Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

Clock Ticking on AT&T Contracts

 

 

Local 1298 - AT&T

Members of CWA Local 1298 leaflet spectators at the NCAA Women's Basketball tournament in Bridgeport, Conn.

Local 6143 - AT&T

In San Antonio, Tex., members of Local 6143 tell AT&T we're fighting to hold on to the American dream.

Local 9003 - AT&T

Members of Local 9003, techs from the Juanita Street garage in Los Angeles, do some "practice" picketing.

D4 Health Care - AT&T

In Pontiac, Mich., Kristen Harkonen, steward, and Monica Shadowens, chief steward, for Local 4123, lead protest against AT&T's demands for health care cuts.

 

 

 

Mobilization is in high gear for the final week of bargaining for new contracts at AT&T East, Midwest, West and Legacy; contracts expire April 7. CWA locals and members are holding rallies and planning lots of actions to support bargaining teams this week and next.

Members of Local 1298 leafleted outside the NCAA women's basketball tournament in Bridgeport, Conn., and CWAers throughout District 4 protested AT&T's demands for health care cuts. In District 9 and throughout CWA, activists mobilized around an unfair attack on prem techs in Bakersfield, Calif., who were hit with a fine and attendance occurrence by local management for doing what CWAers do every Thursday: wearing red.

When local management told the techs they couldn't wear the shirts, they stood tough. You can support them, and all CWAers mobilizing for new contracts with AT&T, by sending a message to local management that we stand together.

Rallies and meetings are planned in every district as our contracts expire, so check out with your local union for the latest, and click here for bargaining updates for every contract.

99 Percent Spring/Challenging Corporate Power Trains Activist Leaders

 

 

Joe Mayhew - Spring Training

CWA Local 1103's Joe Mayhew leads a "train the trainer" session for 99 Percent Spring.

Spring Training - Local 1103

 

 

 

Occupy Wall Street-inspired activists are gearing up to lead demonstrations and resistance as part of "99 Percent Spring/Challenging Corporate Power."

The movement led by a coalition of 60 progressive groups that includes CWA has already trained 86 national trainers, who then fanned out across the country last weekend to train their regional counterparts in 21 cities. All this preparation will culminate in a week of workshops, from April 9 to 15, where 100,000 activists will learn the causes of America's economic distress, history of nonviolent direct action and how to channel what they've learned into campaigns for change.

"It's connecting the dots and understanding how we got here," said Chris Kennedy, CWA's Human Rights Director, who hosted a training session in Atlanta. "Only after understanding how we got here will we believe in the ability to change things."

Last weekend, nine CWA members helped prep regional leaders who ranged from students to retirees, autoworkers to Greenpeace activists. Some had demonstrated with Occupy in Zuccotti Park in New York, while others were new to fight for economic equality. The diverse group encompassed all religions, races and sexual orientations.

"Everyone got up and said one thing that was unbelievable: 'Sure, we're from different places. Sure, we all look different. But we are here so everyone can have a fair shot,'" said Joe Mayhew of CWA Local 1103, who helped lead the New York City training session. "We were there as the 99 percent."

Democracy only works with an informed and active citizenry, the trainers believe. So the April workshops will start off with a primer of what happened to America's economy. Participants will learn about the choices that created this climate of inequality, starting with the policies of President Ronald Reagan, who attacked unions, deregulated financial markets and cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans.

After discussing who's responsible and what a different future could look like, participants will develop their own personal economic justice narrative, solidifying why they are involved and part of the 99 percent.

Finally, participants will learn the strategies for nonviolent direct action, such as how to escalate and de-escalate a situation. In particular, they'll be studying Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was not actually the result of a spontaneous act of civil disobedience, but rather a meticulously planned event.

AFA-CWA's Darren Shimora, who attended a training session in Washington, said these workshops will help create a lasting framework for everyday Americans to build strength and solidarity, with the goal of being able to respond quickly.

