Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

You Won't Want to Miss Next Week's Town Hall Call: Thursday, Feb. 21

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Join CWAers from around the country on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m., ET. It's an important call, with updates on everything affecting CWA members and our union.

Register here: http://cwa-union.org/cwacall.

US Airways-American Merger Offers Opportunity for Workers at Both Airlines

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Here's CWA's statement on the announcement of the US Airways-American Airlines merger:

This merger is a positive development for employees at both airlines. CWA commends the management of US Airways for recognizing the value of its partnership with union workers and its work to build an even stronger airline going forward.

CWA will actively support this merger throughout the review process.

Under the US Airways management team, this merger offers a huge opportunity for union workers from the reservations office to the cabin to ground operations to work together and create a global model of what flying and work life can be. That's a big plus for customers as well.

Passenger service agents at American Airlines now have an opportunity to get the union voice they want and to join with their colleagues at US Airways, where some 6,000 agents already have union representation.

US Airways agents know that negotiation and bargaining rights are the only way to make real improvements in wages and working conditions, and are bargaining now for a new contract. Piedmont fleet and passenger service agents have a first contract at US Airways, more evidence that the process works when workers and management are committed to bargaining rights. Flight Attendants at US Airways, represented by AFA-CWA, now are voting on a tentative agreement.

CWA looks forward to working with our alliance partner, the Transport Workers Union, and other employee groups in this new partnership.

Stand Up for Good Jobs in Charleston: T-Mobile Workers Speak Out

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On Saturday, CWA will host a forum spotlighting several local T-Mobile USA employees who will speak out about T-Mobile's attack on workers' rights and keeping good jobs in Charleston, S.C.

"In the U.S., T-Mobile workers face threats to their jobs and fear and intimidation on the job every day while workers at the same company in Germany have bargaining rights and a strong voice," said CWA President Larry Cohen. "T-Mobile USA workers also want a union voice and we are partnering with ver.di, Germany's largest union, to provide that voice. It's time that Deutsche Telekom ended its support for its U.S. subsidiary's constant attack on freedom of association here."

That's the message International Trade Union Confederation General Secretary Sharan Burrow, who will join Cohen and community leaders in Charleston, has been emphasizing during her swing through the U.S. this week. We can't allow two-faced corporations to uphold collective bargaining rights at home, while attacking them abroad, she said.

"The export of the American model of corporations is now in fact driving the attacks on fundamental rights. Profits at all costs," she said at a press briefing at the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C. Burrow added, "I'm very excited about meeting T-Mobile workers. This is a global campaign."

Adding urgency to workers' job security concerns is T-Mobile's proposed merger with Metro PCS, the fifth largest U.S. wireless carrier, which outsources 100 percent of its customer service work to overseas call centers. Last year, T-Mobile closed seven U.S. call centers affecting 3,300 workers. The Labor Department certified that workers were entitled to trade adjustment assistance because T-Mobile offshored that work to the Philippines and Central America.

T-Mobile workers will be joined by their German counterparts, employees of T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsche Telecom, who work at a call center in Berlin. German workers are visiting Charleston to see first-hand how T-Mobile treats its employees.

Convention Proposals: Make Sure Your Voice is Heard

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Since 2006, CWA has led the way in renewing the labor movement. We adopted a "Ready for the Future Report," created the Strategic Industry Fund, added four at-large diversity members to the Executive Board, and tightened our belts and our policies to get more done with fewer people.

Much remains to be done. Members are doing a lot: participating in legislative and political work, organizing, mobilizing in support of bargaining and working with our allies. But we still have a tough road ahead of us, as does every other union in the U.S. facing a continuing attack on bargaining rights.

Our current financial assumptions suggest that dues revenue will continue to decline at about 4 percent per year and 20 percent over the next five years. That's a $15 million reduction over five years. We must take bold steps now to make our union more effective at all levels, from local unions to the National CWA.

