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The U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant Cablevision Systems
Corp.'s request for a stay of the National Labor Relations
Board hearing set to begin July 8 in Manhattan.
Cablevision's actions are clear evidence of why workers
need a fully functional NLRB and why the Senate must confirm
all five of President Obama's nominations to the Board. It's
the only agency that can enforce federal labor law for 80
"The Senate minority and their U.S. Chamber of Commerce
supporters don't want a functional NLRB. That's why it's up to
the Senate majority, to change the rules if necessary, so that
these and other nominations can have an up or down vote," said
CWA President Larry Cohen.
Since a federal appeals court earlier this year created
uncertainty over recess appointments made by President Obama,
including two members to the NLRB, companies like Cablevision
have been challenging the authority of the Board. Cablevision
has gone beyond that, first claiming that the NLRB regional
offices in Brooklyn and New York had no authority, then
seeking the stay to block the proceedings altogether. The U.S.
Supreme Court said it will review the federal appeals court
case regarding recess appointments in its next term.
Since 2012, when 280 Cablevision workers voted to join CWA,
Local 1109, the company has engaged in a war against workers
who only want a union voice as federal labor law provides. The
company uses every tactic possible to intimidate the Brooklyn
technicians, putting relentless pressure on workers who want
their union. But the Cablevision workers are standing strong.
Earlier this year, Cablevision illegally locked out and
fired 22 technicians, then was forced to rehire them after CWA
filed NLRB charges and elected officials and community
supporters rallied around the workers. Brooklyn technicians
are entitled to back pay but so far Cablevision is refusing to
follow the law.
Cablevision also was cited by an NLRB regional director for
refusing to bargain fairly and for offering higher pay and
other financial incentives to non-union Bronx technicians to
convince workers to drop their support for the union.
"If this can happen in New York, there's no labor law in
America," Cohen said. "It's what Cablevision wants and what
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants. We're looking to the
Senate Democratic majority to confirm these nominees. We don't
want to be the first generation of working Americans since
1935 to not have the protections of the NLRB."
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CWA activists and allies rallied outside their senators'
offices and delivered petitions with thousands of signatures,
calling on the Senate to approve all five nominations to the
National Labor Relations Board. Even bigger: CWAers, friends
and family made thousands of phone calls from worksites,
meetings and their homes calling on their Senators to get
these nominations done.
Rallies and actions were held in 26 states, with CWA
members joined by Sierra Club, Blue Green Alliance, Jobs with
Justice, and AFL-CIO activists. At last count, 3,350 letters
were delivered to Senate offices in seven states, and meetings
with senators and staff were held in states including
Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York,
Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin and others.
Worksite leafleting and our phone campaign went into
overdrive, with key Senate offices receiving thousands of
calls this week. In states where senators already have
committed to supporting an up-or-down vote on the nominations,
or where senators won't support working families at all,
activists focused on messages to Majority Leader Harry Reid
and other Senate leaders like Senator Chuck Schumer.
- New York CWAers made
more than 800 phone calls to Senator Chuck Schumer.
- CWA’s Legislative
Political Action Team in Ohio, with State AFL-CIO leaders
and activists, delivered 400 handwritten letter to Senator
- In Indiana, LPAT
members delivered boxes of letters to Senator Joe Donnelly.
- In Michigan, CWA
activists were joined by workers at Panera, who are in their
own fight for fairness.
- Allies like U.S.
Action, Citizen Action of NY, Working Family Party and
others are emailing their members and urging them to contact
their Senators about the need for an up or down vote on the
five NLRB nominees.
In Washington, DC, former CNN employee Jimmy Suissa told
his story in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Nearly a
decade ago, CNN illegally terminated a subcontracting
agreement with Team Video Services, whose employees were
represented by NABET-CWA.
"I was pushed out because I was a union leader," said
Suissa, who still doesn't have his job or back pay despite a
NLRB administrative law judge ruling in his favor.
We're not stopping now. We'll still have time to make
leaflet more worksites, make sure the public knows what's at
stake and make more phone calls. Our senators, especially the
Democratic majority, need to hear from us.
Sign the petition, and download flyers for worksite and public
Wisconsin LPAT activists rally outside the office of Sen.
Ron Johnson (R).
Members of CWA Locals 3601, 3603, 3607 3611 3640 and 3680
joined the "Moral Monday" demonstration in Raleigh, NC. The
NAACP distributed leaflets about why workers need a
CWAers rally outside the St. Louis office of Sen. Claire
Workers took to Chicago's Federal Plaza and delivered
more than 1,300 letters to Sen. Mark Kirk's office, urging
Kirk to confirm all five NLRB nominees. Watch their video of
the action here:
Members of CWA Locals 9404, 9410, 9415, 9416, 9423 and
39521 rally in outside Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office in San
That same rally, which also protested cuts to Medicare
and Social Security, had demonstrators raising their hands
to "Give Us Five!"
Nelson Rivera, fired for organizing a union, meets with
Sen. Elizabeth Warren's staff on the Day of Action.
Indiana activists tell Sen. Joe Donnelly, "We have always
been there for you. Now we need your help."