"If we receive word of some injustice...we would be able to quickly mobilize behind it, instead of saying, 'we need two weeks to plans this,'" he said, noting that 100 AFA-CWA Flight Attendants will be joining the 99 Percent Spring/Challenging Corporate Power effort. "This is the groundwork we need to go forward."

How can you participate in 99 Percent Spring/Challenging Corporate Power? Click here to sign up to attend a training session, or offer to host a workshop in your union hall, place of worship, community center or home.

CWA Members Plan Actions for Verizon Annual Meeting

CWA activists are planning actions around Verizon's annual shareholder meeting to bring attention to corporate greed and economic inequality.

The May 3 meeting starts at 10:30 a.m. at the Von Braun Center, an arena located in downtown Huntsville, Ala. Shareholders will be electing directors and voting on six proposals concerning corporate governance, including one that would require full disclosure of Verizon's direct, indirect and grassroots lobbying.

The protest is part of the 99 Percent Spring/Challenging Corporate Power's plan to demonstrate at annual shareholder meetings across the country or "Shareholder Spring." Activists will be confronting the corporate executives responsible for wrecking the economy, damaging the environment and amplifying the gap between the rich and the poor. Along with Verizon, they'll be targeting Chevron, Bank of America, Walmart and Wells Fargo.

"On May 3, Verizon will hear from activists across the country: it's time Verizon started paying its fair share of taxes, creating and keeping good jobs in the U.S. and treating workers fairly," said CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins.

More information will be available at www.unityatverizon.com.

March 22 Was a Warm-Up to Shareholder Spring

 

 

Local 1109 - Pig

A giant corporate pig helps members of CWA 1109 demonstrate against the 1 percent and corporate greed.

Local 6215 - Verizon Wireless

In Irvine, Tex., CWAers from Local 6215 rally against verigreedy Verizon.

March 22 - Verizon Informational Picket - NYC

More than a thousand CWA members in New York City rally outside Verizon's corporate headquarters. For a video of this rally, click the photo.

 

 

 

March 22 was a great day of rallies and leafleting across the country, with CWA members joined by members of many different unions, Jobs with Justice, Occupiers and other supporters. Check out this terrific slide show.

And mark your calendar for May 3, Verizon's annual meeting. They'll be lots of actions and events that day. Stay tuned to www.unityatverizon.com for updates.

T-Mobile Call Center Workers Mobilize Against Closures

 

 

T-Mobile Ad

The ad appeared in the March 28 edition of the New York Times, and got a lot of media attention in Germany.

 

 

 

CWA activists and T-Mobile USA workers are spotlighting the company's bad decision to close seven call centers, affecting the jobs of 3,300 workers.

From Pennsylvania to Texas to Oregon, workers are meeting with community leaders, local elected officials and others to fight for their jobs.

The seven centers slated to close are: Allentown, Pa.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Frisco, Texas; Brownsville, Texas; Thornton, Colo.; Redmond, Ore.; and Lenexa, Kansas.

CWA has been working with T-Mobile USA workers who want a union voice. The German union ver.di, which represents T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom workers in Germany, has played a major role in this effort, standing up for the rights of workers to choose union representation without the atmosphere of fear and intimidation that T-Mobile USA has created.

This week, a full-page ad in the New York Times featured a call by 11 prominent German political leaders and scholars who told Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile that U.S. employees "should not be influenced, pressured or intimidated by employers if they exercise their basic right for freedom of association."

Tomorrow, T-Mobile activists and supporters will rally outside the Allentown, Pa., call center to protest the company's decision to close the facility. More than 400 Allentown workers will lose their jobs in three months.

"There's no other job here that pays even remotely that well for the trade we're involved in," said Jim Brilhart, a technical support specialist in Allentown. "It's difficult for a lot of us locally."

Brilhart added, "This is a serious blow to the local economy."

Across the Atlantic, ver.di members will hold a picket line on Friday, bringing attention to the ongoing violations of workers' rights at T-Mobile USA as well as their own negotiations with Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile.

