Make sure to join us next week for our next Union Hall Call for an
update on Verizon bargaining and the important work CWA activists are
doing all across the country.
Click here to sign up now to join the call on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at
7:30 p.m. EST.
During 2012 we will build on the energy and excitement of 2011 as we
gain momentum and strengthen our movement. Together we will stand united
against the billionaires, corporate executives, and right-wing
politicians who continue to attack our rights.
Make sure you are part of it by joining our call next week.
CWA has asked the National Labor Relations Board to throw out a
narrow Jan. 6 union election loss for 13 workers at a Verizon Wireless
facility in Bloomington, Ill., charging that the company repeatedly
violated the law to ensure the vote would go its way.
Widespread support existed for a union last November when the retail
sales workers and customer service representatives contacted CWA to
assist them in organizing. When workers petitioned for an election, 76
percent supported the union. By the time the election was held two
months later, the vote was 7-6 against the union, a result of the
company's illegal tactics.
Verizon Wireless planted two "retail sales leads" in the unit to spy
on union supporters and thwart the campaign, according to CWA's
complaint. The company claimed the workers weren't supervisors, yet both
were required to attend management training and management-only
anti-union meetings. At least one employee claims to have witnessed or
overheard the planted workers reporting on the union campaign to
To further intimidate workers, the company also packed the small
facility with as many as seven top-level company executives for weeks
before the election. They included Verizon Wireless's top HR official,
Matt Antonek, who is headquartered in New Jersey, and the presidents of
the company's Midwest Area and Illinois/Wisconsin region. Some of the
top managers contacted union supporters at their homes, delivering their
anti-union message. At least five of the Verizon Wireless officials were
on hand at the facility during the election.
In one of the most serious violations, CWA charges that Verizon
Wireless illegally offered a member of the workers' organizing committee
a promotion to management at another facility, to take place after the
Union supporter Tyler Book said the company adopted an "either you're
pro-company or pro-union" stance before the election. "That really made
us angry that you can't be both pro-union and pro-company," Book said.
"We think it's a good way to make our company better."
"The tactics used by Matt Antonek and Verizon Wireless to undermine
the organizing effort of 13 workers are reprehensible," said CWA
District 4 Organizing Coordinator Curt Hess, who assisted the workers.
"Any group, with less courage and determination than that of the
Bloomington workers, would have easily crumbled under the company's
pressure long before an election could have taken place."
Activists Fired Up for Election Campaign to Recall Anti-Union
CWA Local 4630 retiree Tim Sager was one of the Wisconsin activists
selected to deliver boxes of petitions this week in the campaign to
recall Gov. Scott Walker. Local and national media watched as the 1
million-plus signatures were submitted.
Bursting with smiles and pride as the national media watched,
Wisconsin activists made history this week as they delivered more than 1
million petition signatures in the campaign to recall Gov. Scott Walker.
"It was snowing and it was cold, but I don't think too many of us
felt it," said CWA Local 4630 retiree Tim Sager, one of 140 activists
hand-picked to make the Jan. 17 delivery. "I couldn't think of a better
way to end the recall signature-gathering process than to actually be
able to physically carry a box of the petitions in and present it."
Nearly as many people signed the petitions as the 1.12 million who
voted for Walker in 2010. But his popularly began plummeting, even among
Republicans, as soon as he took office.
Walker immediately pushed the legislature to strip collective
bargaining rights from public workers, something he'd never talked about
doing during his campaign. His actions and arrogance set off a firestorm
of opposition that escalated as he slashed budgets for education and
vital services while championing tax breaks for corporations and the
rich. One in every four registered voters signed the petitions
supporting his recall.
The United Wisconsin recall campaign needs 540,209 valid signatures
to trigger an election that could oust Walker. It would be Wisconsin's
first-ever election to attempt to recall a governor, and only the third
nationally. Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state
senators are also targeted, and collectively nearly 1 million more
signatures were submitted to unseat them.
