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There's a lot to talk about on tonight's CWA Telephone Town Hall. CWA
activists from around the country will report on:
- The battle in Wisconsin
- Organizing at General Electric in Burlington, IA
- Bargaining and mobilization at AT&T
- The June 22 Day of Action in support of Verizon and Verizon
- The election 2012 kickoff in New York State
We'll also hear from our allies at the German union ver.di who joined
T-Mobile workers at the bargaining table in Connecticut last week.
And CWA President Larry Cohen will talk about the current state of
our movement to take on the corporate and right wing power that is
attacking workers' rights and our democracy.
Don't miss it! Sign up for the call today:
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Members of Local 1298 hold informational picket outside the West
Service Road location.
Below: Members of Local 4603 show AT&T that CWAers will weather the
storm and get a fair contract. From left: Fionna Rhodes, Julie Varga,
and Steward Shomari Conley.
Bargaining continues for separate contracts covering CWA members at
AT&T Midwest, AT&T West, AT&T East and AT&T Legacy.
Bargaining teams are reporting some progress and are calling on
members to step up mobilization to show the companies that we're serious
about our fight to hold on to the American Dream.
Members from Telecommunications and Technologies locals are walking
into work together, and holding weekly rallies and daily inside actions
that include stand ups, chants and lots of noise. Nearly every local is
participating in "Red Thursdays" and "Black Fridays."
CWA members in California will hold a "Rally for the American Dream"
at the State Capitol in Sacramento next week, where CWAers, elected
officials and supporters will stand up for good, middle class jobs at
AT&T. And in California and Nevada, thousands of CWA members joined in a
one-day unfair labor practice strike, protesting a statement by AT&T
West management that threatened workers over "union activity."
Across D4, members are showing their determination to win a fair
contract. Local 4900 members in Indianapolis wore orange to demonstrate
their solidarity and members of Local 4108 in Saginaw, Mich., hold
weekly informational pickets.
Members of Local 1298 in District 1 are holding worksite actions at
garages across Connecticut and "stand for action" mobilizations at the
New Haven call center.
This week, the District 3 bargaining team opened negotiations with
AT&T Southeast for a new contract covering 24,000 workers, whose current
contract expires Aug. 4.
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CWA activists and allies turned out in Philadelphia during the last
Verizon Day of Action. There will be nearly 300 events across the
country on June 22.
(Photo by Jesse Brown)
CWA activists, Jobs with Justice members and 99% Power allies are
ready for tomorrow's Verizon Day of Action. There will be a lot of new
actions that send a message, not only to Verizon executives, but to
members of its board of directors, that workers deserve a fair contract,
not more corporate greed.
Board members get a cool $230,000 just for serving on Verizon's
board. That's more than three top technicians who provide quality
service to customers earn.
CWA activists are reminding these board members that they share in
the responsibility to make sure that Verizon negotiates fairly with
workers instead of demanding $10,000 a year from each worker in
These are just the start of more actions aimed at members of
Verizon's board, so stay tuned and join an action in your community.
Read more at
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Passenger service agents rally outside the District Court in Fort
Worth, Texas, then go inside as Judge Means hears American Airlines'
bid to further block workers' democratic vote.
American Airlines agents and supporters rallied today outside the
U.S. District Court in Ft. Worth, Tex., then went inside where Judge
Terry Means was hearing American Airlines' case for a preliminary
injunction that would further stop the 10,000 agents from exercising
their democratic right to vote.
A decision by Judge Means was expected late today or Friday. The
court required agents and supporters to turn their red t-shirts inside
out so that the "CWA Organize" message wasn't visible. But the judge
also asked critical questions of American Airlines' attorneys. He
pressed for an answer as to how the airline would be "irreparably
harmed" and found the response not convincing.
"Agents are being denied their basic democratic right to vote, and
this is a travesty in a country that prides itself on democratic
tradition," said CWA Organizing Director Sandy Rusher.
