Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

Piedmont Agents Win First Contract

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Gate Ramp_Piedmont PHL

Piedmont agents in Philadelphia celebrate winning a union voice.

 

 

 

The CWA bargaining team has reached a tentative first contract with Piedmont Airlines covering 3,500 fleet and passenger service agents.

CWA and the bargaining advisory council will hold conference calls and informational meetings for members who will vote on the tentative settlement.

Long and tough negotiations, with the involvement of the National Mediation Board, finally produced a tentative agreement that provides improvements in pay, job security and health care benefits. For the first time, agents will have an effective grievance and arbitration process. And the bargaining team successfully fought back against management's demand to increase workers' health care costs by 33 percent.

The new contract provisions include:

  • A lump sum signing bonus of 6-8 percent of salary in 2012.
  • A new pay system with guaranteed 4 percent raises and additional increases.
  • A first-ever grievance and arbitration process.
  • Longevity bonuses each year for good attendance.
  • Equity for part-time workers for holiday pay.
  • Job security improvements.

"This tentative settlement was a long time coming, and Piedmont workers stood together and mobilized for more than a year to win real improvements in pay and working conditions. These agents were determined to gain economic justice, and they did," said Jimmy Tarlau, assistant to CWA's District 2-13 vice president.

Piedmont agents overwhelmingly voted for CWA representation in November 2010 despite a tough anti-union campaign by management. They hung on for more than a year of bargaining and mobilized across the airline's 79 stations to keep solidarity strong.

More information at www.PiedmontAgent.org.

Wisconsin Recall Race Drives Activists to Get Out the Vote

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CWA activists' get-out-the-vote efforts have gone into overdrive in the last few days before Wisconsin's recall election.

"The response has been incredible," said CWA Local 4603's Kathy Antoniewicz. "People are willing to come out and knock on some doors and make some phone calls. I don't think there's more than a handful of union members who don't get the magnitude of this election."

Across the state from Madison to Kenosha to Green Bay members are doing everything possible to encourage union families to go to their early voting location and vote now. Armies of canvassers are encouraging union members to go vote for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and kick Republican Gov. Scott Walker out of office for his assault on public workers and bargaining rights. Activists are using their vacation time to work the phones and talk to as many Wisconsin voters as possible. And supporters from Michigan, Illinois, New Mexico and other states are joining the effort, too, making phone calls to be sure everyone gets out to vote.

For Antoniewicz and others, that will mean joining up with We Are Wisconsin this weekend to knock on more than 100,000 doors in Racine.

Why should Walker lose his job next week? Here are 11 good reasons.

AFA-CWA Reaches Tentative Deals with Horizon Air, Air Wisconsin

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AFA-CWA Flight Attendants at Horizon Air and Air Wisconsin reached tentative contracts with management this month.

On Wednesday, 500 Flight Attendants at Horizon, a wholly owned subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, reached a tentative settlement that includes more vacation, pay increases and substantial improvements to employees' flexibility and quality of life.

"Horizon Flight Attendants play a crucial role in the success of our airline," said Leslie Miller, acting AFA president at Horizon, which flies to 40 destinations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. "This agreement recognizes our contributions and addresses the concerns most important to Flight Attendants."

And last Friday, more than 300 Flight Attendants at Air Wisconsin the largest privately held U.S. regional airline, which operates as a US Airways Express carrier announced their own tentative agreement with the assistance of the National Mediation Board. Details won't be made public until they are presented to the membership, which serves 70 cities in the United States and Canada.

"We worked tirelessly to ensure this agreement reflects their priorities," said Brenda Barrall, AFA Air Wisconsin president. "Throughout negotiations, Air Wisconsin Flight Attendants have sent a loud and clear message to management that a mutually beneficial agreement must reflect our role as first responders and secure improvements on several key issues."

American Airlines Agents Petition for Representation Election

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The federal judge overseeing the American Airlines bankruptcy proceedings is urging the company to negotiate with unions over new contracts. Judge Sean Lane delayed a decision on the airline's call for termination of the contracts, stating, "I urge, and I cannot urge this any more strongly, that the parties resolve this where they need to resolve this the negotiating table."

Read more here.

Separately, American Airlines passenger service agents who want CWA representation are calling on the company to stop stalling on the union representation election. The company has filed a lawsuit against the National Mediation Board to block the election, based on its own wishful thinking about the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization passed by Congress in February. Communications from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, other leading senators and members of Congress have made it clear to American Airlines CEO Tom Horton that the law does not apply to the agents' election authorized by the NMB last December.