"Across the state, our CWA local activists have been an important
part of not only the million signatures to recall Walker but also the
recalls to take back the state Senate," CWA District 4 Vice President
Seth Rosen said. "We are ready to continue on to the next phase, the
election, and elect a governor and state senate that will bring back
good jobs and strong communities in Wisconsin."
When the broad-based United Wisconsin coalition held its first
meeting in Madison, Local 4630's Sager and his wife, Genny, signed up to
start collecting pledges from people who would support or be involved in
the recall campaign. Soon, Sager was appointed as one of two
coordinators in Green County, just south of Madison.
"I had absolutely no experience in organizing, other than being a
mobilization chair at one point for Local 4630," Sager said. "I started
following our (Democratic) state representative around as she did a
listening tour. I hung out a United Wisconsin sign and started
collecting signatures, pledges, looking for volunteers and that kind of
The coalition rewarded Sager and other county coordinators around the
state by inviting them to deliver the boxes full of petitions. After a
luncheon, they marched around the capitol square toward the Government
Accountability Office, where a truck full of boxes was waiting. Fellow
activists lined the sidewalks and cheered. The happiness was
"infectious," Sager said.
One by one, each member of the delivery team hoisted a box and walked
inside the state office building to a small room set up for collecting
the petitions. Wearing a yellow CWA retired members' button, Sager can
be seen prominently in footage aired Wednesday on MSNBC's
The Ed Show and the
Rachel Maddow Show.
The million-plus number was supposed to be a secret until a
celebration later that night, but it had leaked hours earlier. Even so,
Sager said, "it was still impressive at the party when you saw the big
signs with that 1 and six zeros."
CWA joins the Natural Resources Defense Council, SEIU, UAW, Transport
Workers Union, Sierra Club, United Steelworkers and Amalgamated Transit
Union in issuing the following statement:
The Keystone XL Pipeline is a complex project which deserved the
careful consideration regarding its environmental and economic impacts
that the Obama Administration planned to provide.
In a cynical move, the House Republican leadership called for a rapid
decision on the pipeline in exchange for agreeing to keep the payroll
tax cut in place. The payroll tax cut enacted last year has been an
important part of efforts to turn around our struggling economy. While
the House Republicans wrapped job creation rhetoric around their
pipeline demands, they have rejected numerous opportunities to support
programs creating good U.S. jobs. Here are a few of the jobs initiatives
proposed by the Obama administration that Republican members of Congress
- The House initially voted against again extending Unemployment
Insurance benefits, as well as against the measure to continue the cut
in payroll taxes. If the House action had held, the economy would have
lost 1.5 million jobs.
- The Republicans are blocking any consideration of the Restore the
American Dream Act which would create/save 2.3 million jobs in 2012
and 3.1 million jobs in 2013 without offering any alternative that
would lead to direct job creation.
- The Republicans opposed the extension of the Highway Trust Fund
which would create 100,000s of jobs and provide for critical
- The House Republicans allowed the funding for crucial
modernization projects for our airline infrastructure to expire, at
the expense of tens of thousands of jobs, to pursue a political agenda
to hold down wages and block democratic elections in the airline
industry, the goal of one corporation.
- House Republicans rejected Obama administration initiatives to
fund jobs for teachers, firefighters and police, despite strong
community support for more responders.
A project this far-reaching deserved better than the "politics as
usual" strategy of a do-nothing Republican Congress. Their job blackmail
agenda is simply wedge politics. Addressing global climate change,
establishing sustainable and secure energy sources, and creating and
retaining safe and family-supportive jobs are keys to a positive future
for our children and grandchildren. President Obama has acted wisely.
GOP's Goal: Pass Anti-Union Bill Before City Hosts Super Bowl
CWA and other union members staffing a table in the Indiana
statehouse have directed thousands of citizens to lawmakers' offices
in the fight to stop a so-called "right-to-work" bill.
Below: CWA Local 4900 members were among hundreds of activists who
donned NFL gear and marched last week from the statehouse to the
stadium where Indianapolis will host the Super Bowl in two weeks.