Starting next week, be on the lookout for ads on Facebook, Google and other prominent websites, spreading awareness about T-Mobile's actions and an online petition. The message: T-Mobile should bring back work it has offshored to Asia and Central America, and keep our call centers open.

CWAers also will be working with call center workers in Frisco and Brownsville, Texas, two more locations that T-Mobile management has put on the chopping block.

Blake Poindexter, a technical support specialist in Frisco, said he's unsure about his future job prospects. But he continues to work with CWA to gather support from U.S. representatives in Texas to co-sponsor an anti-offshoring bill that penalizes American companies that ship jobs overseas.

"I want to save anyone else from having to go through this," he said. "I wouldn't want to put anyone through what I'm having to go through, ever."

T-Mobile promised employees that it would hire back many of 1,400 dismissed workers and help others transition into new jobs. But, a week later, many employees aren't too hopeful.

Poindexter said he and his colleagues were simply instructed to go to the company's website to start applying for one of the 1,400 open positions "as if we were random people on the street looking for a job. I don't know how much is true, how much they're going to help me," he said.

Jon Brookshire, a fellow Frisco-based technical support specialist, looked at the openings and discovered that to keep his current position and not take a drastic pay cut, he would have to move to either Albuquerque or Colorado Springs. "Both those economies over there are a lot worse than Dallas, so that's kind of a gamble," he said.

New Jersey Childcare Workers Join CWA

CWA Local 1039 won an election last Friday to represent 20 workers at a New Jersey childcare center.

Workers at the Trenton-based Capital Child Care voted 14 to 4 for CWA. Employees are now striving to curb management's bad behaviors, such as fudging time sheets to avoid paying overtime, and will advocate for improvements to their workplace and level of care.

"In spite of an aggressive anti-union campaign by a boss who committed numerous unfair labor practices, workers stuck together and remained public in support for CWA throughout the campaign," reported District 1 Organizing Coordinator Anne Luck-Deak.

Workers first approached the Local located right across the street from the center in December and started holding informational and committee meetings. Demanding recognition, they presented their boss a mission statement signed by all the workers. When he refused, CWA filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board.

Local 1039 President Lionel Leach, along with staffers Michelle Franklin and Carol Thomas, aided the campaign. The victory has already encouraged the local to explore organizing other childcare centers in the area.

US Airways Express Flight Attendants Ratify Contract

US Airways Express Flight Attendants ratified a five-year agreement on Tuesday that provides new pay rates above the industry average and other improvements.

The 300 workers at PSA Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary that flies under the brand US Airways Express, are based in Knoxville, Tenn.; Dayton, Ohio; and Charlotte, N.C. They are represented by AFA-CWA Council 75.

"Through job security protections and potential growth, we have great hope for the opportunities before us," said L.C. Acor, AFA-CWA PSA President. "PSA Flight Attendants took ownership of our future by standing together throughout the negotiations and generated the power to achieve these improvements."

Maryland CWAers Protest Verizon Power Grab

 

 

Verizon - Maryland

About 40 Verizon members from several CWA locals fill the hearing room at the state capitol in Annapolis.

 

 

 

More than 40 CWA and RMC members from seven CWA locals filled the hearing room of the Maryland Senate Finance Committee with a sea of red shirts this week. Their mission: to spotlight a bill that would allow Verizon to sell its landline assets without any review by the Public Service Commission.

CWAers waited for more than four hours for the bill, SB 813, to be discussed, and took advantage of that time to tell others at the capitol just was Verizon was trying to do and the serious effect it would have on consumers, workers and communities.

While Verizon tried to present the measure as "streamlining the process," supportive legislators and witnesses, including Paula Vinciguerra, Local 2106, made clear that Verizon simply wanted to sell the landlines without any oversight by state regulators.

Members from Locals 2100, 2101, 2106, 2107, 2108, 2300, 2336, and retirees from RMC 2108 joined the action at the state capitol.

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