April 19, 2012
T-Mobile workers, CWAers and labor activists rally at T-Mobile USA
corporate headquarters in Bellevue, Wash. Below, activists carried
banners with messages from workers at the seven call centers T-Mobile
wants to close in June.
T-Mobile USA workers on Monday sent a loud, clear message to their
CEO Philipp Humm: Keep good call center jobs in America and bring back
the thousands you've shipped overseas.
More than 100 CWA members, along with other union and community
supporters, delivered the 100,000-signature petition -- criticizing the
company's decision to close seven US call centers and lay off 3,300
workers in June -- to T-Mobile headquarters in Bellevue, Wash.
Protesters demanded that Humm return 6,000 overseas jobs, which have
been moved to countries like Honduras and the Philippines, and ensure
that workers can freely choose union representation without fear of
The rally included workers from call centers slated to close in
Allentown, Pa., and Frisco, Texas.
"We want T-Mobile to know about our struggle," said Jamone Ross, a
worker from Frisco. "We've all given a lot. A lot of us have given up
weekends, so we can have decent schedules to have a small glimpse of our
families during the week. I'm always saying, 'Hey I might not be able to
go to church' or 'I can't go to that party Saturday night since I don't
get off until midnight.' We all sacrifice a lot to maintain our jobs.
The loyalty is very one sided."
Blake Poindexter, another worker from Frisco, was enraged by the
company's abuse of taxpayer dollars. In four of the seven communities
where call centers are slated to close, T-Mobile received a total of
$14.2 million in taxpayer dollars from state and local economic
development subsidies. Poindexter's community awarded the company $3.7
"Our state gave T-Mobile millions of dollars to create jobs and what
did they do in return? They took the money and now they're turning their
backs on me, my co-workers and our whole community," he said. "T-Mobile
is putting profit ahead of its workers and costing thousands of workers
Watch a video of the Bellevue protest here.
CWA activists are now working to spotlight this abuse of taxpayer
dollars and a new bipartisan bill that penalizes American companies for
sending call center jobs overseas. They've launched an online ad
campaign to urge support for the call center bill, which now has 110
House sponsors, and are working with elected officials to keep open all
seven if the call centers set to close in Allentown; Frisco; Fort
Lauderdale, Fla.; Brownsville, Texas; Thornton, Colo.; Redmond, Ore.;
and Lenexa, Kan.
Check out all the action at
www.weworkbettertogether.com and on
Make sure to join the next CWA telephone town hall, set for Thursday,
April 26 at 7:30 pm EDT. Go to
Passenger service agents at American Airlines were hit with a
devastating reorganization plan yesterday that will affect nearly 10,000
agents. Agents face layoffs, outsourcing, the loss of wages and
benefits, being forced to work from home for no benefits, and likely
even more cuts in the future as they are the only major workgroup at the
airline without union representation.
But now agents will have the opportunity to get that union voice. The
National Mediation Board has determined that American Airlines agents
are entitled to a representation election; dates for the voting process
are still to be set. CWA has been working with agents who want a union
voice and had filed for an election last December.
"Once again we are being told what will happen to us and we are given
no voice in the process," said Bryan Wall, a Sacramento-based agent.
"Other employees have options because they are represented by unions and
will negotiate. We don't know where or when this will end, but we will
fight back through our Ad Hoc Committee and our union after we win the
election. It's time for us to demand the respect we deserve."
"I work at one of the stations targeted for outsourcing. I am
personally worried about my health insurance," said Jutta Fitzgerald, a
Columbus, Ohio based agent. "I see what is being done to the employees
and I believe this is why we need a strong union. I have never seen a
company treat its employees how American Airlines treats us. The agents
need to go union, now more than ever."
American Airlines filed for bankruptcy protections last year, despite
having $4 billion in the bank. CWA was successful in winning recognition
for the agents' Ad Hoc committee by the federal judge overseeing the
Activists are organizing and fighting back, and the next opportunity
to make a stand is the April 25 bankruptcy court hearing in New York
City. "This is our chance to be represented alongside the high-priced
attorneys, consultants and investment advisors, and we encourage
everyone to come out," agents said.
Keep up with the latest at
Tens of thousands of progressive activists nationwide joined 99
Percent Spring / Challenging Corporate Power trainings last week, laying
the foundation for a series of non-violent, direct actions this spring.
Participants told stories about what made them part of the 99
percent, discovered the roots of America's economic collapse and learned
how to fight back.
At the CWA headquarters training, CWA President Larry Cohen choked
back tears as he described T-Mobile's recent decision to close seven
call centers and lay off 3,300 workers. "I'm tired, I'm angry, I'm
distressed from seeing how hard our members fight these battles only to
go backwards," he said. "The only way we can fight this is together."
