Make sure to join the next CWA telephone town hall, set for this
evening, April 26, at 7:30 pm EDT. Go to
CWA activists from across the country will join the call to discuss
their participation in 99 Percent Spring training, Verizon and AT&T
updates, and the next steps we are taking to fight back against the
attacks on workers' rights and our democracy.
CWA AT&T members in California and Nevada have a simple question for
management: "Where's the Fairness?"
As bargaining for a new contract covering 18,000 workers at AT&T West
continues, CWAers are taking that message everywhere. "This simple,
direct question is not just a slogan. It is a collective question by
workers to their employer. Workers who know they can't get answers to
questions like this unless they ask in unison," said CWA District 9 Vice
President Jim Weitkamp.
For a while, management wasn't sure what to do about it. When premise
and U-Verse technicians from garages throughout the state wore the
stickers, management in Reno, Sacramento and San Jose sent some workers
home, though workers in other location went about their normal schedule.
As other technicians and workers joined in solidarity, management seemed
"to be in complete disarray," the district said. Customer service
representatives in some locations were told they couldn't wear the
stickers, others heard nothing from supervisors.
Here's a video of members of Local 9423 talking about their actions.
"We will continue on the offensive until justice is achieved. The
simple equation is this: our labor, delivered peacefully, for fair
compensation, working conditions and dignity in the workplace. This is
why we fight, and this is why we don't give up," Weitkamp said.
In a separate AT&T development, CWA Vice President Ralph Maly,
telecommunications and technologies, will speak to shareholders at the
company's annual meeting on April 27 in Salt Lake City.
CWA activists join protesters outside Wells Fargo's shareholder
meeting in San Francisco.
Nearly 70 Guild-represented reporters and editors at the New York
Times leaflet the company's annual shareholders meeting.
Did you miss 99 Percent Spring training last week? It's not too late
to get involved.
All the materials and videos are now online. Check it out:
www.cwa-union.org/99online. It takes about an hour to complete and
you don't have to finish it all in one sitting. You'll share your own
story of economic hardship, learn how the 1 percent wrecked our economy
and get the tools to plan actions in your own community this Spring.
Just like the in-person trainings, the online training has all you need
to get ready to help the 99 percent take back the country.
CWA newspaper ad.
Among the nearly 100 organizations joining in 99 Percent Spring, CWA
was the third most active organization in hosting trainings and having
members participate. More than 50,000 people attended the seven-hour
training program, with sessions held in every state, and another 50,000
are slated to do the training online.
Across the country, activists are ramping up direct, non-violent
actions. In San Francisco on Tuesday, CWA activists were among the 500
people protesting Wells Fargo's lending practices and foreclosures,
interrupting CEO John Stumpf's speech to shareholders at least four
Check out this coverage by a TNG-CWA member.
In Detroit, the labor movement joined
several thousand protesters in disrupting General Electric's annual
meeting with chants of "Pay your fair share!" on Wednesday, and actions
also were held around Citibank's annual meeting last week. Next up is
Verizon's shareholder meeting on May 3, the latest in as many as 40
Shareholder Spring actions this year.
Get involved with the 99 Percent Spring at
VeriGreedy Verizon billboard.
Below: Verizon workers rescued Fios, a 1-year-old tabby, from a
Taking a stand against corporate greed, CWA activists plan to protest
Verizon Communication's annual shareholder meeting on May 3.
The gathering starts at 10:30 a.m. at the Von Braun Center, an arena
located in Huntsville, Ala. Shareholders will be voting on nine
proposals, including an AFSCME and CWA General Fund proposition
requiring Verizon to publicly disclose its federal- and state-level
Are you a shareholder? Raise your voice and cast a vote
against CEO Lowell McAdam's $23.1 million compensation package. You can
find the current proxy statement
Too far from Huntsville to come in person? Around the country,
activists will be demonstrating and leafleting to make sure their local
communities know about Verizon's failure to bargain fairly with workers,
its tax dodging and its demands for major givebacks by workers and
retirees while the company posts record profits. CWA rallies are
currently being planned in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Harrisburg, Pa.;
Philadelphia, Pa.; Roanoke, Va.; Richmond, Va.; Salisbury, Md.; Hampton,
Va.; Wilmington, Del.; Dover, Del.; Portland, Ore.; Twin Cities, Minn.;
and other locations.
