Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

Bargaining Update

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  • CWA's bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with AT&T West that provides major improvements over the previous proposed contract. The new proposed agreement has been unanimously recommended by the bargaining committee. Click here for details.
     
  • CWA members at Verizon North Central in District 4 ratified a new contract by an overwhelming margin.
     

     

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    CWA Local 9423 holds an informational picket in in San Jose, Calif.

     

  • Ratification voting on the AT&T Mobility "Orange" contract closes on Friday, April 5, at 12:59 PM, EDT. If you haven't yet voted, now is the time to make your voice heard. Click here for more information.
     
  • New Flyer and CWA Local 7304 representing workers at the company's St. Cloud, Minn., facility have reached a tentative new four-year collective bargaining agreement. Members will hold a ratification vote on the new agreement on April 6.
     
  • Flight Attendants at Compass Airlines, a Delta Connection carrier, reached a tentative agreement for a first contract with the assistance of the National Mediation Board. The agreement would provide double-digit pay increases on date of ratification, along with an increased 401(k) match, schedule flexibility and a grievance procedure. AFA-CWA members will vote on the agreement April 10 through May 1.
     
  • The sale of the Journal Register Co.'s assets to 21st CMH Acquisition Corp., an affiliate of its current owner, has been delayed. But Newspaper Guild chapters are already negotiating new contracts with 21st CMH. Read more here.

 

Deadline Friday! Tell the White House to Keep Knives Off Planes

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Tomorrow is the last day to sign our petition asking the White House to block the Transportation Security Administration's new policy allowing small knives on planes.

Sign it now at www.noknivesonplanes.com.

This week, Flight Attendants at airports across the country have been encouraging passengers to sign the petition and to call their member of Congress to support the No Knives Act of 2013, introduced by Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Michael Grimm (R-NY).

In Seattle, Karen Levy, a United Flight Attendant for 33 years, told the local news, "To us, it's total common sense. And we're the first line of defense on the aircraft." 

And in Guam, United Flight Attendant Benita Cruz said, "It's daunting that we have one more aspect of our job that could prevent us from being the best employee and security official on board the aircraft. So we certainly hope that everybody who travels or who has family who travels, or just has a concern overall, will log onto the website and sign the petition."

In Los Angeles, Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters and Janice Hahn joined Flight Attendants in supporting the proposed legislation. "It doesn't make good sense," Waters said. "It's absolutely unthinkable they could come up with this decision."

Hahn agreed, saying, "This is a bad idea. This is a huge step back in protecting American passengers."

Already, a bipartisan group of 133 members of Congress have sent a letter to TSA Administrator John Pistole asking him to reverse the knives policy.

Organizing Update

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  • Members of CWA Local 4100 at Comcast beat back a decertification campaign, with 20 workers signing on to the local's unity pledge. District 2-13 Organizing Coordinator Shannon Kirkland, who started working in this unit, helped the mobilizing effort.
     
  • A group of CenturyLink workers voted 5-0 to join CWA in an NLRB election in Northern Minnesota, despite the company's aggressive campaign against workers who wanted a union voice. The workers will be covered by the existing Qwest contract.

 

CWA Activists Demand Fairness at Patriot

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Protesters flood the streets of Charleston, W. Va.

Below: CWA activists from Virginia march toward Patriot Coal’s headquarters.

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Virginia CWA activists on Monday traveled to West Virginia to rally to save the retirement and health benefits of thousands of Patriot Coal miners.

CWA Locals 2204 and 2276 and IUE-CWA Locals 82161, 82162 and 82176 participated in the march and rally in Charleston. They joined thousands in flooding the streets, as union activists, faith leaders and elected officials descended on the downtown offices of Patriot Coal. Sixteen labor leaders, clergy and UMWA members were arrested during the non-violent protest.

"This is a crime," said UMWA President Cecil Roberts. "We've been robbed, tricked and lied to. This cannot stand — and with thousands of us from all over the country marching today and keeping up this fight tomorrow, it will not stand."

Patriot Coal recently filed bankruptcy and is now attempting to skirt paying these health care costs to retirees, many of whom worked for Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, the two companies whose spinoffs created Patriot Coal. Peabody Energy had shifted all retiree health obligations to the new company, while only transferring one working mine. It's no surprise that Patriot filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2012. The UMWA charges Peabody with creating Patriot specifically so it could shed its union obligations, and that this new company was designed to fail.

This jeopardizes the health of thousands of these retirees, who now suffer illnesses and injuries caused by their work in the mines, including black lung, cancer and crippling injuries.

Sign the petition to support the UMWA's efforts to maintain the benefits promised by Patriot, Arch and Peabody.

CWA Is Building a Movement for Economic Justice and Democracy

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The Hudson Valley Coalition for a Fair Economy plans for the Minimum Wage People's Town Hall on March 28.