John Smith, who hosted a 60-person session at CWA Local 4320, said a
lot of contact information was exchanged among the participants. This
week CWA members banded together with Jobs with Justice and other
activists for a Tax Day protest.
More national demonstrations are being planned, including a protest
at the Verizon Communications shareholder meeting on May 3. Keep an eye
www.the99spring.com for future actions.
Taking a stand against corporate greed, CWA activists plan to protest
Verizon's annual shareholder meeting on May 3.
The gathering starts at 10:30 a.m. at the Von Braun Center, an arena
located in downtown Huntsville, Ala. Shareholders will be voting on nine
proposals, including an AFSCME and CWA General Fund proposition
requiring Verizon to publically disclose its federal- and state-level
At the same time, across the country, CWA members will be rallying
against Verizon's decision to send thousands of American jobs overseas
and the company's plans to gut pensions, charge more for health benefits
and cut disability. Despite raking in billions of dollars in profits,
Verizon has stiffed workers while tripling the compensation of its CEO,
Lowell McAdam to $23.1 million.
Next month's shareholder meeting protest is an extension of the 99
Percent Spring/Challenging Corporate Power's "Shareholder Spring." After
training in direct, non-violent action, activists are now preparing
demonstrations and actions at shareholder meetings of Chevron, Bank of
America, Walmart and Wells Fargo.
More information will be available at
CWAers in Racine, Wisx., members of Local 4611, demonstrate on Tax
On April 17, Tax Day, across the country, activists from CWA and
other unions, the AFL-CIO, Move On and other members of the 99% Spring
coalition called on corporations and the 1% to pay their fair share in
In Washington, D.C., CWA activists joined a Tax Day march on the IRS.
Joining Jobs with Justice, SEIU, AFL-CIO and others, the protesters drew
attention to the inequality in the tax system that forces most Americans
to pay more taxes than General Electric, Boeing, DuPont, Wells Fargo and
Verizon Communications put together. Afterward, they continued to raise
awareness about the wealthiest 1 percent’s loopholes and tax breaks at a
"Billionaire Block Party" at John Marshall Park.
In White Plains, N.Y., members of CWA Local 1103 spotlight how
Verizon’s stiffs workers and taxpayers.
Twenty-six major corporations paid no federal income tax, despite raking
in billions of dollars in profits, between 2008 and 2011, according to a
new report by Citizens for Tax Justice. In fact, these companies
actually made more money after taxes than before taxes over the past
four years, thanks to IRS rebate payments.
Wells Fargo was the most profitable tax evader, grossing $21.6
billion in tax subsidies during the four-year period, according to the
non-partisan, non-profit research study. GE came in second with $10.6
billion, and Verizon placed third by pulling in $7.7 billion. They were
followed by Boeing, which garnered $6 million in tax subsidies.
In fact, few firms actually pay the full 35 percent corporate tax
rate. Last year,
another study by the Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on
Taxation and Economic Policy found that 280 corporations paid on
average only half that amount.
A growing grassroots movement has energized the movement for a
constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's "Citizens
United" decision, Democratic lawmakers said Wednesday.
Speaking at a summit, Congressional sponsors of amendment efforts --
along with local and state elected officials, national advocacy
organizations and activists -- lambasted the Supreme Court decision,
which gave corporations the same rights as people, opening the
floodgates to unlimited amounts of corporate money in politics. And they
showcased how their longshot attempt has suddenly gone mainstream.
CWA Legislative Director Shane Larson told the summit that workers
will stand and fight the corrosive influence of money in politics.
"We cannot make real change for our members until Citizens United is
undone," he said.
Check out this tweet and
another one from the summit.
Check out CWA's live tweeting of
Hawaii and New Mexico have passed resolutions calling on Congress to
overturn Citizens United, while resolutions are pending in 17 other
according to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). In addition, more than 147
cities -- such as Portland, Maine and Boulder, Colo. -- have passed
resolutions, and attorneys general from 11 states recently added their
"We are fighting for grassroots democracy and we're going to win this
fight because you're going to help us at the grassroots level, and most
importantly because the people of the United States understand that by
allowing big-money interests to spend unlimited amounts of money on
campaigns is not what people fought and died for to maintain this great
country and our democracy," said Sanders, chief Senate sponsor of the
Saving American Democracy Amendment.
Read more here.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), sponsor of a similar constitutional
amendment in the House, said groundswell is proof that the
movement is moving forward. "This amendment process is about a
ground game," he said.