The 99 Spring/Challenging Corporate Power has prepared an action tool
kit about VeriGreedy.
Read more here.
And check out
www.unioncat.com. On Wednesday, Verizon workers came to the rescue
of a cat trapped in a tree with a cable-wire noose in New York. Workers
have named the 1-year-old tabby Fios, and he's now joining the fight for
a fair contract.
More updates can be found at
The National Mediation Board has set the elections date for the CWA
representation vote among nearly 10,000 American Airlines passenger
Voting materials for the telephone and online voting will be mailed
out by the NMB starting May 17; votes will be counted with the final
results announced on June 19.
American Airlines organizers are urging all agents to make sure the
airline has their correct address so they can receive the voting
materials from the NMB. All the latest election news, and information
about getting a replacement ballot if necessary, will be
Meanwhile, CWA is supporting the efforts of agents who are fighting
back against AMR Corp.'s latest round of restructuring that will result
in the loss of jobs, benefits and income for thousands of passenger
American Airlines announced it planned to completely close the Tucson
reservations center, outsource work affecting both reservations and
airport agents and force res agents to work from home with no benefits
and a reduced wage scale, among other restructuring plans.
"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."
Agents attended the airline's bankruptcy hearing in New York on Apr.
25, and are waiting for the bankruptcy judge to rule on the request by
the Ad Hoc committee for a temporary injunction to prevent the company
from changing agents' working conditions until after the election.
The passenger service group is the only major employee group at the
airline without union representation.
CWA President Larry Cohen marches with ver.di leaders at a strike
rally in Düsseldorf, Germany.
In Germany, CWA President Larry Cohen is given a flag signed by
hundreds of ver.di activists. It will be displayed at CWA
CWA members support German T-Mobile workers.
CWA President Larry Cohen, renewing his call for international
solidarity, used a trip to Germany this week to underscore how the
erosion of American workers' rights should serve as a wake-up call for
the global labor movement.
"The status quo is not stable," said Cohen, speaking to 250 leaders
of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in Bonn. "We cannot stand
still. The enemies of collective bargaining are always on the lookout
for opportunities to weaken trade unions. And in fact, a primary export
from the USA is the set of tactics that employers use to undermine trade
union participation and policies to reduce collective bargaining
Cohen said the SDP leaders indicated overwhelming support for a joint
campaign of ver.di and CWA to bring bargaining rights to T-Mobile USA
workers. CWA has been working with T-Mobile USA workers who want a union
voice, but U.S. management of the Deutsche Telekom-owned company
continues its campaign of fear and intimidation of workers. T-Mobile USA
announced recently it will close seven call centers, affecting the jobs
of 3,300 workers.
Speaking at a strike rally with 10,000 ver.di members in Dusseldorf,
Cohen told workers he had hoped Deutsche Telekom would import Germany's
high standards for workers' rights when it first entered the U.S. market
in 2000. But the exact opposite happened.
"Now we are even afraid that Deutsche Telekom could export the U.S.
model of union avoidance," he said.
In 2008, CWA and the German union ver.di formed a joint union for
T-Mobile workers named TU to represent US workers of T-Mobile. ver.di
leader Lothar Schröder and other ver.di activists and members have been
crucial supporters of the campaign to topple the double standard of the
company recognizing labor rights in Germany, but ignoring them in the
However, T-Mobile USA has continued to deploy a barrage of anti-union
tactics, Cohen told Social Democratic Party members this week.