Determined union members and Democratic lawmakers in Indiana are
keeping the so-called "right-to-work" debate alive, denying Republicans
the opportunity to pass the anti-union bill quickly and quell the
controversy before their capital city hosts the Super Bowl in two weeks.
On Wednesday, Jan. 18, CWA and other union members filled the
statehouse with chants of "Occupy the Super Bowl!" Union members and
allies have been protesting inside the capitol and making hundreds of
visits to lawmakers' office every day since the legislative session
began Jan. 3.
The fight is focused on defeating the bill in the House, but
activists say if necessary they will take their protests to the Super
Bowl Feb. 5, and all the days of hype leading up to it.
With the National Football League Players' Association actively
supporting the workers' fight and global media in town for the game,
"It's an opportunity to highlight how inhospitable Indiana is becoming
for working men and women," Indiana AFL-CIO spokesman Jeff Harris said.
Democratic House members continue to boycott daily legislative
sessions, preventing a quorum and so far blocking the Republican
majority from passing the bill. Republicans have voted to impose $1,000
daily fines on the 35 absent Democrats, who, in turn, have gone to court
to challenge the GOP's attempt to withhold the fines from their
Democrats continue to do other legislative work and have tried to
resolve the "right-to-work" debate with proposals that include a public
referendum on the issue. Polling shows that only one-third of Indiana
voters support right-to-work, and an overwhelming majority, 71 percent,
want a referendum.
Three CWA Local 13000 members wrongfully terminated during the
Verizon strike maintain a daily vigil at a Verizon Wireless store in
Philadelphia to show support for a fair contract for Verizon Wireless
workers. Two of those workers, shown above, are Ed Martin and Martin
Checkovage. Not pictured is Rob McFadden.
Three CWA Local 13000 members who were wrongfully terminated during
the Verizon strike have not wavered in showing their support for a fair
contract for their sisters and brothers at Verizon Wireless.
Members Ed Martin, Martin Checkovage and Rob McFadden, have kept a
daily vigil outside the Verizon Wireless store on Cottman Avenue in
Philadelphia to persuade people not to buy Verizon Wireless services or
products until workers at Verizon Wireless get a fair contract.
"They have been covering this store everyday since the return to work
last August," Local Executive Vice President Jeff Reamer said. "Their
dedication and solidarity speaks to our members' support and
determination for Verizon Wireless workers."
CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins said, "The dedication of these workers
demonstrates what is at stake for union members at Verizon Wireless.
They are fighting to maintain good middle-class wages, benefits and
radio ads this week targeting two U.S. House freshmen Republicans
who are holding Federal Aviation Administration funding hostage unless
their anti-union demands are met.
Congressmen Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) and Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) are among
key Republicans who are blocking passage of a long-term FAA
Reauthorization bill, once again putting the critical agency at risk of
being shut down.
At issue is an unrelated National Mediation Board rule that ensures
that airline union elections are subject to the same democratic rules as
all U.S. elections. Adopted in 2010, the rule simply says that only
votes actually cast will be counted. Previously, employees who didn't
vote were counted as "No" votes.
"That is a standard different from every other form of democratic
election in our nation, and not one single member of Congress could have
been elected if used in their own races in 2010," CWA said in a
The ads, running in Minnesota's 8th and Wisconsin's 7th congressional
districts, highlight both Cravaack's and Duffy's roles in "weighing down
this important bill with an unrelated, controversial provision." The ads
conclude by asking voters to, "Tell him enough! Quit playing games with
our jobs, our infrastructure, and our future."
If no new long-term or temporary funding is approved by Jan. 31, the
FAA faces another shutdown. Last summer, 4,000 FAA employees and tens of
thousands of airport construction workers were sent home for two weeks
until Congress passed temporary funding. That marked the 21st stop-gap
funding measure since the agency's last real budget was approved in
CWA, AFA-CWA and other unions are pushing for Congress to finally
pass a long-term budget, which is essential in order for critical
airport and aviation construction and safety projects to go forward.
Click here to hear the ads.