Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

Join our Union Hall Call Tonight!

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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 Wireless workers
  • 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:

Mobilization Pushes AT&T in Bargaining

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AT&T Local 1298

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.

AT&T Local 4603




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.

CWAers Take Fair Contract Fight to Verizon Board Members

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Verizon Rally photo by Jesse Brown

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 compensation cuts.

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

American Agents Rally at District Court for the Right to Vote

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CWAers at American Rally

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.

CWAers at American Rally2




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 stalled again."

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.

GE Workers Keep Fighting for Their Union

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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.

Republican Led House Refuses to Take Up Call Center Bill

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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 years.

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.

T-Mobile USA Shuts Down Seven Call Centers

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 Redmond, Ore.

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.

Dayton Guild's Flag Day Message: Nothing Patriotic About Offshoring

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Flag Day 2012 sidebar



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 low-paid freelancers."

Read more about the Dayton's Guild other creative job actions on the local's blog. Click here.


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