At least 11 members of Congress gathered in the Capitol Visitor
Center hearing room, including Democratic Reps. John Conyers (Mich.),
Donna Edwards (Md.), Keith Ellison (Minn.), Rush Holt (N.J.), John
Sarbanes (Md.), Betty Sutton (Ohio), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Ted
Deutch (Fla.), Hank Johnson (Ga.), Peter Welch (Vt.), and David
CWA, Public Citizen, Common Cause, People for the American Way and
Move to Amend, all joining the summit, are working together to end the
unfettered influence of corporate money.
The AFL-CIO revamped its executive pay watch website today, adding
new shareable infographics and data on the business world's wealthiest 1
The renamed site "CEO Pay and the 99%" gives users a look inside CEO
salaries in a database sortable by industry, state and the top 100
highest paid executives. It features data on corporate cash hoarders,
the CEO-to-worker pay gap, the growing influence of mutual funds on pay
issues and the world of private equity.
Did you know it would take a worker 11,000 years to earn the
equivalent of Apple's CEO salary? Were you aware that over the past five
years, Verizon Communications cut 41,100 jobs, but still stockpiled $14
billion and paid its CEO $23.1 million last year?
Companies are increasingly under fire for out-of-control CEO pay.
On Tax Day, Citibank shareholders voted against extravagant compensation
for the bank's top executives, including CEO Vikram Pandit's $15 million
pay package. It was the first time a Wall Street firm faced such a
www.paywatch.org to write the Securities and Exchange Commission and
urge the agency to implement the Dodd-Frank Act's requirement that
public companies disclose their ratio of CEO-to-worker pay.
Click on the above to view for information and materials for
Workers’ Memorial Day.
CWA members will join workers around the nation next Saturday in
remembering those who've died or been seriously injured on the job.
Across the country, events highlighting workplace safety will mark
Workers Memorial Day, which coincides with the anniversary of the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration's founding on April 28.
Workers will hold memorial services for those who have lost their lives
and call on elected officials for strong workplace protections.
CWAers will participate in events that include: http://www.coshnetwork.org/workers-memorial-day
* Just before Workers Memorial Day, Senate Democrats are expected to
call a hearing about strengthening OSHA with resources, dollars and
personnel, said CWA OSHA Director Dave LeGrande.
* NYCOSH will award its 2012 Karen Silkwood honor to John Gentile,
vice president of CWA Local 1103. Named for the union activist, who died
under mysterious circumstances after investigating health and safety
issues at her plutonium processing plant, the award acknowledges
courageous individuals who tell the truth about workers' rights. "It's
well deserved," said LeGrande. "John is the most ardent supporter of CWA
efforts concerning health and safety. He's not concerned about asking
the hard questions and doing the hard work."
* In California, SoCalCOSH, together with more than 250 community
members, will gather at the UCLA Downtown Labor Center and bring
attention to the tragic death of UPTE-CWA Local 9119 member Sheri Sangji,
a 23-year-old UCLA research associate who suffered extensive burns in a
horrific lab fire in 2009. Just last week, a Los Angeles County Superior
Court judge granted a final request to delay the arraignment of her
chemistry professor and the UC Board of Regents. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/04/arraignment-delayed-again-in-fatal-ucla-lab-fire.html
* MassCOSH, Massachusetts AFL-CIO and Greater Boston Labor Council
will issue a report on workplace fatalities in the state outside the
Massachusetts State House.
Click here for a fact sheet and more information on events you can
organize for Workers' Memorial Day.
In 2009, 4,340 workers died on the job -- at an average of 12 workers
every day -- and about 50,000 were killed by occupational diseases,
according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But the BLS's report of more than 4.1 million work-related injuries
and illnesses is far from an accurate record of workplace hazards. Many
workers fail to file reports with their facilities, while management
persuades employees that their injuries are just not worth reporting,
according to the 2011 edition of the AFL-CIO report,
"Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect." Researchers estimate the
true injury and illness toll is two to three times greater -- 8 million
to 12 million each year.
IUE-CWA President Jim Clark was honored at the White House as a
“Champion of Change” for his advocacy of energy efficiency
opportunities that improve green manufacturing, performance and
competiveness. Clark was one of eight individuals recognized by the
program, which was created as a part of President Barack Obama’s
Winning the Future initiative.
New York's Empire State College is accepting applications for Morton
Bahr Online Learning Scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year. The
deadline to apply is May 15 and winners will be announced by the end of
June for the fall semester.
The scholarship honors CWA President Emeritus Morton Bahr and his
lifelong commitment to expanding education and opportunity for working
people. The program enables students to study online through Empire
State's Center for Distance Learning and earn an associate or bachelors
Union members, their families and domestic partners are eligible to
apply for the scholarships, which include undergraduate tuition and
for more information and to download the "Bahr application book," which
includes the application and other information.