Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

Indiana House Passes Right to Work (for Less)



Indiana Dems Caucus

Indiana Democratic legislators, union activists and allies caucus at the Capitol.




CWA activists and union supporters are keeping up the fight against union busting in Indiana, despite the House passing "right to work" (for less) by a 55-44 vote yesterday.

The bill now goes back to the Senate for final action. If approved, Indiana will become the nation's 23rd "right to work" for less state, the first state in 10 years to adopt the anti-union measure.

Angie Schritter, CWA Local 4900 chief steward and chair of the legislative-political action team, said 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.

Indiana House Democratic B. Patrick Bauer said, "Let the House Republicans explain to the workers of our state why they chose to back a plan that doesn't put Hoosiers back to work, doesn't enable these workers to provide for their families, and increases the risk of injury and death in the places where they work.

"The only places where today's events will be cheered are in the boardrooms of big businesses and corporations across this state. The House Republicans just helped increase the profit margins for these companies at the expense of their workers. But concern for workers was never a motivating factor in this fight. Corporate greed was."

Just one-third of Indiana voters favor passing "Right to Work" for less, and 71 percent want voters, not the legislature, to have the final say on this legislation.

For two legislative sessions, lawmakers who support workers' rights have been fighting against a Republican-dominated legislature and Gov. Mitch Daniels who were determined to push through right to work (for less). Democrats pushed for a referendum on the issue, proposed changes to the bill and didn't show up for some legislative sessions in order to deny a quorum for this bill.

Cablevision Workers' Campaign Wins Tremendous Public Support



Cablevision Workers Website

Brooklyn Cablevision workers, supported by faith and community leaders, are voting today for CWA representation.




At last night's CWA national town hall meeting, Anthony Guerrier, a Cablevision worker in Brooklyn working for CWA representation, told the 6,000 CWAers listening that "we're optimistic that by this time tomorrow we'll be able to say that we are proud members of CWA Local 1109."

As the CWA newsletter went to press, voting was underway.

"When we filed for election, an overwhelming majority of our 280 workers signed cards. Despite the company's relentless campaign of fear and misinformation, we are standing strong, Guerrier said. "We just want what's fair. Cablevision's CEO made $28 million last year, and our wages aren't even keeping up with inflation. We all want to take care of our families in dignity."

The Brooklyn Cablevision workers have won tremendous support in New York City, with faith and community leaders, elected officials, union supporters and activists standing up for the workers' right to a union.

On Martin Luther King Day, Rev. Al Sharpton led a march and rally outside Madison Square Garden, which is owned by Cablevision CEO James Dolan. Occupy Wall Street activists and elected officials from across the city joined in, standing with Cablevision workers and their fight for a union.

"Dr. King fought side by side with workers, raising his voice in unity with theirs. We need to stand with the Cablevision 99 percent as they seek the opportunity to vote for a union in an intimidation and harassment-free environment," Sharpton said.

Check out this video of the rally.

A few days later, Rev. Sharpton led another march and rally in Brooklyn, calling on the company to stop its union busting and respect workers' right to organize.

The 280 Cablevision workers earn about one-third less than cable workers at competing companies. They've faced non-stop harassment and intimidation, they've been forced to attend high-pressure, anti-union "captive audience" meetings, and have faced growing pressure from managers in one-on-one meetings.

New York City Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio had requested that Cablevision management hold a public debate on the merits of union representation. That request was rejected. DeBlasio and a group of elected officials, including Speaker Chris Quinn, Comptroller John Liu, Minority Leader John Sampson, and Sharpton also sent a letter to Cablevision CEO Dolan, requesting a meeting to ask the company to allow the workers to organize without fear of being intimidated or harassed.

To learn more, go to And check out this story in the New York Times.

PSA Flight Attendants Ready to Strike

After more than two and a half years of fruitless negotiations at PSA Airlines, Flight Attendants at the airline represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA warned the airline that workers would be forced to strike if management continues to refuse to bargain fairly.

This week, AFA requested the National Mediation Board to declare that negotiations are at an impasse and offer a proffer of arbitration which could lead to a 30-day cooling-off period and strike deadline. Contract talks began in May 2009 and have been in mediation since August 2010. Talks have stalled over compensation, retirement, insurance, and related issues, with PSA seeking drastic cuts in Flight Attendant pay and benefits.

"It's long past time for management to take these negotiations seriously. PSA Flight Attendants have sent a loud and clear message to management that action will be taken if a new, improved agreement is not reached," stated PSA AFA Vice President L.C. Acor. "We are done playing games and are ready to do whatever it takes to get a contract that recognizes our meaningful role as first responders."

