CWA's ad in Politico commends House and Senate Democrats who voted
against legislation that destroys airline and railway workers'
bargaining and organizing rights.
The 157 House and 15 Senate Democrats who voted no on the Federal
Aviation Administration Reauthorization made it clear: democracy isn't a
choice between jobs and workers' rights.
The bill passed both houses of Congress, however, and CWA immediately
made clear that we will fight back and "we will remember those champions
who stood with us this week."
A two-page ad in Politico, the Capitol Hill newspaper, made sure
that members of Congress got the message.
"With this vote, House and Senate majorities caved in to the
ideological agenda of Delta Air Lines and the 1 percent. This should
have been a jobs bill, not the opportunity for an ideological assault by
radical politicians. Workers shouldn't have to choose between jobs and
their rights on the job," CWA said.
In the House, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi, George Miller and
other leaders fought back against the destruction of transportation
workers' rights, with 155 Democratic colleagues, stood up for democracy.
In the Senate 15 Democratic Senators rejected the measure that makes it
even harder for workers to gain union representation.
Now, instead of 35 percent, more than a majority of workers must show
support for a union to even trigger the start of the election process,
and that list of union-eligible workers is generated by management. It's
a particularly high threshold to meet when two airlines are merging and
one carrier has union representation but the other does not.
Private sector union elections governed by the National Labor
Relations Act require that 30 percent of workers show interest in a
union to trigger an election.
This new majority plus standard to trigger an election was included
in the law, but the rule that finally put a majority vote election
standard in place -- where the outcome is determined by the majority of
those voting, and not counting non-voters as no votes -- was not.
Over the past five years, Congress has been limping along, passing
short-term extensions of the FAA Reauthorization, but not finalizing the
funding bill. Republicans, driven by ideology, never stopped trying to
overturn the rule change put in place in 2010 by the National Mediation
Board, that instituted a majority vote election standard for union
elections in transportation.
Republicans shut the FAA down at least twice, stopping critical
airport construction projects and throwing thousands out of work, in an
effort to strip out the democratic majority vote standard.
Over 400 AFA-CWA and union activists hold an OccuFLY demonstration
at Los Angeles Intl. Airport to protest the attack on airline workers’
rights and corporate greed.
Chanting, "It's not just about first class, it's about the middle
class," more than 400 AFA-CWA Flight Attendants from 20 airlines and
activists from Los Angeles area unions turned out for an "OccuFLY"
demonstration at Los Angeles International Airport this week.
AFA-CWA delegates attended the union's Board of Directors' meeting
this week in Los Angeles in conjunction with the OccuFLY event. CWA
President Larry Cohen, Secretary-Treasurer Annie Hill, and CWA District
9 Vice President Jim Weitkamp joined in the rally alongside Flight
Attendants and other airline workers at LAX, plus activists from LA
Union, the Los Angeles Federation of Labor; CWA; NABET-CWA; UNITEHERE;
Teamsters and others.
Activists protested the attack on airline workers' collective
bargaining rights inserted in the Federal Aviation Administration
reauthorization and passed by the House and Senate over the strong
objection of CWA, AFA-CWA and 17 other unions. The demonstration also
targeted corporate greed and excessive corporate compensation.
Maria Elena Durazo, LA Union's executive secretary-treasurer, said
airport worker union groups, inspired by OccuFLY, and those who have
taken a stand for social and economic justice, have formed the first
ever LAX Labor Alliance to support collective bargaining rights and
building opportunities for all Americans.
"The FAA reauthorization should be focused on addressing the pressing
safety issues that will ensure that the U.S. aviation system remains the
safest in the world. Instead, Congress has used this process to
gratuitously attack American workers in order to satisfy corporate
executives," said Veda Shook, AFA International President. "This
controversial labor provision is nothing less than an attack by the 1%
against the 99%. We saw it in Wisconsin and Ohio, now we see it for
airline and rail workers who are simply seeking the benefits of
collective bargaining or fighting to hang on to collective bargaining
TWU Intl President James Little, second left, Executive Vice
President Harry Lombardo, and Secretary Treasurer Joseph Gordon,
right, with CWA President Larry Cohen, talk with CWA Executive Board
members about a new partnership.
The Transport Workers Union of America and CWA have voted to work
together in a new affiliation. The new partnership was unanimously
endorsed by the executive boards of both unions.
The two unions represent more than 120,000 airline workers and are
joining forces to support bargaining and organizing at American Airlines
and campaigns at other airlines.
In New York and Philadelphia, TWU members have been a big part of the
fair contract fight by CWA and IBEW members at Verizon and Verizon
Wireless. In the Midwest, where TWU represents transit workers and CWA
represents university and public workers, there's a lot of common
TWU International President James C. Little said the two unions
shared "common values and principles that should intuitively benefit our
members through working together." CWA President Larry Cohen said
partnerships like this "are the only way we will make progress for
TWU represents 130,000 workers in airlines, transit, rail, and
gaming. CWA represents 700,000 workers in telecommunications, media,
airlines, manufacturing, public service and health care.
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam was put on notice this week by more than
150 leaders from the religious, higher education, and civil and workers'
rights communities who said, it's time for Verizon to "do the right
thing and negotiate a fair contract."
