American Airlines agents and supporters march to the NMB.
American Airlines is still refusing to hand over mailing labels to
the National Mediation Board so that passenger service agents can vote
on union representation. So workers took matters into their own hands.
On Tuesday, a group of agents and supporters hand delivered labels
containing the names and mailing addresses of nearly all voting eligible
employees to the NMB's general counsel, urging her to move forward on
the union representation election for nearly 10,000 agents.
"American Airlines employees must be afforded their right to choose
union representation in a free election," CWA President Larry Cohen said
in the accompanying letter to NMB General Counsel Mary L. Johnson. "The
timing of the election is particularly critical in this situation, as
American Airlines is in bankruptcy and is using that proceeding to make
immediate, structural and life changing decisions about passenger
But in papers filed Tuesday, American's parent company AMR responded
that it won't hand over the labels while it contests NMB's decision to
even allow the election. AMR is currently suing the agency to stop
agents from voting. CWA and the passenger service group are intervening
in the lawsuit that AMR has filed against the NMB, supporting the
agency's position that the election should go forward.
Last December, CWA filed a request with the NMB for an election,
which was supported by more than 35 percent of workers, which was what
the law required at the time. But as NMB worked to set an election date,
Congress changed the law to require election requests to be supported by
50 percent of workers. The new law went into effect in February, two
months after the agents filed. But AMR is seeking to rewrite aviation
legislation and substitute its own agenda for that of Congress, so it
can muzzle its employees and stop them from having a union voice.
And despite US Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane's decision not to issue a
temporary injunction to bar American Airlines from implementing
devastating wage, benefit and working conditions cuts for passenger
service agents, agents and CWA supporters are pressing forward for a
fair and timely election.
"American Airlines has been doing everything it can think of, both
legal and not, to block agents from voting on union representation,"
said CWA Organizing Director Sandy Rusher. But agents are continuing to
mobilize, sending petitions to the American Airlines CEO and to the NMB
calling for a fair election now.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and members of the Illinois
congressional delegation sent
this letter to American Airlines CEO Thomas Horton, calling on him
to respect workers' right to vote on union representation.
Find more information at
District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings speaks at the rally.
Below: Members from CWA, UAW, Sierra Club and more march on the
Nearly 400 protesters marched to the doorstep of Trans-Pacific
Partnership negotiators this weekend, demanding transparency and
accountability in the secretive international trade talks.
Rallying outside the Intercontinental Hotel — host to the closed-door
negotiations in Addison, Texas — they raised awareness that hundreds of
international trade ministers and corporate lobbyists are discussing
deals that could restrict Internet freedom, reduce access to life-saving
medicines and encourage American companies to move more jobs overseas.
TPP, they warned, has the power to end "Buy American" policies and
weaken environmental law.
"Where is labor?" said CWA Local 6215 Executive Vice President Nancy
Hall. "We always build the table. We make the chairs. But we're not
allowed to sit there and partake in the discussions. No one there was
speaking on our behalf."
During a Dallas area telephone town hall meeting, CWA District 6 Vice
President Claude Cummings noted that U.S. Chamber of Commerce officials
had access to the texts and proposals, but "workers who face the loss of
their livelihoods and communities that face economic downturn are denied
About 95 CWA members joined their progressive partners, like the
Citizens Trade Campaign and the Sierra Club, in protesting against what
stands to be the largest free trade agreement in the history of the
United States. TPP now includes Chile, Peru, Australia, New Zealand,
Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Singapore, but Canada, Mexico and Japan
also want to join.
Later, activists crashed the conference gala, taking the podium to
present US Trade Representative Ron Kirk with their "Corporate
Power Tool Award" — a fake honor Kirk almost accepted if it wasn't
for the intervention of his Secret Service minders.
other protesters succeeded in replacing hundreds of rolls of toilet
paper throughout the hotel with a more informative variety.
The next round of talks is scheduled to be held in San Diego in early
"They have kept it so under wraps that no one knows about TPP," said
Herb Keener of CWA Local 6215. "We need to start hammering it home and
let people know there's another negotiation. We have three months to be
on our toes. Let's educate them. That's our job. We have to get it out
when no one else will."
In a fight with the most anti-union governor in their history of
their contract, CWA New Jersey state workers successfully preserved the
integrity and enforceability of decades of collective bargaining.
During the year-long negotiations, CWA — representing about 60,000
public workers statewide — boldly withstood a barrage of attacks at the
bargaining table and struck a tentative deal, which now must be ratified
by CWA members. Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration had
sought more than 90 concessions from the union, eliminating significant
chunks of their agreement.
"It is a lean economic agreement in lean times, but it is a robust
agreement when it comes to collective bargaining, enforceability, and
unity," the bargaining team wrote in a letter to members.
"As you will see, when you read over the final bargaining report, we
did not allow the administration to divide us between those earning
below $55,000 and those earning above, or between those who work at
state colleges and those who don't, or between intermittent workers and
full time workers. As you will see, we stood up to all of the worst
language demands and did not allow the administration to cover our
contract with 'for information purposes only' or whether or not
something is left to the 'discretion' of management or the governor. A
contract is a contract and Governor Christie knows what every other
governor before him has learned: With CWA, if we make a deal, we will
live up to it and when you make a deal, we will insist that you live up
to it too."
In the beginning, the governor came into negotiations demanding a 3.5
percent rollback in salary and the elimination of all annual step
increases and no across the board increases for the life of the
By the end of the negotiations, CWA achieved the continuation of all
annual step increases, as well as small, additional across-the-board
increases in the third and fourth year of the agreement.
CWA members have been working without a contract since July 1.