When delegates gather in April in Pittsburgh for CWA's 74th convention, there will be several important proposals and constitutional amendments to consider.

A new CWA web site, http://cwafuture.ning.com, has been created to provide local leaders and members with information about these proposals and offer an opportunity to ask questions, raise issues and discuss them.

We believe that a free and open discussion of these proposals will lead to changes that will, once again, move our union forward. Please join in the discussion of these important next steps for the future of our union.

Working Families Say 'Jobs, Not Cuts!'

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Activists from CWA's headquarters join the rally in Upper Senate Park.

Below: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka speaks to workers.

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More than 1,500 activists flooded Capitol Hill Tuesday, rallying against deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

CWA joined AFSCME, AFGE and others in standing together to say, "Jobs, not cuts!" Unless Congress acts, a series of automatic budget cuts — a.k.a. sequestration — will come down on March 1. It would slash $85 billion from the federal budget in 2013, with more than $1 trillion in cuts coming over the next decade.

"The opponents of working people are always coming up with technical terms to scare good people into accepting bad ideas, ideas like sequestration," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. "Let me tell you something. Sequestration is nothing but a word. Nothing but a long word with a simple purpose, and that's to hide a bad idea — that we can cut our way to a prosperous future."

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) joined workers in urging their congressional colleagues to protect vital government programs and services.

Read more about the rally in The Hill and The Washington Post.

We Need an Economy and Democracy That Works for All

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The following is the statement issued by CWA on President Obama's State of the Union Address:

CWA commended President Obama for his proposals to help ensure that working and middle class Americans benefit as our economy slowly improves.

We must 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 move call center jobs offshore, among other measures. There must be tough public policy that encourages corporations — especially those that focus on the U.S. market — to keep good jobs here.

And as the President moves forward on a trade agreement with the European Union, we will work to make sure that the bargaining and organizing rights essential in European nations such as Germany are reciprocal in the U.S. We will work with global labor to that end, as we will do with the Trans Pacific Partnership.

CWA supports the President's plan to create a real path to citizenship for 11 million workers and their children. It's to the benefit of American workers and the U.S. economy to bring these immigrants out of the shadow, with the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship. But true immigration reform is just one of several key democracy initiatives that must be addressed by our nation.

Another was clearly illustrated by one of the First Lady's invited guests, a 102-year old Haitian immigrant and Florida citizen, Desaline Victor, who was forced to wait in line for three hours to cast her vote in the 2012 election. Our country prides itself on being the world's exceptional democracy. But this isn't how democracy works. Universal voting rights and fixing a broken election system are the hallmark of a real democracy.

We must also address the corrosive influence of money in politics. CWA and progressive allies will continue to fight to overturn the Supreme Court's disastrous "Citizens United" decision. Corporations are not people and are not entitled to constitutional rights.

Working and middle class families already have endured 40 years of stagnant and falling wages. They've watched thousands of their jobs go offshore to the benefit a handful of our nation's wealthiest individuals. Now it's time for economic policies that create good jobs in the U.S. and enable workers to have a voice through bargaining rights.

Cablevision Workers Stand Tough for Their Union and Their Rights

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Brooklyn Cablevision workers are standing strong against a management that won't recognize that workers have rights to organize and bargain a contract.

Check out this video and then sign the petition to reinstate all 22 locked out workers.

In January, 22 Brooklyn Cablevision-Optimum workers were illegally locked out and fired, part of the company's campaign to illegally punish workers for forming and supporting their union, CWA Local 1109.

After repeated refusals to by Cablevision CEO James Dolan to meet, elected officials in NYC held a press conference at Madison Square Garden (also owned by Dolan) urging him to stop the company's abuse of workers and warning the company that those actions violate its franchise with New York City.

Joining the news conference were Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former NYC Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr., and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

Bargaining Update

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CenturyLink members from Local 7096 in Salem, Ore., stand up for a fair contract.

