Senate Leaders Must Move President's NLRB Nominations to the Senate Floor

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CWA commended President Barack Obama for putting forward three additional nominations to the National Labor Relations Board this week. These nominations, together with two previously announced, would restore the NLRB to full status and will ensure that a functioning NLRB can enforce workers' rights on the job.

The NLRB is important. It protects workers in the American workplace. It's where workers turn when they are fired and their free speech is threatened.

Now it's up to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate leaders to move the President's nominations to the Senate floor and work to have them confirmed.

"With this Senate, we must assume we'll have a fight," said CWA President Larry Cohen on the Ed Schultz Show.

The next step is for the nominations, as a package, to be vetted by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension committee, then moved to the floor.

"However, since the Senate rules weren't changed in January, 60 votes will be necessary just to get the nominations on the floor," Cohen said.

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many of its corporate members would prefer that the NLRB not function at all. As a result of Republican obstructionism in the Senate, 85 million private sector workers have no place to go for workplace justice," he said.

Thousands Rally at the Capitol for Immigration Reform

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CWA rallied with 100,000 immigrants, union members, civil rights activists, faith leaders and community advocates at the Capitol on Wednesday to tell Congress that our country needs a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Under the hot sun, the crowd chanted "Si, se puede!" and "Time is now!" They held up signs supporting reform that keeps families together. Supporters waved American flags, along with flags from Mexico, Brazil and El Salvador.

That afternoon, 177 CWA activists marched from CWA headquarters to the Mall. Naomi Bolden, Roanoke area vice president of CWA Local 2204, organized and led members from her own Local, plus CWA Locals 2201, 2222, 2205, 2106 and 2108, to Washington to support their brothers and sisters.

CWA President Larry Cohen took the stage with other labor leaders to advocate comprehensive immigration reform.

"We've been through this before, but this time it's different," Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA de Maryland, speaking on the west lawn of the Capitol. "We are different, and Washington is different. The politicians can't ignore us now. We will become citizens, and we will vote."

 

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Members from CWA Local 2204 made the nearly six-hour road trip from Lebanon, Va., to the immigration reform rally.

 

A bipartisan group of senators is currently finalizing a bill, and the legislation is expected to move to the Senate floor for a vote before Memorial Day.

CWA was proud to stand with our partners CCC, CASA de Maryland, SEIU, CARECEN, NEA, NAACP, Greenpeace, UAW and many others in supporting the rally. 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.

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Activists march from CWA headquarters to the U.S. Capitol.

Below: CWA brought 177 activists to the April 10 Rally for Citizenship.

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Activists Expand Voting Rights in Maryland

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A coalition of CWA, community and good government activists have won a big victory for voting rights in Maryland.

The coalition is headed by Maryland Common Cause. Together with CWA, ACLU, Communities United, Demos, Fair Vote, League of Women Voters of Maryland, NAACP, Maryland PIRG, Progress Maryland and Progressive States members, activists worked together and made huge gains in increasing access to voting for all citizens. They provided testimony and attended hearings, and wrote and called state delegates and senators.

The result: The group beat back amendments that would have weakened the right to vote.

The new legislation expands early voting by increasing the number of early voting days from 6 to 8 days, allows same day voter registration, increases the number of early voting centers, allows absentee voters to receive ballots online and requires a study to determine why lines were so long during early voting last year. The law takes effect on July 1, 2013.

Bargaining Update

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  • CWA members at AT&T Mobility have ratified a new four-year contract. The contract covers 22,000 workers in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Click here for answers to some frequently asked questions.
  • About 150 CWA members at CenturyLink in Winter Park, Fla., members of Local 3176, have filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board charging that the company is refusing to bargain and that it unfairly changed workers' benefits. The Florida workers joined CWA in December 2011 and have been bargaining for a first contract since last May. Read more here.

     

  • Guild members at Consumer Reports magazine on ratified a new three-year contract that preserves a defined benefit pension plan and gives them a wage-increase and bonus package. Find more information here.

     
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    Guild officials notified Consumers Union management on April 5 that members had overwhelmingly ratified the contract.

  • CWA workers at New Flyer's St. Cloud, Minn., facility have voted down a proposed new four-year collective bargaining agreement. Of about 550 New Flyer employees in St. Cloud, 430 are members of CWA Local 7304. Negotiations will resume at the end of the month.

 

New Jersey Activists Head to Boot Camp

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Fifty million people can change the future of our country. And this week, New Jersey CWA activists took the first steps toward building that campaign against corporations and right-wing extremists.

It was the first of CWA's new Political Leadership Boot Camp, which is designed to strengthen skills among activists at several levels of experience. These two-day, intensive trainings provide both political framework and skills that workers can take back to their locals, districts and states.

The boot camp combines leadership development with political action. Topics include political economy, movement building and member-to-member conversations. It also focuses on the components of a campaign, recruiting volunteers and signing up PAF donors.

The New Jersey training included stewards, experienced political coordinators and activists. Twenty-two members from CWA Locals 1032, 1038, 1023 and 1082 and IFPTE Local 194 joined the boot camp. Hetty Rosenstein, CWA New Jersey area director, and Seth Hahn, CWA staff representative, helped lead the training.

"We're forging the building blocks of a new movement for all workers interested in change," said CWA Political Director Rafael Navar. "Working people are rising up and demanding justice, fairness and human rights for all. That's exciting. We need strong activists in this fight."

More training sessions are scheduled in New Jersey and Virginia in preparation for their upcoming elections.

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CWA Political Leadership Boot Camp trained 22 New Jersey members.

Below: CWA Political Director Rafael Navar leads a training session.