In an Open Letter to McAdam, the group said leaders were troubled by
Verizon's bargaining strategy and "excessive concessions" that the
profitable corporation is seeking from its employees. "Given the
largesse Verizon executives have enjoyed, it is shocking that the
company would look to impose drastic austerity measures on those whose
hard work generated that profit," the letter stated.
"If Verizon is to remain a fixture in our communities, the company
must meet the labor standards of our communities and afford its workers
the dignity of an equitable negotiation," they wrote.
The leaders told McAdam that they would continue to support Verizon
workers "as long as it takes. . . .We hope that you will heed the call
for an economy that works for everyone, not just the one percent."
Click here to read the letter and the names of its co-signers.
As of this week, 51 House members have signed on to co-sponsor the
U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, H.R. 3596.
The offshoring bill was a big focus of CWA activists on Capitol Hill
last week, as they met with members of Congress and staff to build
support for legislation to stop rewarding companies that move good jobs
The bill's original sponsors are Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) and Rep.
Dave McKinley (R-WVa.)
It bars companies that send call center jobs overseas from receiving
federal grants and guaranteed loans and requires the Department of Labor
to maintain a list of these companies.
It also requires that workers in overseas call centers disclose their
name and physical location, and gives U.S. consumers the right to be
transferred to a customer service agent in the U.S.
Embarq/CenturyLink technicians from Winter Park, Fla., won CWA Local
3176 representation, following a Jan. 27 decision by the National Labor
Relations Board that their 60-59 election victory should stand.
Technicians voted on Nov. 9, but certification was held up pending an
NLRB decision on whether a single challenged ballot should be opened and
counted as legitimate. The Board backed CWA's claim that the ballot
should not be counted because it was cast by an employee not listed on
the company's list of eligible voters.
The company decided not to appeal last week and said it will
recognize CWA as the workers' bargaining representative. All other
Embarq/CenturyLink technicians in Florida are represented by CWA.
CWA District 3 Organizing Coordinator Liz Roberson credits the
victory to the technicians' organizing committee and tremendous support
from CWA members from Locals 3716 and 3108, Jobs with Justice activists,
and 100 CWAers attending a nearby CWA Telecommunications & Technologies
Conference in January. During the conference, CWAers demonstrated
outside the Embarq/CenturyLink facility, a real boost to the techs.
Not surprising, management ratcheted up the pressure in the final
days before the vote, conducting anti-union meetings and pleading with
workers to give them "one more chance." The techs stood strong, thanks
to terrific groundwork by the inside committee and lead technician Greg
Douglas, who collected 65 membership cards prior to the election.
Bob Campbell, president of Local 3176, the local's executive board,
members of Local 3108, and District 3 staff all supported the workers'
A three-year contract at El Diario newspaper in Brooklyn, N.Y. was
ratified by Newspaper Guild of New York, TNG-CWA Local 31003 members
last week. Approved by a two-to-one margin, the agreement ends seven
months of tense negotiations at the newspaper, the nation's oldest
The agreement covers journalists, technicians and other news
professionals at the newspaper, a subsidiary of privately held
ImpreMedia LLC. Seventeen workers who were facing layoffs, won enhanced
severance packages in the contract.
The agreement calls for salary increases of up to 1.5 percent, $1,000
in bonus payments over the term of the contract, pre-tax contributions
for medical insurance, a reduction in health care contribution costs,
stronger work rules for job assignments, and enhanced disability and
sick leave. Management also agreed to a one-year ban on layoffs.
The contract significantly improves on management's original
proposals that would have slashed benefits and wages, and eliminated job
security through unilateral subcontracting and dismissals.
"This agreement unfortunately reflects the poor financial health of
ImpreMedia, and the sector as a whole," said TNG-CWA Local 31003
President Bill O'Meara. "We are eager to move on and support our
members' work producing the finest Spanish-language newspaper in the
The first of four regional Good Jobs, Green Jobs conferences
sponsored by the Blue Green Alliance opens in Atlanta, Feb. 23-24.
CWA President Larry Cohen will speak at the Atlanta conference, and
CWA workshops will spotlight successful coalition and movement building,
including the work CWA and the Sierra Club have done in Texas and
The conferences will look at how our nation can create good-paying
union jobs and economic opportunities for workers, and how to resist the
growing attacks on our democracy.
Last year's Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference featured more than 100
workshops on subjects including worker safety, clean energy
manufacturing, transportation infrastructure investment, emerging green
sectors, and the financial tools needed to build the green economy.
Following Atlanta, conferences will be held in Los Angeles on March
15-16; Philadelphia, April 3-4, and Detroit, May 10-11.
Click here for more information on the conferences.
CWA's BGA partners have joined CWA's Speed Matters campaign to bring
affordable high-speed broadband to every community, and to support
building one gigabyte of Internet capacity to schools, hospitals and
other anchor institutions in communities across the United States.
Learn more about BGA .
Out to lunch? New Hampshire Republicans have introduced all manner of
absurd bills so far this session. Now they're proposing that the state
do away with the law requiring employers to give workers a lunch break.
Click here to read more from ThinkProgress.org.
The website Alternet is expanding its labor and workers' rights
Click here for the article and a link to sign up for Alternet's weekly
electronic newsletter about labor issues.