CWA Town Hall Call Tonight!

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Join Sen. Tom Harkin on tonight's CWA Town Hall Call at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Senator Harkin will fill us in on today's National Labor Relations Board confirmation hearings and we'll discuss what we must do to ensure that all five nominees are confirmed.

We'll also hear from UMWA President Cecil Roberts about Patriot Coal's scheme to shed its retiree health care obligations, and from a CWA Local 6300 activist who joined in the protests against this plan in St. Louis. We'll learn about an innovative CWA Canada effort to get journalism students to become union members, and about two-year fight for a fair contract at ABC.

Talk to you soon!

Give Us Five!

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CWA and labor activists took to Capitol Hill today to tell lawmakers "Give Us Five" National Labor Relations Board members – even if that means changing the Senate rules on nominations to break through the gridlock.

"We're not going to just be hopeful that Senate Democrats do the right thing," said CWA President Larry Cohen. "Progressives of all types understand the system is broken and that many nominations cannot get through the Senate despite majority support. Working people know that a full-strength NLRB is the first step to justice on the job. And they're fed up. They're fed up with gridlock, and they want their senators to make a difference."

At the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on pending NLRB nominations, activists wore red buttons and stickers reading, "Give Me 5 NLRB Members" to encourage senators to vote on the nominations.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) noted of the NLRB's importance, "the Board is the only place workers can go if they have been treated unfairly and denied the basic protections that the law provides...The Board is just as essential for our nation's employers...Because this agency is absolutely critical to our country, to our economy, and to our middle class, it is deeply disappointing to see what has happened to the Board in recent years."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told the committee, "If the goal is to prevent the NLRB from functioning, in terms of protecting the rights of American workers, I think we should change the rules and take a majority vote to not only see that these people are seated, so they can do their job, but so other nominees, who have been clearly obstructed also have a chance to do their job."

 

 

 

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Today a new ad running in Politico reads, "It's time for the Senate majority to confirm the three Democrats and two Republicans who have been nominated to the NLRB so that workers' rights are protected and labor law is fairly enforced. We have a Democratic President, elected by a strong majority, and a Democratic majority in the Senate. The Senate has the tools it needs to confirm all five members of the Board."

Check out some of the coverage:

Los Angeles Times
Nuking the filibuster.

Huffington Post
NLRB nominations may be blocked by GOP, rendering labor board inoperable.

The Hill
Senate Democrats: Nuclear option for filibuster is back on the table.

The Hill
Unions mobilize as labor board faces paralysis in Obama's second term.

Ed Schultz Radio Show
Interview with CWA President Larry Cohen.

Think Progress
Two GOP Judges Just Voted to Eliminate Union Rights, Here's How the Senate Can Stop Them.

In These Times
Meet one of the victims in the right-wing war against the NLRB.

Politico
Senate set for showdown over W.H. nominees.

CWA and TakeAction Minnesota Fight for Economic Justice

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CWA members from Locals 7200, 7250 and 7201 lobbied Minnesota's state capitol on a call center bill and a state budget that ensures the 1 percent and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson and CWA State Council President Mona Meyer stand with State Senator Dave Hoffman, sponsor of the call center legislation.

 

 

 

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TakeAction Minnesota – CWA’s coalition partner in the state – trains CWA members on how to lobby lawmakers on state budget concerns.

 

 

 

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CWA and TakeAction Minnesota members celebrate after mobilizing members to put pressure on Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar to do whatever it takes to confirm all five National Labor Relations Board nominees. They made 57 phone calls to each senator in one day. (Their goal was 25.)

 

 

US Airways Agents Mobilize Ahead of Merger

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Agents participated in a one-day training.

 

 

 

More than 50 US Airways airport and reservations agents gathered in Charlotte this week to build a mobilizing network for bargaining in preparation for the merger between US Airways and American Airlines.

Local leaders representing airport stations and reservations centers around the country heard first hand from American agents how much of their work has been outsourced to contractors – sometimes with the contractors outnumbering American agents at the ticket counters. And US Airways agents traded ideas on how best to structure themselves to reach all CWA members.

Many agents spoke of the advantages of belonging to CWA.

"I know for a fact we wouldn't have gotten snap backs if we didn't have a union," said Eula Smith, a station agent at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, a US Airways hub.

Caridad Ruiz, another agent, noted that having a union "prohibits management from abusing authority."

The agents who took part in the one-day training will head back to their work places, start building a mobilization structure and train others in the skills they learned while in Charlotte.

T-Mobile USA Workers Speak Out in Germany

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Ver.di union leaders Lothar Schroeder and Ado Wilhelm meet with T-Mobile USA workers.

Below: The delegation talks with the Left Party's leader, Dr. Gregor Gysi, and Sabine Zimmerman, Chair of the Committee on Labor and Social Affairs.

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This week T-Mobile USA workers are in Germany educating political leaders and Deutsche Telekom shareholders about T-Mobile's abusive work practices and campaigns against their right to organize.

On Monday, the delegation traveled to ver.di headquarters to discuss work issues with union leaders Lothar Schroeder and Ado Wilhelm.