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NLRB Threatens Two Complaints in One Week Against Cablevision

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The National Labor Relations Board has threatened to file two complaints against Cablevision this week.

Today, The New York Times reports:

John J. Walsh, the acting director of the labor board's regional office in Brooklyn, said his office planned to file a complaint against Cablevision, saying it "has bargained with no intent to reach an agreement" with its Brooklyn workers since they voted to unionize 15 months ago.

Mr. Walsh said Cablevision had engaged in bad-faith bargaining by failing to provide union negotiators with needed information, by retracting previously agreed-upon proposals and by refusing to meet on a regular basis. Cablevision, he also said, had shown bad faith by making "proposals that no quote unquote self-respecting union could accept, such as the unfettered right to subcontract work."

Cablevision recently illegally locked out and fired 22 Brooklyn workers attempting to meet with management about contract negotiations. Thanks to community mobilization, those fired employees are now back at work. But they still don't have a first contract.

On Monday, the NLRB's regional office said it would issue a complaint against Cablevision because the company illegally intimidated, harassed and bribed workers in the run-up to the election.

"Whether it's interfering with a fair election in the Bronx or refusing to sign a fair contract in Brooklyn, Cablevision's behavior is despicable and shameful," said Chris Calabrese, Executive Vice President of CWA Local 1109, the lead organizer in CWA's contract campaign for Cablevision workers in Brooklyn. "There's no excuse for any business to intimidate its workers in an effort to prevent them from exercising their right to organize and join a union."

Inspired by the 282 Brooklyn Cablevision technicians who successfully joined CWA, Bronx technicians began organizing their own effort last June. But Cablevision hired a union-busting law firm to wage a brutal, illegal anti-union campaign, and Bronx workers voted against unionizing. The NLRB said violations included:

 

  • In a speech to Bronx workers two days before the NLRB vote, CEO James Dolan personally threatened to deny workers job opportunities and training if they voted for the union.
  • Dolan illegally sought to try to address workers grievances and offer benefits to induce them not to vote for the union in a speech in February 2012.
  • Cablevision illegally gave raises of $2 to $9 an hour as much as $18,000 a year to nearly 10,000 employees outside of Brooklyn, but not to the Brooklyn workers, in order to persuade workers to vote against the union.

"We predict that James Dolan will try to sweep these charges under the rug by seeking a settlement of the complaint with the NLRB," Calabrese said. "He knows his actions were so egregious that no judge will find him innocent. If there was no guilt on his part, surely an individual of his reputation would have the courage of his convictions to stand trial and prove his innocence."

The Times reported that the NLRB would "ask a judge to order Mr. Dolan to read aloud, probably on video, a statement acknowledging that Cablevision had acted illegally and promising not to engage in such activities again."

This is why a fully functioning NLRB is so important.

CWAers are Building a Movement

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Members of CWA Local 2201 meet with Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) over the congressional recess. Scott's district extends from Richmond to Norfolk.

 

 

 

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Joe Mayhew hands postcards objecting to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal to Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY).

 

 

 

 

 

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At the meeting, Maloney told members from CWA Locals 1103, 1120 and 1103 Retirement Council that he would stand with labor on the alarming trade deal.

 

 

 

 

 

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Van Jones joined CWA Secretary-Treasurer Annie Hill; Elizabeth Roberson, Assistant to the CWA Public Workers Vice President; and James Anderson, UCW-CWA leader and AFSCME Local 1733 retiree, during the march to commemorate the legacy of the 1968 Sanitation Workers Strike and assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

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TSEU and Texas state workers braved rainy weather marching on the Capitol for their annual lobby day on Thursday.

 

 

 

 

 

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CWA Local 6186 members marched and rallied to defend public workers and public services in Austin, Texas.

 

 

 

FCC Chair Confirms T-Mobile Commitments To Preserve and Grow Jobs In The United States

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FCC Chair Julius Genachowski today released a letter to a member of Congress, stating he expects T-Mobile USA to fulfill its promises of both preserving and creating jobs in the United States following regulatory approval of its merger with MetroPCS.

Writing to address concerns on the U.S. job creation and retention records of both firms put forth by Maine Rep. Michael Michaud, Genachowski made his expectations clear:

"After careful review of the record, the Bureaus found that the transaction would enhance the competitiveness of the fourth-largest nationwide wireless provider by allowing it to strengthen its network and expand its product line, thereby bolstering the long-term viability of the combined company and enabling increased employment. Moreover, during our review, T-Mobile USA told the Commission that they plan to preserve and grow U.S. jobs, and I expect them to live up to these commitments."

The transaction will combine T-Mobile with 30,000 employees and 33.2 million customers with MetroPCS, which directly employs 3,700 to service about 9.3 million customers.

The letter can be found here.

Let's Get to Work: Climate Change, Infrastructure and Innovation

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Next week, more than 1,600 union members and environmentalists from around the country will be discussing economic, environmental and democracy issues at the BlueGreen Alliance's annual Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference in Washington, DC.

On Monday, April 15, CWA President Larry Cohen will be on a panel addressing the need for a broad progressive movement to address climate change and create good jobs. In addition to Cohen, the panel will include Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, USW President Leo Gerard and SEIU Executive Vice President Mike Fishman. After the panel, a break out session by state will focus on mapping out the next steps that are needed to link environmental and labor groups on key state and local issues.

Workshop panels will also feature CWAers from Virginia, Texas, Florida, California, DC, Maryland and Minnesota.

On Tuesday, participants will hear from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

For more information go to www.greenjobsconference.org/.

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.

 

 

 

Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, CLC. All Rights Reserved.

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