In Michigan, CWA members and workers at Panera Bread, who
are fighting for a union voice, rallied outside the office
of Sen. Carl Levin. The group collected about 500 letters to
Michigan senators about the need for an up or down vote on
all five NLRB nominees.
Former CNN employee Jimmy Suissa says, "A judge has said,
'Yes, Jimmy, you were wronged.' He wrote it out in black and
white. But without five members on the NLRB I'll never get
my job back with back pay."
Michigan LPAT activists deliver letters and a thank you
to Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
Activists thank Sen. Sherrod Brown for supporting the
confirmation of all five NLRB nominees.
Local 1103 activists make the call to Sen. Schumer for 5
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In a message to local union presidents, CWA President Larry
Cohen laid out the hard truth:
Unless we mobilize our members
and millions of other Americans in the next three weeks to
demand that the Senate rules change so that the President's
nominees get an up or down vote as the Constitution provides,
we're likely to celebrate Labor Day with no labor law for 80
million American workers.
There is a public conspiracy to
destroy all labor law in this nation, led by the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce, virtually every corporate law firm, most
management, the billionaires who fund the right-wing machine
and their media outlets. The attacks on public workers in
Wisconsin, Ohio, and New Jersey that spread across the nation
and the current effort to destroy the NLRB are all
orchestrated by the same machine.
Yet, too often, we wait saying
it's not us.
Or some of our members or leaders
say, 'Too much politics. I don't like my union involved.' Yet
many of these same members complain about our contracts as if
their contract was not part of these attacks, as if we can fix
one employer or one contract in the face of unprecedented
attacks on every front.
In the last three years, CWA
bargaining committees and their respective vice presidents
have filed 175 charges with the NLRB related solely to
bargaining in bad faith or firing mobilizers during
bargaining. The Board has prosecuted many of these charges and
is a "floor" for our rights in bargaining and all our rights
on the job.
The U.S. Constitution provides
that the Senate, by a majority vote, makes its rules and that
hundreds of key Presidential, Executive and Judicial branch
nominees can serve once confirmed by a majority of senators.
As we approach the 4th of July
celebrations, we have a very shaky 51 votes for the rule
change that we need. But if it remains this shaky, we will
likely lose and our bargaining will face collapse, as will
nearly all private sector organizing and the rights of 75
million private sector workers who do not have unions but do
have at least minimal protections under the National Labor
Sadly, the Republicans, the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce and their allies will celebrate this Labor
Day with high fives and champagne if they have destroyed the
NLRB or at least ensured that there is no democratic majority
on the Board for the rest of this President's term.
No more business as usual in the
U.S. Senate. It is time we take a stand, it is time we stand
up, fight back and ask the Democratic Majority loudly, 'Which
side are you on?' and 'what are you doing about it?'
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Activists at CWA's latest political boot camp in Central
Valley California tell Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara
Boxer, "Give us five!"
In the Huffington Post, CWA President Larry Cohen
lays out the grim scenario for 80 million private sector
workers if the Senate doesn't act to confirm all five
nominations to the NLRB:
Today, under the watch of another
Democratic President and a Democratic majority in the Senate,
the NLRB is now in danger of being completely stripped of its
authority. The protections that workers fought and died for,
already diminished by subsequent legislation and court
decisions, will soon disappear if the Senate fails to confirm
the president's nominees before its summer recess.
If the Senate does not act, we'll
soon be celebrating Labor Day without any labor law. Zero
enforcement and no protections for 80 million American workers
in the private sector.
Read the full post here.
Also in DailyKos, Cohen says, "This isn't democracy."
That message is being picked up by four national radio
networks and radio stations in Rhode Island, New York,
Montana, Indiana and Delaware.
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Pick up the phone and help protect 80 million workers!
Call 1-888-966-9824 and say:
- We deserve a
fully-functional NLRB with five members.
- If the vote on these
nominees is blocked, I urge you to vote to change the Senate
rules to allow for an up-or-down vote.
You can also text NLRB to 69866 to join the fight.
And don't forget:
Sign the petition and download flyers for worksite and public
We want to see your photos! Send them to
This week CWA Local 1103 is chronicling its campaign on
Facebook. Check out these photos:
Local 1103 Chief Steward Gerry Guarino makes the call to
Sen. Schumer – check out that ear bud!
During his 23nd anniversary dinner, Local 1103 business
agent Kevin Scrobola calls Sen. Schumer to demand an up or
down vote on all five NLRB members.
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CWA and the Fix the Senate Now coalition kicked off an
innovative campaign on Twitter, urging the Senate to confirm
all five nominees to the NLRB.
Using "Twitter Card" ads, CWA makes it possible for
supporters to sign an online petition with just one click.
The cards are attached to a series of tweets, for instance:
- When Senators play
games with confirmations, workers' rights take the hit.
Demand REAL rules reform & a full NLRB.
- PETITION: It's time
to break the logjam. Demand the Senate confirm
@BarackObama's nominees to the NLRB.
More Twitter card ads will call on the Senate to confirm
Environmental Protection Agency nominee Gina McCarthy and
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau nominee Richard Cordray.
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The latest edition of the CWA News is on its way!
This issue focuses on the NLRB crisis, why it matters and