Worse, this legal action is based on inaccurate statements by
American Airlines and its willful misrepresentation of federal aviation
law, despite hearing from the law's authors — Senators Reid, Rockefeller
and Harkin — that the law does not apply to the agents' election, she
said. "Two days ago, agents should have been celebrating their election
victory. Instead American Airlines has sued the National Mediation Board
and a fair, lawful election has been delayed twice. Now that vote is
At a rally before the hearing, a crowd of agents and supporters from
CWA Locals 6201, 6215, 6111 and 6186 stressed that having union
representation was critical if passenger service agents were to have any
voice in the demands American Airlines is making of them. American
Airlines filed for bankruptcy with $4 billion in the bank, mainly to
throw out collective bargaining agreements of unionized workers and
slash the jobs, wages and benefits of agents.
CWA Vice President Claude Cummings said working people unfortunately
are "used to seeing corporate greed — the 1% stepping all over whomever
they need to in order to take care of themselves. But American Airlines
management has hit a new low."
"This company won't even let you decide if you will have a collective
voice or any voice in this process. It has been willing to lie to a
federal agency, the NMB, and then file a frivolous lawsuit against that
same federal agency. It has been willing to waste millions of dollars on
union-busting attorneys, all to deny agents a right that should be
fundamental in a democracy, the right to vote," Cummings said.
Salma Kassam, who has worked as a passenger service agent at
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport for the past 18 years, said, "We
are here with our hands bound because this court has imposed a
restraining order on our right to vote in an election for
representation. We are here to express our outrage that American
Airlines has fought our right to vote at every step.
"Under the guise of bankruptcy, American Airlines is trying to
destroy everything we have worked for and do it before we can have a
voice in the process. There are people here today who are losing their
jobs because the company has decided the way to make this company great
again is to impede our ability to provide customer service," she said.
CWA will continue to focus attention on how American Airlines is
ignoring Congress and is trying to impose its own interpretation of
congressional intent. We will make every legal challenge and argument
necessary to make sure that agents get their right to vote.
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Workers at the General Electric switchgear plant in Burlington, Iowa,
did everything they could to save their company, even taking pay cuts of
30-50 percent to keep the plant running.
They also knew it was time for a union voice, and built an amazing
campaign over nine months to fight for IUE-CWA representation.
Management threw everything it could at them, but it didn't stop the
campaign. Workers continued to wear their red "CWA Organize" T-shirts
and stand up to management's tactics.
Mark Jondal, a GE worker, said several people had to attend captive
audience meetings and some were forced to go to one-on-ones with
management. "Managers would single out and intimidate workers they knew
had been to organizing meetings," he said.
The votes were finally counted after a two month delay, and workers
narrowly lost the election by an 81-86 vote. "Given the threats to close
the plant and the fear of losing their jobs in a tough economy, we're
not surprised that some workers were scared into voting No. But we're
not done fighting for them and for us," Jondal said.
By making false claims at an NLRB representation hearing, management
convinced the board to add supervisors to the bargaining unit; that
threw the election to management.
Following the vote count, organizing committee members started
planning for next steps: filing objections to the election based on the
plant-closing threats and the vicious attacks on union supporters,
organizing a "Picnic and Planning meeting" to start the ball rolling on
the next campaign, and producing a newsletter to keep people informed
every step of the way.
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The Republican-majority House of Representatives Wednesday voted
against consideration of HR 3596, the U.S. Call Center Worker and
Consumer Protection Act.
CWA is a strong supporter of this bill that will keep good call
center jobs in the U.S. and penalize employers that send jobs offshore.
More than 500,000 U.S. call center jobs have been lost over the past six
The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Reps. Timothy Bishop (D-N.Y.)
and Dave McKinley (R-W.Va.), has nearly 120 cosponsors. It would bar
companies that send jobs offshore from receiving federal grants and
loans for five years, requires that U.S. consumers be told the location
of an overseas agent and provides for transfer of the consumer's call to
a U.S. based agent.