Last September, the Flight Attendants voted by a 98 percent margin to authorize a strike if necessary. AFA has successfully employed its trademarked strike strategy, known as CHAOS™ (Create Havoc Around Our System), which has been successful in getting management to reach agreement rather than face the uncertainty of CHAOS. Unlike a traditional strike, under CHAOS, a strike could affect the entire system or a single flight, and the union implements it for maximum impact on management — and minimum risk for Flight Attendants.

"We must send the company and the NMB a strong message that the PSA Flight Attendants will not settle for a substandard wage increase and a severely diminished retirement and health insurance," said Acor.

PSA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of US Airways Group, Inc., and operates as a US Airways Express carrier flying to over 62 destinations. It flies out of Charlotte, N.C., Dayton, Ohio, Philadelphia, Pa., and Washington, D.C.

CWA, Allies Fight Corporate Money in Politics



Anti-Citizens United

CWAers across the country held demonstrations to spotlight the destructive influence of corporate money in politics. Above, a message carried by Local 3106 members in Jacksonville, Fla., and below, members of CWA Local 4217 hold an action in East St. Louis, Mo.

Anti-Corporate Money




CWA, working with several organizations determined to restore our democracy, spotlighted the destructive influence of corporate money in politics in actions and events tied to the Jan. 20 anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling. That decision, two years ago, allows unlimited spending by corporations and other groups through super PACs, with no restrictions as long as there is no coordination with the political candidate.

Eliminating corporate money in politics, taking action on voter suppression and fixing the broken Senate rules are among CWA's top priorities this year.

Actions were held in Washington, D.C.; Phoenix, AZ; Sacramento, CA; Jacksonville, FL; Miami, FL; and Kansas City, MO. CWA members joined members of Common Cause, Democracy For America, MoveOn, Move to Amend, Occupy, and Public Citizen and other partners committed to the fight for democracy.

Activists, members of CWA's Legislative Political Action Teams, also have delivered 10,000 postcards to Members of Congress calling for legislation to stop the harm caused by the flood of corporate money in politics.

An online action enables CWA and other activists to spread the word the "I am a person, a corporation is not."

And CWAers are working with local elected officials in more than a dozen locations to push for city council resolutions that highlight that "corporations should not receive the same constitutional rights as natural persons."

A new public survey shows that the Citizens United decision has very little support. Americans across all parties oppose the ruling; among all voters, 62 percent oppose the decision and nearly half (46 percent) strongly oppose it. More than half of all voters say they would support a constitutional amendment to reverse the opinion." Read more here.

Tell Congress: Only People are People

Ever since the 2010 Supreme Court "Citizens United" decision declared that corporations and other groups could spend as much as they wanted in political campaigns, money has become a harmful and corrosive influence in American politics.

Common Cause, a CWA ally, has a big campaign underway and needs CWAers' help in spreading the word. Click here to sign the petition and watch a short video with former Labor Sec. Robert Reich on exactly what's at stake. More than 100,000 people already have viewed the video, let's make it go viral!

Common Cause's Amend2012 Campaign is pushing back against Citizens United; Common Cause is a CWA partner in our fight to restore democracy for all of us.

New Message to Verizon: No Tax Dodging and No Union Busting



Verizon Worker

CWA members tell the story of how Verizon doesn't pay its share of taxes.




CWA members tell the story of how Verizon doesn't pay its share of taxes in this great new mobe video.

From 2008-2010 Verizon did not pay any federal corporate income taxes, despite billions in profits. The company's gotten a $1 billion tax break. Yet Verizon's executives want to destroy the middle class jobs of 45,000 union workers. Listen to what CWA members have to say, and pass it on.

State of the Union: President Seeks Economic Fairness for All

The Communications Workers of America issued this statement on President Obama's State of the Union Address:

The Communications Workers of America commends President Obama for his focus on creating an America that is built to last with an economy that works for everyone, not just a wealthy few.

It's critical to bring quality jobs back to the U.S. by eliminating tax benefits for companies that send U.S. jobs overseas. CWA strongly supports legislation that would end taxpayer subsidies for corporations that get tax breaks, then move call center jobs offshore, among other measures. Corporations have had too much power in writing legislation that rewards corporate interests and abandons U.S. workers, when it comes to manufacturing and services. Too many corporations routinely put short-term profits ahead of loyalty to the nation and workers who have made their success possible.

An America built to last cannot be one in which corporate money determines who is elected and what issues are debated. That's why CWA supports measures to limit the outsized and harmful influence of corporate money in U.S. elections.

One of CWA's top priorities for 2012 and beyond is raising awareness of the corrosive influence of money in politics. Recent related activities include mobilizing CWA members on the two year anniversary of the damaging Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that established corporate personhood; backing Governor Andrew Cuomo's push for voluntary public financing of New York political campaigns, and working alongside local leaders across the country to adopt model city council resolutions that state, in part, that "corporations should not receive the same constitutional rights as natural persons."

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