The secretive, anti-competitive deal between Verizon Wireless and the
nation's four leading cable companies will hurt economic development,
diminish job creation, lead to higher prices with fewer options, and
grow the digital divide, nine upstate New York mayors said Wednesday.
In a letter to the Justice Department and the Federal Communications
Commission, the mayors urged the agencies to "examine the impact of this
transaction on competition and consumer choice, and ensure that our
communities are not left behind."
Under the proposed deal, Verizon Wireless and major cable companies
would market each other's products, allowing them to offer a "quadruple
play" of video, Internet access, voice, and wireless service that would
essentially eliminate competition. Verizon Wireless would also pay $3.9
billion to buy large segments of the wireless spectrum from Comcast,
Time Warner, Cox, and Bright House Networks.
As a result, the proposed deal would deter any expansion of Verizon's
high-speed fiber-optic FiOS network, killing thousands of jobs and
widening the digital divide. Though FiOS is widely available in New York
City and affluent suburbs, the agreement would remove any incentive for
Verizon to provide high-speed service to the state's other urban centers
— cutting people of color and low-income communities off from the
opportunities that accompany high-speed Internet.
"As you are well aware, high-speed broadband is critical to economic
development and job creation, as well as improvements in health care,
education, public safety, and civic discourse which are so essential to
communal life," the mayors wrote in the letter. "The economic health of
our cities and our upstate region depends upon access to the same
first-rate communications infrastructure available to the New York City
metropolitan region and the suburban communities that ring our cities."
The letter was signed by Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, Syracuse Mayor
Stephanie A. Miner, Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings, Binghamton Mayor
Matthew T. Ryan, Kingston Mayor Shayne R. Gallo, Elmira Mayor Susan
Skidmore, Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri and
Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilla.
CWA newspaper ad about T-Mobile bargaining in Connecticut.
Bargaining continued for a first contract for 15 CWA-TU technicians
at T-Mobile USA in Connecticut.
During bargaining, CWA Senior Director
George Kohl stated, "We have been hard at work for 9 months and
should be able to move forward, engage in significant dialogue and
hopefully resolve some critical issues."
But T-Mobile USA continues to stall negotiations, hiring lawyers and
consultants whose mission is union avoidance. As bargaining got
underway, CWA placed newspaper ads asking why Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile
treats its German workers with respect and its U.S. workers with
In Germany, T-Mobile just negotiated a two-year agreement, which
includes a 6.5 percent wage increase, with 50,000 workers and their
union, ver.di; negotiations are continuing for T-Mobile Systems workers
in Germany as well.
CWA locals contributed more than $253,000 to the Elizabeth Glaser
Pediatric AIDS Foundation in 2011, CWA Secretary-Treasurer Annie Hill
reported. The PAF has been CWA's Charity of Choice for more than 20
years, and since that time, CWA locals have contributed nearly $7
Hill thanked all locals that participated and noted that District 7
had the highest percentage of locals participating.
Individual locals are honored with special awards for their
Awards will be distributed at District meetings throughout the year.
A federal judge threw out even the modest changes that the National
Labor Relations Board approved last year to ensure that workers have
fair and timely elections.
Last month, the U.S. Senate upheld the changes that would eliminate
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 Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit to overturn the
rule, prompting the judge's ruling.
The judge based his decision on the fact that although there were
three sitting members of the NLRB, which constitutes a quorum, the
Republican member refused to participate in a final vote on the rule
although he did write a dissenting opinion.
CWA Local 9509 members demonstrate in San Diego.
Below: AT&T Legacy members leaflet at AT&T service resellers.
In Pontiac, Mich., members of Local 4123 mobilize against health
Below: CWA techs in Norwalk, Conn., members of Local 1298, stand up
for a fair contract.
Mobilization is the word across CWA districts, where AT&T members are
holding informational pickets, leafleting, wearing red and black, and
standing up in solidarity to let management know we're serious about
reaching a fair contract. Negotiations are continuing for separate
contracts in District 1, AT&T East; District 4, AT&T Midwest; District
9, AT&T West, and Telecommunications and Technologies, AT&T Legacy.
Check out these photos, and more information at
District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings and NAACP Texas President
Gary Bledsoe are urging Texans to speak out about attacks on voting
rights at the polls.
Confronting the most aggressive attempt to roll back ballot access in
more than a century,
Cummings and Bledsoe taped a radio ad, which will run next week on
minority stations, telling voters to be vigilant and know their
"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others died for their efforts to
ensure that Americans of all colors have the right to vote," says
Cummings in the radio spot. "It is time to exercise that right. In many
states, new restrictions on our right to vote are being enacted. But for
now Texas is not one of them. For the May 29th primary the voting rules
remain the same. All you need to vote is a voter registration card."
In a big victory for working families, CWA-supported candidate Dwayne
Warren unseated incumbent Mayor Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., in Orange, N.J.
Despite Hawkins raising nearly six times more money than his three
voters last week chose Warren by more than 1,500 ballots.
"Working people won a big victory in a small town tonight," said
Hetty Rosenstein, CWA New Jersey State Director. "Mayor Hawkins made it
clear that he didn't respect the dignity of our members' work and our
right to bargain collectively. We invested in a major campaign effort to
ensure that Hawkins learned the hard way that when Democrats work with
Chris Christie against the middle class, we won't go down without a
This week CWA endorsed of Ron Rice for Congress (N.J.-10), citing his
record of fighting for working families and his commitment to
progressive, Democratic values. Rice is one of four major candidates
vying for the nomination in June's Democratic primary to run for the
Congressional seat that had been held by the late Rep. Donald Payne.