Agents rally outside of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.
Below: Protesting AMR's muzzling tactics, agents tape mailing
labels over their mouths.
More than 100 American Airlines agents and CWA supporters today asked
a federal bankruptcy court to stop AMR Corporation from implementing
drastic, cost-cutting changes in pay, benefits and working conditions in
advance of their union representation election.
Speaking for the Ad Hoc Committee for Passenger Service Agents, which
called on US Bankruptcy Court Judge Sean Lane to issue an injunction,
employees spoke out against the company's anti-worker tactics. The
agents, who filed for a representation election last December, are the
only major workgroup at AMR without union representation.
"I have been stunned at how low this company, that I have worked so
hard for, and for many years trusted, will go to keep us from having
that voice," said Rosemary Capasso, a American Airlines agent and chair
of the Ad Hoc Committee for Passenger Service Agents, at a press
conference. "Even while in bankruptcy — while they're kicking long-time
employees to the curb, outsourcing jobs, taking away retirement
security, telling us we have to work harder for significantly less money
— they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on union busters and
attorneys to squash our effort to have a representation election."
The National Mediation Board has called for a union representation
election for the nearly 10,000 passenger service agents to be held from
May 17 to June 19. Sample ballots are scheduled to be mailed out on May
10. In demonstrating that they want representation, agents should fall
under Section 1113 of the bankruptcy code, just as the unionized workers
do, said Ed Gilmartin, general counsel for AFA-CWA.
However, for weeks, AMR has refused to turn over the list of names of
agents who are eligible to vote in the election, so that the NMB has
been unable to mail out voting instructions. Refusing to comply with the
NMB's directive, AMR has, in fact, sued the agency to block the workers'
representation election from going forward.
Protesting these muzzling efforts, some agents wore mailing labels
over their mouths during the bankruptcy court proceedings.
CWA filed for an election last December 7; American Airlines wants to
substitute its own agenda for congressional action and has filed a
lawsuit based on an empty legal claim.
Send a message to NMB General Counsel Mary Johnson asking her to
stand up to AMR and ensure the election moves forward at
For more updates, visit
www.apsa6001.org or follow the agents on Twitter at
CWA State Workers reached a tentative agreement with New Jersey
Republican Gov. Chris Christie. Details are being presented to members
and will be available as the ratification process goes forward.
Activists make signs ahead of the TPP rally in Dallas.
CWA and its progressive allies on Saturday will march on corporate
America's latest power grab: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade
As hundreds of international trade ministers and corporate lobbyists
gather in Dallas for confidential, closed-door negotiations on May 12,
activists will rally for a public debate on the potentially destructive
CWAers and activists from all over Texas will be making the trip to
Addison, Tex., for the 1 p.m. rally, with Local 6215 Executive Vice
President Nancy Hall, among others, speaking at the event. Information
on buses and carpooling is available at
"It is unacceptable that an agreement with such far reaching
implications is being negotiated behind closed doors and in complete
secrecy," said CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings. "The only
people with access to texts, in addition to the governments involved,
are the nearly 600 corporate trade advisers. The U.S. Chamber of
Commerce can see the texts, but because none of the texts has been
released to the public, workers who face the loss of their livelihoods
and communities that face economic downturn are denied any input."
He added, "Every trade deal has resulted in a loss of jobs for U.S.
workers. It's no surprise that a recent Wall Street Journal poll found
69 percent of Americans believe that free trade cost jobs. They're
On Wednesday, activists and Dallas area residents joined a telephone
town hall to hear experts from the Sierra Club, Citizens Trade Campaign
and CWA discuss what ordinary people can do to stop the TPP.
If ratified, the agreement will put an end to "Buy American" policies
and other initiatives to keep good jobs in the United States. U.S.
workers already have seen far too many good jobs go offshore, from
millions of manufacturing jobs to at least 500,000 call center jobs that
have been sent overseas from 2006 to 2010.
At stake are policies that will likely impact agriculture, the
environment, health care, consumer safety, banking regulations and
Currently, the TPP stands to be the largest free trade agreement in
the history of the United States. It now includes Chile, Peru,
Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Singapore, but
Canada, Mexico and Japan also want to join.
Say no to backroom deals for the 1 percent by signing a Citizens
petition for the public release of all TPP proposals. "Americans
deserve the right to know what U.S. trade negotiators are proposing in
our name," the petition says. The signatures will be presented to U.S.
Trade Representative Ron Kirk and other trade negotiators this week in
CWAers in Miami show their solidarity with their German colleagues
In a big victory for Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile workers, ver.di —
the union representing more than 2 million workers — announced a
tentative agreement with DT that provides for a 6.5 percent pay increase
over two years for 50,000 workers in Germany. Negotiations are
continuing for workers at DT's T-Systems unit.
ver.di members have been holding rolling strikes and mobilizing for a
fair contract. They've also been supporting the efforts of T-Mobile USA
workers who want the right to bargain here in the United States. In
2010, CWA and ver.di formed TU, a joint union representing T-Mobile
workers in both countries, and ver.di union activists have taken on the
fight of T-Mobile workers in dealings with DT.
CWA President Larry Cohen said the settlement is a huge step forward
for ver.di, TU and the global labor movement: "Why is this settlement
possible in Germany, yet in the United States, T-Mobile USA management
continues a campaign of fear and intimidation in workplaces where
workers want to organize and engages in superficial bargaining at best
in Connecticut, where technicians voted for CWA representation last
The difference is that ver.di and the support for collective
bargaining is so strong in Germany and many other countries, including
those in Latin America and Asia, Cohen said. Bargaining is the way to
end income inequality for working Americans, he said, adding, "this is
what democracy looks like."