 

 

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The Hudson Valley Coalition for a Fair Economy sponsored a town hall in Ossining, NY, geared toward "achieving a decent minimum wage." The coalition meets once a month at CWA 1103's union hall.

 

 

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CWA and IUE-CWA activists lobby Ohio Rep. Mike Turner's office. They delivered a strong message on why the Trans-Pacific Partnership is bad news for Ohio workers and communities.

 

 

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Former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros joins members of CWA Local 6143's Legislative Team — Jason Ramos, Geronimo Guerra, Brian Curby and Adrian Zuniga — at the Cesar Chavez March.

Save the Date: Immigration Rally on April 10

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Both Democrats and Republicans agree that our immigration system is broken and needs reform. Our immigration laws allow unscrupulous employers and recruitment agencies to exploit workers who lack legal status. That hurts all workers.

On Wednesday, April 10th, tens of thousands of union members, immigrants, supporters, faith leaders and community advocates will be sending that message to our lawmakers. Starting at 3 p.m., the Rally for Citizenship will be held on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building.

We will educate, march, rally, pray and knock on the doors of Congress until commonsense immigration reform that includes a realistic path to citizenship gets to President Barack Obama's desk for signature.

For too long, our communities have suffered under a defective and outdated immigration system that depresses wages for all workers, makes political scapegoats out of immigrants and tears families apart. Once undocumented workers are covered under labor laws, together we can build a united movement of working people to raise the living standards and fight those who want to drive wages down for all working people in America.

CWA joins our partners CCC, CASA de Maryland, SEIU, CARECEN, NEA, UAW and many others in supporting this event.

Register at www.citizenship-now.org/register-fo-a10/.

And to learn more about the labor movement's new proposal for a W-Visa, check out this fact sheet.

Join the Time is Now Campaign!

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Tell the world the TIME IS NOW!

CWA activists are joining the campaign by having photos taken of themselves holding up the Time Is Now sign to spread the word about the All In for Citizenship rally on April 10.

Check out some of our photos on Facebook.

Here's how you can help:

Step 1: Print out your sign here.

Step 2: Take your photo.

Step 3: Share it on Facebook

New Yorkers Push for Campaign Finance Reform

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CWA Local 1103's Joesph Mayhew.

 

 

 

CWA Local 1103's Joseph Mayhew is advocating that public financing of elections is vital in today's Citizens United world.

He recently joined J. Adam Skaggs, senior counsel of the Democracy Program at Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, and Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, in a discussion about reforms with The Journal News editorial board.

To watch the session, go to www.lohud.com/editorialspotlight and select the video from the menu.

Tell the NBA: Don't Reward Union Busters!

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Cablevision-Optimum workers in Brooklyn, members of CWA Local 1109, are building a lot of community support throughout New York City in their fight for a fair contract. Now, supporters are calling on the NBA to make sure it doesn't reward the bad behavior of Cablevision CEO James Dolan by scheduling the 2015 All-Star Game at the Dolan-owned Madison Square Garden.

NBA players know that their union provides important protections on the job, as does the National Basketball Referees' Association.

But Cablevision doesn't want to play ball.

Cablevision-Optimum has done everything from illegally locking out and firing 22 workers, who now are back at work, to refusing to negotiate a fair contract.

The NBA shouldn't reward Dolan's attack on workers who only want a fair contract. As long as Dolan refuses to negotiate a fair contract, the NBA should decide to schedule next year's All-Star Game at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, not the Dolan-owned Madison Square Garden.

Support Cablevision workers and sign the petition at www.BrooklynNotBusters.com.

Learn more about Brooklyn Cablevision technicians' struggle for a first contract at www.thecablevision99.org.

CWA: Lottery Privatization a Bad Bet for New Jersey

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In an op-ed in Bergen County, N.J.'s newspaper The Record this week, CWA Representative Seth Hahn points out the damage that Gov. Chris Christie's plan to privatize the state lottery system will cause to workers, small business and communities. CWA represents more than 40,000 state workers in New Jersey, as well as 15,000 county and municipal workers and thousands more in telecommunications and direct care.

The move will harm New Jersey's small-business owners, taxpayers and fiscal health. Christie's scheme could cost our state thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars.

Last year, the Christie administration conducted a study about how to make New Jersey's award-winning lottery even better. It showed that in 2010 our lottery had the highest net income margin in the entire country — making it one of the nation's most efficient. From 2000-2010, sales grew 42 percent.

In fact, growth in online, instant and total sales all far exceeded the national average. Yet, incredulously, looking at all this solid information, Christie made the decision that sales and marketing functions should be turned over to a private company. Even worse, despite the 42 percent growth in sales in the last decade, this firm will get a cut of profits if they increase sales a mere 9 percent over the next 15 years.