Management holds mandatory meetings to discourage union organizing,
disciplines workers for reading union literature and films interactions
between employees and union organizers. The company's human resource
department has even advertised for managers with skill in maintaining a
"We have great challenges ahead of us to establish labor rights as a
central element of an open economy," he said. "Our politicians must take
seriously the need for global standards. Too often labor standards are
moved to the side — or worse still dismissed as secondary. Our
collective interests are united in raising working standards higher, not
see them fall lower. Only our collective movement can create conditions
to restore workers' rights to organize."
Cohen said to "reverse union intolerance," workers need to hold each
and every company accountable. In the case of Deutsche Telekom, he urged
lawmakers to sign onto a German statement of principles: Ein Offener
Brief für Arbeitnehmerrechte. (An open letter on workers' rights.)
At the strike rally, Cohen said CWA members have been inspired by
ver.di's strength in its rolling strikes against Deutsche Telekom. Over
the past two weeks, T-Mobile workers and CWA activists have gathered in
front of T-Mobile stores nationwide, holding signs reading, "Solidarity
with ver.di" and "Good work — fair salaries."
"We cannot win our fight for union rights, decent work and fair pay
only in one country," he said. "This is a global fight and that's why
unions have to stand together all over the world."
A new project to encourage more CWA retirees to become active and
effective voices for our union got off to a great start with a series of
three telephone town hall meetings.
More than 20,000 retirees participated in the hour-long calls.
The project is reaching out to retirees who haven't joined the RMC or
haven't had much, if any, contact with CWA since their retirement.
Judging from the enthusiasm of this week's calls, these CWAers want to
re-engage and stand up to protect working families, said George Kohl,
CWA senior director.
During the call, CWA retirees had the opportunity to ask live
questions about whatever was on their minds, from Medicare and Social
Security to the call center bill to keep good jobs here in the U.S. They
also had the chance to weigh in on how the offshoring of call center
jobs has affected them, and how they wanted to participate in future
Kohl and Legislative Director Shane Larson worked through the
hour-long program, with the help of two outstanding retiree leaders:
Addie Wyatt, president of the RMC for California, Nevada and Hawaii; and
Patrick Welch, president of the RMC for New York, New Jersey and New
Wyatt talked about the latest action that she and other CWA activists
were involved in: a Tax Day protest that spotlighted companies like
Verizon that don't pay their fair share of taxes. "We have to protect
the benefits we have earned, and we all need to be a part of the fight,"
Welch stressed the importance of being active politically, by
participating in CWA's political program and joining the Retired
Members' Council. "We'll never match the big dollars of these
corporations, but we have something else: people power," he said.
Currently, there are 50,000 CWA retirees who are active RMC members.
This initial stage of the retiree project is contacting another 100,000
The U.S. Senate upheld the very modest changes made by the National
Labor Relations Board last year to ensure that workers have fair and
Every Democratic Senator, plus Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski,
voted against the big campaign by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its
Senate supporters to block even these modest changes in workers' right
to organize and bargain collectively.
The Chamber of Commerce also has filed a court challenge to the rule
The new rule eliminates some of the stalling tactics that employers
use, specifically, filing lawsuits to challenge the eligibility of
workers to vote in a representation election. The rule changes postpone
such challenges until after the vote.
"The preamble to the National Labor Relations Act actually says its
purpose is 'to promote collective bargaining.' The U.S. has fallen far
from that standard, and workers' rights are under attack. The U.S.
Senate today took a small step in protecting workers' right to organize
and bargain collectively by upholding modest rule changes made by the
NLRB," CWA President Larry Cohen said.
"Our middle class standard of living has fallen as collective
bargaining rights have declined. The United States is now near the
bottom among industrialized democracies in bargaining and organizing
coverage. U.S. income inequality is the worst in 100 years. The gap
between wages and productivity in the U.S. is widening as workers are
unable to bargain to improve their conditions," he added.