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CWA Local 7108 members leaflet to build support for a fair contract at CenturyLink.

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Members of Local 9413 in Las Vegas participate in mobilization training for AT&T Mobility bargaining.

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CWA members in Davenport, Iowa, mobilize for a fair contract at AT&T Mobility.

 

 

 

  • CWA bargainers reached two tentative agreements with CenturyLink/Arkansas covering members of Local 6171. One contact had expired in 2010, the other in 2011. The local bargaining teams, with CWA District 6 Representative Guy Stewart and Telecommunications/Technologies administrative director Lois Grimes-Patow pulled it all together.
     
  • Negotiations are continuing with CenturyLink (the former Qwest) covering 13,000 CWAers in these D7 states: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa. CWA's Executive Board voted Feb. 13 to authorize the CWA President to set a strike date.
     
  • Bargaining will get underway for a first contract for telecom workers at Lantel Communications in Blue Springs, Mo., who voted last month for representation by CWA Local 6360.
     
  • The contract covering 22,000 AT&T Mobility members covered by the "Orange Contract" has been extended while negotiations continue. The agreement expired late Feb. 9.
     
  • After several months of unsuccessful contract negotiations with C&D Technologies in Attica, Ind., about 250 IUE-CWA represented workers went on strike Wednesday. Read more here.
     
  • CWA Local 3180 members picketed Florida's Indian River County School District office all week, protesting cuts to support staff bonuses and salary schedule. Read more here.
     

 

Join CWA at the Largest U.S. Climate Rally Ever

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Crippling drought. Devastating wildfires. Superstorm Sandy. Climate change is a real threat.

On Sunday, Feb. 17, CWA President Larry Cohen and activists from around the country will be standing up for workers' and environmental rights. It's time to join with thousands of people to send a clear message to our elected officials in Washington: Protect the future of our children and the entire planet. We can't wait — we need action now.

What: The largest climate rally in U.S. history.

When: Feb. 17, 2013. CWA will meet at 11:15 a.m.; the official event ends at 4:00 p.m.

Where: CWA will meet at the main entrance to the National Museum of American History — on Constitution Avenue NW between 14th and 15th Street. The closest subway station is Federal Triangle.

Please register and find out about transportation at http://forwardonclimate.org.

 

Mexico Day of Action Spotlights Attack on Workers' Rights

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Washington, DC activists and CWAers, including President Larry Cohen, will demonstrate in front of the Mexican consulate next Thursday, Feb. 21, as part of a week-long, worldwide protest against the pervasive attack on workers' rights in Mexico. More than 10,000 activists will mobilize for workers' rights at embassies and consulates around the world.

Delegations will deliver a letter to Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto, spotlighting the "legacy of major unresolved labor disputes, persecution of democratic trade unionism, and the decomposition of labor relations generating an entrenched system of protection contracts that do not represent workers' true interests" left by the past administration. This includes workers' efforts to form democratic unions, particularly at Atento, where workers have sought to be members of the Mexican Telephone Workers Union (STRM), a close CWA ally.

Senate Reauthorizes Violence Against Women Act

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With broad bipartisan support, the Senate reauthorized the long-delayed Violence Against Women Act this week.

The 78-to-22 vote moves forward legislation to revamp domestic violence programs, as well as extend the law's protections to the LGBT community and Native Americans.

Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), who delivered the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, voted against the bill. He was joined by his fellow Republicans John Barrasso (Wyo.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), John Boozman (Ark.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Cornyn (Texas), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Orrin Hatch (Utah), James Inhofe (Okla.), Mike Johanns (Neb.), Ron Johnson (Wisc.), Mike Lee (Utah), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Jim Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kansas), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), John Thune (S.D.) and Tim Scott (S.C.).

The bill's future in the GOP-dominated House remains uncertain. Last year, the House passed its own version of the legislation and refused to consider the Senate's bill.

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