This changeover will hurt small-business owners from Fort Lee to Paramus. It will tilt the playing field away from Main Street and towards big boxes, large supermarkets and chain stores at the expense of people like the very middle-class grocery owner who won the recent Powerball.

Local vendors could lose a third of lottery sales in the first year alone. As small businesses throughout the state struggle to survive a sluggish economy and the fiscal effects of Superstorm Sandy, they'll lose customers. They'll also drop secondary sales that accompany lottery tickets, such as newspapers, milk and coffee.

Read the full op-ed here.

TV News Labor Coverage is Scarce, Negative

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A news report that examines national TV networks' coverage of unions and the labor movement over three years confirms what unions have long known: The media largely ignores labor, except to paint unions as a source of trouble in the American economy.

"Even in stories about labor or unions, the main sources relied on are external to labor or unions," writes Professor Federico Subervi in a summary of the report. "Moreover, the discourse and framing continues to fault the workers and their representatives for any conflict or impasse, not the business, company or government."

Professor Subervi's report was commissioned by The Newspaper Guild-CWA. Subervi is the director of the Center for the Study of Latino Media & Markets at the School of Journalism and Communications at Texas State University.

To conduct the study, researchers accessed the Vanderbilt University Television News Archives, which offer an online searchable database of news headlines and abstracts of news programs. The study focused on ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN.

Ultimately, over three years — 2008, 2009 and 2011 — researchers identified a total of only 141 stories among the four networks that focused on labor either primarily or secondarily. "Estimating that these networks collectively air approximately 16,000 news stories per year, the 141 news items about labor/unions represent less than 0.3 percent of their news inventory for the studied time period," Subervi writes.

The report identifies six main narratives in the coverage: 1) union rallies and endorsements during the 2008 campaigns; 2) the 2007 Writers Guild strike that extended into early 2008; 3) the discussion and vote in Congress to authorize a bailout for the Big Three auto companies in late 2008; 4) General Motors' bankruptcy and reorganization in 2009; 5) the Wisconsin protests; and 6) conflicts between state and local governments and their teachers' unions spread over the three years.

Subervi found that the pattern of portrayal of unions was negative, with workers critical of unions more likely to be heard. "One clear example was the case of a production crew member who was losing income and having financial difficulties due to the lack of work during the Writers Guild of America strike," Subervi writes. "But the news failed to have any statement pointing to the corporations' failure to reach an agreement."

Additionally, he found that news about labor and unions related to the field of education and the automobile industry included more governmental sources than labor sources. "The news treatment thus presents the government as the organized party willing to provide solutions, but not the labor/union negotiators," he writes.

The study is not yet complete. Data gathered will be further analyzed in order to find remedies to providing more full, fair and accurate coverage of labor.

April 28 is Workers Memorial Day

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Four decades ago, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, promising every worker the right to a safe job. Unions and our allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality — winning protections that have made jobs safer, saved hundreds of thousands of lives and prevented millions of workplace injuries and illnesses.

On April 28, the unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew the fight for safe workplaces. This year, we will come together to call for good jobs in this country that are safe and healthy. We will seek stronger safeguards to prevent injuries and save lives. We will stand for the right of all workers to raise job safety concerns without fear of retaliation, and for the freedom to form unions and speak out and bargain for respect and a better future.

What You Can Do on Workers Memorial Day:

 

  • Organize a rally to demand creation of good jobs and safe jobs in your community.
     
  • Hold a candlelight vigil, memorial service or moment of silence to remember those who have died on the job and to highlight job safety problems in your community and at your workplace.
     
  • Conduct workshops to educate workers about job safety hazards and how to exercise job safety rights. Invite union members, nonunion workers and community allies to participate.
     
  • Create a memorial at a workplace or in a community where workers have been killed on the job.
     
  • Hold a public meeting with members of Congress in their home districts. Bring injured workers and family members who can talk firsthand about the need for strong safety and health protections and the freedom to join a union. Invite local religious leaders and other allies to participate in the meeting.

Go to www.aflcio.org/Issues/Job-Safety/WorkersMemorialDay for more information and materials to order.

 

Apply for the Dreams of Jobs and Freedom Scholarship

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Union Privilege and the AFL-CIO have announced a new scholarship program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. The one-time, $5,000 scholarships are for study for the academic year beginning in the fall of 2013 through summer 2014. They will be awarded to at least 50 talented high school seniors to help pay for the costs of higher education.

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his "I Have a Dream" speech as part of that historic March on Washington. This scholarship program honors the legacy of Dr. King's speech and his dream that all of America's children could have equal access and equal opportunity.

An application, including an essay, is required. The application deadline is July 1, 2013. For more information and to apply online, click here.

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