The U.S. Agency for International Development has "suspended" an
initiative training Filipino workers for call center jobs outsourced by
Responding to concern that the English language training project was
undermining and weakening the U.S. workforce, the agency last Friday
established a high-level task force to review the matter. The decision
arrived just one day after Reps. Tim Bishop (D-NY), lead sponsor of a
CWA-supported bill to penalize American companies that ship call center
jobs overseas, and Walter Jones (R-NC) "vehemently" opposed to the use
of taxpayer dollars and demanded that the "ill-advised project be
"It's bad enough that some of our largest corporations are soaking
U.S. communities and taxpayers for generous financial incentives to
locate in a community, only to leave local workers jobless when they
eventually ship the call center jobs overseas," said CWA Chief of Staff
Ron Collins. "But it's incredible to realize that these corporations are
relying on taxpayer money to train foreign replacement workers — and
that they're avoiding basic tax obligations through complicated
avoidance schemes in the process."
a letter to USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Bishop and Jones vowed
to "use every legislative option available to permanently prohibit USAID
from engaging in such practices in the future."
Two years ago, Bishop was instrumental in
ending a similar USAID program that spent millions in taxpayer
dollars to train offshore IT workers in Sri Lanka.
Since 2007, more than 500,000 call center jobs have been outsourced
from the United States to foreign countries. Bishop, along with Rep.
Dave McKinley (R-W.Va.), are the key sponsors of H.R. 3596, the U.S.
Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, which will create a "bad
actor" list of companies that send U.S. call center jobs overseas;
require that overseas agents disclose their name and location; and give
consumers the right to be transferred to a U.S. facility. It will also
bar U.S. companies that outsource call center jobs from receiving
federal grants and loans for five years. CWA is a strong supporter of
this bill; there are now more than 117 co-sponsors.
Pulitzer winner David Kocieniewski proudly wears a Guild sticker at
a New York Times' celebration.
TNG-CWA members from coast to coast have won six of the most coveted
awards in journalism, a Pulitzer Prize, for reporting on everything from
violence in Philadelphia's schools to famine in East Africa.
Guild winners for 2012 also included a Boston film critic, a Denver
photographer who chronicled the struggle of an Iraq veteran suffering
post-traumatic stress, and a New York Times journalist who won for
explanatory reporting for what judges called a "lucid series that
penetrated a legal thicket to explain how the nation's wealthiest
citizens and corporations often exploited loopholes and avoided taxes."
A pair of winners from the Seattle Times, Michael Berens and Ken
Armstrong, have donated their $10,000 prize so that other Seattle
journalists can get investigative reporting training. Berens and
Armstrong's investigation revealed how a little known governmental body
in Washington State was moving vulnerable patients from safer
pain-control medication to the cheaper but more dangerous methadone.
A full list of winners and links to their work is on the
CWA members will join workers around the nation on Saturday in
remembering those who've died or been seriously injured on the job.
In honor of Workers' Memorial Day, they'll be gathering with state
and local OSH groups, labor activists and community leaders to hold
memorial services for those who have lost their lives and call on
elected officials for strong workplace protections.
Click here for a fact sheet and more information on events you can
organize for Workers' Memorial Day.
Last week, at a Senate hearing, unions, safety experts and watchdog
groups advocated a simpler and speedier process for creating workplace
health and safety rules. Since 1981, it's taken the Occupational Safety
and Health Administration nearly eight years on average to issue each
new safety rule, with some being delayed as long as 19 years, according
to a new Government Accountability Office report. That's twice as long
as the Transportation Department and more than five times as long as the
Securities and Exchange Commission.
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.
The new CWA/NETT brochure describes the expanded online academy.
Over the past decade, CWA/NETT's online academy has grown from a
modest beginning of about a dozen course offerings to well over forty of
the finest "professional-grade" training courses, plus a full Associates
Degree. As an added bonus, CWA members are now granted full
complimentary access to
Lynda.com, where they will find hundreds of the most popular
software tutorials — everything from Acrobat to Microsoft Word,
Photoshop to Excel.
Now a new,
interactive brochure describes the new expanded CWA/NETT. Many
members believe it's their most valuable union benefit.