"What keeps me motivated is the support from ver.di," said Victoria Singer, a T-Mobile customer service representative, who will be speaking at the annual shareholders meeting later in the week. "They are so invested in our success. Part of me wants to leave, but I stay because of the support of CWA and ver.di."

On Tuesday, the group met with Berlin call center employees – the same workers who were great partners in raising awareness about call center jobs in Charleston, SC.

Then they traveled to the Bundestag, the German parliament, to meet with several political leaders. With each meeting, the group talked about having to clock out for bathroom breaks and the frequent use of threat and humiliation in the workplace.

On Wednesday, workers testified to the Committee on Labor and Social Change before members of all of Germany's political parties.

Want to read more? Activists are keeping a trip diary to share with the TU community. Check it out here.

Guild Demands DOJ Return AP Reporters' Phone Records

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The Newspaper Guild-CWA and its local that represents AP journalists, The News Media Guild, demand that the U.S. Justice Department return all telephone records that it obtained from phones – including some home and cell phones – of Associated Press reporters and editors.

The collection of these records is egregious and a direct attack on journalists and the Justice Department needs to cease and desist such investigations. The ability of journalists to develop and protect sources is vital to keeping the public informed about issues affecting their lives.

There could be no justification or explanation for this broad, over-reaching investigation. It appears officials are twisting legislation designed to protect public safety as a means to muzzle those concerned with the public's right to know.

The suggestion that the news story "scooped" an announcement for partisan political purposes only exacerbates the damage such actions can have on a free press. This investigation has a chilling effect on press freedom in the United States – a right enshrined in the Constitution. Please contact your representatives and the White House to tell them to stop this outrageous, abusive investigation now.

Organizing Update

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CWA Local 1109 won an NLRB election for 37 Corbel technicians in Little Falls, NJ. Corbel is a contractor for Cablevision and Local 1109 also represents Corbel technicians in Brooklyn.

In addition, through voluntary recognition, they now represent five videographers at Time of Day Media.

Local 1109 recently won the President's Award at CWA's 74th Convention for their organizing and support of Cablevision workers in Brooklyn.

Bargaining Update

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Workers were encouraged to bring their message inside the workplace by wearing a "IATSE~NABET~IBEW UNITED FOR ONE CAUSE" wristband on the job.

 

 

 

  • After 18 months of bargaining, CWA Local 1298 and AT&T East have reached a tentative agreement covering 3,000 wireline employees in Connecticut. The four-year agreement includes wage increases, job protections and expanded pension benefits.
     
  • Contract negotiations for CWA Local 1085, which represents 200 non-law enforcement employees in New Jersey's Salem County, are ongoing, even after a vote on the county budget. "They're not offering much at this point. Perhaps when their budget's adopted they'll come back to us with a more realistic proposal," said Local President Richard Dann. Read more here.
     
  • NABET-CWA members joined protests outside Fox TV stations in Detroit, Chicago, New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Philadelphia as part of a nationwide protest against Fox management's plan to turn back the clock on wages, jurisdiction, and benefits. NABET-CWA, IBEW and IATSE have united in the fight for "fair and balanced" union contracts. Read more about the Philadelphia rally here. And check out this blog post from the California Labor Federation.

 

No Knives on Planes – Ever Again!

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Flight Attendants held a press conference today at Charlotte Douglas International Airport to continue to engage the traveling public in efforts to keep the aircraft cabin free of knives that have been used as weapons.

According to a recent Washington Post article "now the chatter is that the TSA may decide to put the new rules into effect over the Memorial Day weekend." TSA officers have expressed concern not only with the dangers of allowing knives in the security checkpoints and beyond, but also noted that these new procedures would slow security lines.

The TSA's delayed policy to allow knives into the aircraft cabin has been opposed by Flight Attendants, gate agents, TSA officers, air marshals, law enforcement officers, FBI agents, pilots, passengers, 9/11 families and airlines. Last week nine organizations representing 400,000 members of these groups filed a legal petition with the TSA in opposition to permitting knives in the cabin, reserving their right to take legal action against implementation.

Flight Attendants also have been pushing for passage of the No Knives Act of 2013 to legislate a permanent ban on knives in the passenger cabin. Flight Attendants are issuing a public plea to Congress, including North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson, to support the legislation and keep the traveling public safe. Hudson's support would be key to passage in the House, since he serves as chairperson of the Transportation Security Subcommittee on the Homeland Security Committee.

California Launches Innovative Plan to Expand Voter Registration

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California's Secretary of State Debra Bowen is designating the state's new Health Benefit Exchange, Covered California, as a voter registration agency under the National Voter Registration Act. That means Covered California will be incorporating voter registration into every transaction – online, in-person and by phone – it has with consumers.

"The timing could not be more ideal," said Lori Shellenberger, director of the Voting Rights Project of the ACLU of California. "Covered California is already leading the country in implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Secretary Bowen's decision to include the state's Health Benefit Exchange as a voter registration agency is one of the most significant voter registration policy decisions in the state's history and will bring millions of Californians into the democratic process in our state. We are hopeful that many other states will follow her innovative lead."

California is the first state to designate its Health Benefit Exchange as a voter registration agency under the NVRA. As many as six million people are eligible to apply for or renew their health coverage through Covered California.

 

 

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

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