CWA LPATs gather for a three-day political action training session.
Below: CWA LPATs work on state plans and goals.
Gearing up for the 2012 presidential election, CWA LPAT activists
from around the country gathered last week for three days of political
"If we're going to make change as a community, we in the community
have to start fighting," said Anita Andrews of CWA Local 4322.
Huddling in suburban Maryland, they reviewed their strategic election
targets and LPAT responsibilities, and then circled up with their
respective districts to hammer out state plans and goals. CWA President
Larry Cohen met with participants one evening, kicking off a discussion
of their personal "I am the 99%" stories. CWA National Political
Director Rafael Navar led workshops on skill building, such as how to
sign up volunteers and approach members about donating to CWA's
political action fund. Participants learned about the Labor Action
Network, or LAN, and the importance of tracking and reporting data.
They also heard from the AFL-CIO about an unprecedented move to give
members more say over how the union will spend its campaign war chest.
By taking part in campaign activities — phone banking, knocking on
doors, signing up volunteers — participants can earn currency in
Workers' Voice, the Super PAC arm of the AFL-CIO. That currency, in
turn, can be allocated to voter registration for the participants' local
candidate of choice, online ads or other issues.
While the training stressed the importance of 2012, it laid out a
long-term plan to sustain that election-year energy through coalition
building. Throughout the weekend, members shared tactics and war stories
from their recent legislative victories.
"We've been able to heal a huge rift between labor and the
progressive movement that's existed in Oklahoma for two decades," Dave
Ratcliff of CWA Local 6012. "Now we're working together like never
before. Now it's like we're one. Unfortunately, it took what the
Republicans have been doing to get us to this point. We're playing a lot
of defense. But we're playing with a much better team."
Three-time Grammy winner Steve Earle last week called out Verizon
Communications for hitting up workers for another $20,000 a year in
compensation cuts while posting another record earnings quarter this
This was just one of the actions aimed at pushing Verizon management
to do the right thing and bargain fairly.
As part of Shareholder Spring, a crowd of 1,000 workers, students and
progressive activists demonstrated inside and outside Verizon's annual
meeting on May 3 in Huntsville, Ala. They called on the company to stop
its assault on customers, employees and American taxpayers; Verizon has
earned the nickname "VeriGreedy" for its emphasis on corporate greed.
Check out this video from the shareholder meeting, featuring Earle's
great song, "God is God."
Earle, a musician, writer and actor, is a strong supporter of workers
fighting for economic and political justice, among other progressive
Verizon, meanwhile, is a $100 billion company that won't bargain
fairly with 45,000 union workers who want to hold on to the American
In addition to the company's demands for $20,000 in annual givebacks
from workers, amounting to $1 billion a year, Verizon wants another $1
billion a year from consumers for upgrading their phones.
Despite billions in profits, Verizon dodges taxes and has sent
thousands of American jobs overseas. It didn't pay a dime in federal
corporate income taxes from 2008-2010. In fact, it got a nearly $1
billion tax rebate over that period. And Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam makes
more money in one day than a Verizon technician makes in an entire year.
Wisconsin CWAers get out the vote.
Below: Denise Williams of CWA Local 4630 volunteers at phone bank
With less than a month until Wisconsin's recall election, CWA
activists have been working around the clock to get Republican Gov.
Scott Walker out of office.
"It's a civil war here," said Lindy McGraw of CWA Local 4630, who
devotes 10 hours a week to the recall effort. "I just hope that people
see the light."
McGraw and members of her local women's committee have been helping
out wherever they're needed, from data entry to educating people about
Walker's anti-worker, anti-family budget. Every weekday at noon, they
join the Solidarity Sing-Along for a singing protest at the Wisconsin
On "CWA night" at the phone bank, volunteers reached thousands of
union households between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. last week, said Mark Frey of
CWA Local 4630. On May 16, CWA will partner with Madison Teachers, Inc.
for another round of outreach to union families around the state,
reminding them of Walker's successful effort last year to strip public
sector employees of their bargaining rights.
"We're telling union households to get out the vote and educating
members about the legislative climate," Frey said. "It's a very powerful
26 percent of all Wisconsin voters were in union households,
compared to 17 percent of voters nationwide.
The recall election — scheduled for June 5 — will be a rematch
between Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who won Tuesday's
primary to become the Democratic Party's nominee. Polls show the race is
currently tied. During the last face off, voters in union households
made up roughly one third of Barrett's total vote in the election,
according to the exit polls.
CWA members rally outside the Bank of America shareholders meeting
in Charlotte, N.C.
CWA members joined 1,000 demonstrators Wednesday in protesting at the
annual Bank of America shareholders meeting. Billed by 99% Power and
UNITY as the "Showdown in Charlotte," activists spotlighted the bank's
foreclosure practices and its lack of corporate accountability.
Read more here.
The Newspaper Guild-CWA and the Labor Heritage Foundation are
sponsoring an Occupy Movement photo contest, with prizes for best
student, best amateur and best professional photo.
Three $333.33 prizes will be awarded, totaling $999.99 in recognition
of the 99 percent for whom the Occupy Movement is fighting. The deadline
to enter is June 1.
Photos must be submitted by regular mail and should be no smaller
than 4x6 inches and no larger than 10x13. For the mailing address and
all contest rules,
click here or go to
Entries will be judged by participants at the 34th Annual Great Labor
Arts Exchange, June 22-25, 2012 at the Maritime Trades Institute
conference center near Baltimore. Winners will be selected based on the
number of votes received.
Click here for more information.