents.

The vote for CWA fell just 150 votes short of the required majority of voting agents, out of nearly 6,000 votes cast. The National Mediation Board announced the vote on Jan. 15.

Hundreds of agents at American Airlines have been active in this fight for a union for more than 15 years, and they won't stop now. There is no doubt that this group will get the union voice they want, and the potential merger of American Airlines and US Airways provides another opportunity for American agents to have a union voice, since US Airways agents have union representation.

Salma Kassam, a Dallas-Fort Worth agent, said agents did very well, considering all the obstacles the company put in front of them.

"We only lost by 150 votes," said Rosemary Capasso, another DFW agent. "That is nothing. We will get more votes from Dallas-Ft. Worth next time, and I know you feel the same way in Chicago, JFK, Miami. Next time we will win."

American Airlines filed for bankruptcy in late 2011, with $4 billion in the bank. Last year, it cut 2,000 agents' jobs, and forced some reservations agents to work at home or leave the airline. There are just about 7,800 agents today, down from nearly 10,000 about a year ago.

"The fact that agents even got to this election is a feat in itself, given that their vote was delayed more than a year. Agents at American Airlines will continue to stand strong and work for a voice at their airline, and CWA will be with them," said CWA Organizing Director Sandy Rusher. "These are amazing leaders who have given their heart, integrity, intelligence, commitment and determination to this effort. We'll continue to work with them."

Take Action Today to Fix the Senate Now!

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Today is a final big push to let Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and all our senators know that we need real reform to fix the Senate NOW.

Today, on Capitol Hill, activists from CWA, the United Auto Workers, Common Cause and other groups are delivering nearly 1 million petitions to Senators from their constituents, calling on those Senators to support an end to the silent filibuster and other reforms that will restore debate to the Senate. The petitions urge Senators to co-sponsor and support Senate Resolution 4, a package of real reforms that will enable the Senate to actually debate and discuss critical issues for all of us. Here's a fact sheet with details on exactly what Senate Resolution 4 will do. 

Similar visits are underway to Senate offices in Maryland, Florida, Ohio, California and other states.

Also happening today, more than 36 groups, all part of the Fix the Senate Now Coalition, have contacted their members to generate tens of thousands of phone calls to Capitol Hill.

Check out CWA's online campaign running today on major publications, like The Huffington Post, and other sites, and sign the petition.

It's not too late: call your senators now at 1-877-795-7862, and urge them to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 4.

The Senate will take up rules reform when it returns to work next week.

Text RULESREFORM to 69866 for more info, and stay tuned at www.fixthesenatenow.org. On Facebook and Twitter.

Watch President Cohen Talk Filibuster Reform

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CWA President Cohen and Bill Moyers discuss filibuster and Senate rules reform. Photo credit: Dale Robbins/Moyers & Company

CWA President Larry Cohen has been making the case for real Senate rules reform on several news and political shows.

The campaign to reform the Senate rules has less than a week to go, with the Senate expected to vote on a reform proposal next Wed., Jan. 23.

 

  • Earlier this week, Cohen and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), one of the leaders of real Senate reform, appeared on MSNBC's PoliticsNation to talk about why ending the silent filibuster was so important. "You can name almost any issue that we all care about whether it's workers' rights, whether it's health care reform, whether it's immigration, the DISCLOSE Act, fighting foreclosures. None of those bills ever get the floor," Cohen told host Al Sharpton. "They filibuster the motion to proceed. They don't talk. They can call the cloak room from anywhere in the country, and one senator objects. And then it takes 60 to move the bill forward. This is a disgrace. No democracy in the world operates like this," he said.

    Watch the entire interview here.

     

  • This weekend, watch Larry Cohen talk about filibuster reform with Bill Moyers on the award winning Moyers and Company.