Join agents in calling on Horton to stop blocking a democratic union election. Sign the petition here

CWA, Allies Call on White House to Prevent Chemical Disasters

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CWA and 200 allies are urging President Barack Obama to use his executive power to "prevent the catastrophic release of extremely hazardous chemicals."

In a coalition letter, the groups point out that across the country, facilities using, storing or manufacturing highly toxic chemicals remain susceptible to terrorist attacks or accidents. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are 483 facilities in 43 states where such a chemical disaster would put at least 100,000 people at risk.

The Obama administration has repeatedly asked Congress for the authority to remove these risks by requiring companies to design and operate their facilities with safer chemical processes. But, Republicans in Congress have blocked these efforts. And thanks to the deep pockets of the chemical lobby, the legislation is going nowhere.

But now the Obama administration can take action. As early as next week, the president can use his authority to put these new protections in place through an amendment to the Clean Air Act.

CWA is joining Greenpeace, Sierra Club and others to advocate for the "Bhopal amendment," a general duty clause referencing a 1984 disastrous gas leak in India that killed thousands of people and disabled several thousand more.

Add your name to the petition by clicking here

Cohen Calls for Defense of Democracy

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Larry Cohen at CNP

CWA President Larry Cohen speaks at the Center for National Policy. Photo courtesy of the Center for National Policy.

 

To fix America's jobs crisis, there first must be a mass political movement to restore democracy, CWA President Larry Cohen said last week.

During a roundtable discussion at the Center for National Policy, Cohen candidly laid out the "obscene attacks on the democracy" that have prevented the long-term, sustainable economic growth that would lift millions of job seekers out of unemployment.

First, the country must get the flood of corporate cash out of politics, overturning the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, he said.

"Money in politics, no accountability, no real disclosure, absolutely will cloud once again the direction this country needs to go in," said Cohen, estimating that an open Senate seat costs a minimum of $25 million, while this year's presidential election is expected to reach $1 billion.

Next is reforming the Senate rules, so that hundreds of House-passed bills can make it to the Senate floor for debate. A number of important issues, from President Obama's jobs plan to the DREAM Act, have been buried under a series of filibusters and blocked votes. And the President's nominees for hundreds of vacant judgeships have all been gridlocked by the arcane legislative process.

"There's no democracy in the world today that functions anything like the U.S. Senate," he said. "It's the worst it's ever been."

Activists must also be vigilant about new state-level laws intended to limit the voting rights of young people, the elderly, poor people and people of color. "It's not about voter fraud, and everybody knows it," he said.

Cohen repeatedly stressed that to "create demand," America must tackle the "huge structural issues" that have flat-lined workers' wages for the past 40 years. Once upon a time, productivity and wages used to grow together, but weakened manufacturing and trade policies has stymied the American dream. Fixes, he said, include investing in infrastructure, lowering the U.S. trade deficit, restoring the power of workers to organize and bargain collectively, and doubling the country's manufacturing workforce.

Watch the video of the discussion here

D2-13 Legislative Team Helps Win Protections Against Offshoring

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Call Center Bill Signing

CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney and members of CWA Locals 2106, 2107, 2108 and 2100 watch Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley sign the bill.

 

 

 

CWA's Maryland Legislative-Political Action Team and a strong coalition helped win new protections against the offshoring of jobs in the state.

CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney and members of CWA Locals 2106, 2107, 2108 and 2100 were on hand as Governor Martin O'Malley (D) signed the law that requires companies bidding on contracts of $2 million or more with the state of Maryland to disclose whether any of that work will be performed outside the United States. The law also prohibits public employers from contracting for specific services unless those services are to be provided in the U.S., and requires that state contracts for architectural, construction and engineering services, as well as energy performance contract services, must be performed in the United States.

"Governor O'Malley understands that taxpayer dollars should not go to companies that intend to send this work overseas. We hope that the U.S. Congress adopts this same attitude and moves forward to stop federal subsidies and tax breaks to corporations that move U.S. jobs offshore," Mooney said.

CWA is a strong supporter of the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 3596) that would bar corporations that offshore work from receiving federal grants and loans and provides additional protections for consumers, giving them the right to know where an agent is located and the ability to request a transfer to a U.S. agent. The bill currently has 120 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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