House Democratic supporters tried to have the call center bill
brought up as an amendment to another bill, but that effort failed.
Ron Collins, CWA's Chief of Staff, said, "The House of
Representatives faced a stark choice — side with American consumers'
security while revitalizing the job prospects of thousands of American
workers or side with corporate America that is all too content to ship
jobs overseas at any cost. It's not surprising that today's result broke
along party lines and that most House Republicans sided with
corporations like Bank of America, T-Mobile USA and Wells Fargo ahead of
the best interests of the American public."
The final vote was 238-178 against consideration of the bill. Joining
the bill's supporters was Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) Democrats who
opposed the bill are Jason Altmire, Pa.; Dan Boren, Okla.; Jim Matheson,
Utah; Kurt Schrader, Ore.; and Heath Shuler, N.C.
Seven Republicans and eight Democrats did not vote, including:
Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), Andre Carson (D-Ind.),
Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Tim Griffin (R-Ark.), Tim Holden (D-Pa.), Bill
Huizenga (R-Mich.), Jesse Jackson Jr., (D-Ill.), Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.),
Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), and C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.).
"Now we have a recorded vote on this critical issue, and we know who
chose to stand with U.S. workers over corporations that offshore our
jobs. Our members will take this into account in the fall elections,"
said Shane Larson, CWA Legislative Director.
Workers, Activists, Electeds Rally for Good Jobs
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T-Mobile USA will shut down seven call centers on Friday, June 22
affecting 3,300 workers and their communities.
The call centers are Allentown, Pa.; Thornton, Colo.; Fort
Lauderdale, Fla.; Frisco and Brownsville, Tex.; Lenexa, Kan.; and
CWA members and supporters in those communities and others will hold
rallies and vigils to shine a light on T-Mobile USA's assault on U.S.
jobs and workers. In Albuquerque, elected officials including U.S. Rep.
Martin Heinrich, labor-endorsed candidates, New Mexico Labor and others
will rally at noon and call for support for H.R. 3596, the U.S. Call
Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, which will stop companies
from taking taxpayers handouts, then moving jobs offshore.
T-Mobile USA has received more than $14 million in state and local
economic development grants from four of the seven communities where it
now is closing call centers. The company also has offshored 6,000 jobs
to the Philippines, Honduras, Guatemala and other countries.
T-Mobile USA workers and supporters in Thornton, Colo., where 400
workers are losing their jobs, will hold a candlelight vigil June 21. In
Allentown, Pa., where 600 T-Mobile USA workers will be jobless, a
community rally will be held.
CWAers and allies in 99 Percent Power are beginning a two-week
nationwide blitz of T-Mobile-owned retail stores, reminding the public
that T-Mobile USA's offshoring is just unacceptable. From June 25 to
July 11, State AFL-CIOs and local labor councils will organize actions
that show that communities are fed up with companies that take taxpayer
handouts and then ship good paying jobs overseas. Store actions will
include a postcard campaign, so customers and passersby can send a
message to T-Mobile USA management, as well as information for retail
store workers that explain how a union can help.
"We're going to continue to fight for these employees every hour of
every day," said CWA District 6 Organizer Judy Graves.
CWA has been leading the campaign to support H.R. 3596, which would
bar companies that offshore jobs from receiving federal grants and loans
for five years, requires overseas agents to disclose their location to
customers and provides the opportunity for the customer to be
transferred to a U.S.-based call center.
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With offshoring becoming a bigger issue than ever at newspapers, the
Dayton Newspaper Guild-CWA took advantage of Flag Day last week to send
a strong message to the company and remind workers what's at stake.
In the wee hours of June 14, Guild activists left fliers on members'
desks at the Dayton Daily News.
"On this Flag Day, Cox Media Group is preparing to send advertising
production jobs offshore to low-wage countries like the Philippines,"
the flier stated. "And the company continues to insist on the power to
replace Guild-represented newsroom jobs that can't be offshored with
Read more about the Dayton's Guild other creative job actions on the