    Here's the PBS promo: On this week's Moyers & Company (check the broadcast time in your area), Larry Cohen, president of the 700,000-member Communications Workers of America, joins Moyers to make the case for common-sense filibuster reform that would bring the Senate back to serving democracy. Cohen is a leader of the Democracy Initiative, a coalition of nearly 50 progressive organizations campaigning hard to change the filibuster rules not to deny a minority the right to be heard, but to hold Senators accountable by bringing back the requirement that they show up in person and talk in plain sight, so we can know who's holding democracy hostage. But time is not on their side. Unless the Senate reforms the filibuster on Tuesday, the minority wrecking crew remains in charge for the next two years. "We think our members and working people in this country and most Americans would say it's fair: people get elected, at some point the majority should rule," Cohen tells Bill Moyers.

     

  • On Friday, Jan. 18, Cohen will talk Senate rules with Ed Schultz on the Ed Show. Tune in to MSNBC at 8 p.m. EST.

     

  • This ad is running now and early next week on cable television news and political shows.

 

Make Sure Your Voice is Heard as CWA Builds a Movement for Justice and Democracy

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CWA's movement building website is live!

And CWAers are talking about how they're building our movement. From a CWA-Sierra Club partnership in Texas to Stand Up Ohio to work with Jobs with Justice in communities across the country, we have stories to tell about the work we're doing.

By joining forces with other organizations, like civil rights groups, women's organizations, students, religious groups, environmentalists and many more, we grow stronger. That's the way we'll reach our goals. If we don't work together, we won't make any progress on our core issues: good jobs, retirement security, health care and bargaining rights.

At www.cwa-union.org/voices, you can download resources and learn more about our fight for economic justice and democracy. Just as important, you can share your story that will be posted on the interactive map and will inspire more activists to join in.

It's easy to do. Just click on the "Share Your Story" button and follow the instructions to make your own message. Stories should be between 1 and 2 minutes.

More New Jersey Hospital Workers Join CWA

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A unit of 73 certified nursing assistants joined CWA last week, growing the union's presence at a recently privatized county hospital.

The 34-4 vote capped off a year of intense worksite, community, and political organizing at Aspen Hills/Buttonwood Hospital in New Jersey. CWA Local 1036 has now organized more than 150 workers at the hospital.

"We have organized almost all of the non-management jobs at the now-private facility. It took the courage of the new workers to vote for CWA, many of whom will now be in a union for the first time," reported CWA District Organizing Coordinator Anne Luck.

Early last year Burlington County's legislature, or Freeholder Board, voted to privatize the hospital. Rather than lose the unit, CWA Local 1036 fought to protect workers' representation rights. Members strengthened their community coalition in its battle against the County and the hospital's new owners, Aspen Hills/Ocean Healthcare. In September, 50 workers won voluntary recognition.

Then in November, after canvassing and phone banking for three months, CWAers defeated the two incumbent Republican members of the Freeholder Board who had voted in favor of the $15 million sale and privatization of the hospital. The Democratic challengers had campaigned in part by supporting workers and advocating the role of good union jobs in quality health care.

AFA-CWA Sues Spirit Airlines for Equal Health Benefits for Domestic Partners

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AFA-CWA has filed a lawsuit against Spirit Airlines for denying equal health care benefits to employees' legally recognized domestic partners. The lawsuit accuses the airline's management of exploiting procedural loopholes to avoid this contractual obligation and forcing domestic partners into a lower-quality health care plan than the one covering other employees.

"We are outraged that management refuses to treat the families of their employees equally," said Todd St. Pierre, AFA-CWA President at Spirit. "At a time when equality issues have sparked a social awakening across our nation, management's trampling on employees' rights is deplorable. Their discriminatory behavior must be rectified immediately. Flight Attendants worked hard to ensure that these rights were included in our legally binding contract so that we could provide healthcare security for our loved ones. Shame on Spirit management for their blatant disregard for equality and for turning their backs on their obligations."

AFA-CWA filed a grievance in July after management violated the collective bargaining to provide equal benefits for all employees. Despite an impartial arbitrator's ruling in AFA-CWA's favor, management continues to discriminate against Flight Attendants on this matter.

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