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CWAers from Local 3403 do informational picketing as bargaining
gets underway with AT&T Southeast.
Members of Local 1298 fight to hold on to the American Dream.
CWAers from Telecommunications and Technologies rally for fair
contract at AT&T.
CWAers listening to the AT&T national call this week heard updates on
the status of bargaining for the five contracts — AT&T East, AT&T
Legacy, AT&T Midwest, AT&T West and AT&T Southeast. The nearly 7,000
CWAers also got new reports about escalating mobilization and asked
questions about key issues for members and their families.
For the latest updates, go to
Vice Presidents Chris Shelton, D1; Ralph Maly, Telecommunications and
Technologies; Seth Rosen, D4; Jim Weitkamp, D9, and Judy Dennis, D3,
reported on the specifics of their contract talks. All agreed that the
goal of all five negotiations continues to be that when the complete
contract package is added up, that every member will be better off at
the end of the contract than he or she was at the beginning.
Chris Shelton: "Every one of our bargaining teams has worked
hard to bargain with this company. In the East, Local 1298 has done an
outstanding job; it's the company that is dragging its feet. Members
must mobilize; we can't let down our guard now."
Ralph Maly: "Members' mobilization has made a huge difference
and is critical to our success in getting a fair contract. The T/T
bargaining committee continues to work and has made progress in some key
areas, including our cash balance account, national transfer plan and
other programs. We're also determined to maintain the Alliance and other
programs that the company had tried to eliminate. We still have economic
issues yet to be resolved and I know that mobilization will make this
happen. We also will continue to work in coordinated effort with
Districts 1, 4 and 9 to get the contract that addresses the concerns of
all our members."
Seth Rosen: "We're making meaningful progress on a broad range
of concerns including employment security, overtime, scheduling,
attendance, justice on the job and more. However we still have major
issues unresolved including: wages, health care, pensions and
successorship. For nearly five months we have worked closely together
across Districts and T/T and have made significant progress together. We
started with different contracts and will end with different contracts,
and thus don't make the same agreements at the same time. That is how
CWA democracy works."
Jim Weitkamp: "We continue to face very hard bargaining,
especially when it comes to wages, medical benefits and pensions. We
need major movement by the company on all these and prem tech issues as
well. We're dealing with a very rich, powerful and arrogant company and
we've been bargaining for more than four months. At the end of the day,
the agreements we all reach will have some differences but overall, will
be an improvement for members and their families."
Judy Dennis: "Bargaining in District 3 has just begun, but
we're coordinating with all the districts and there is lots of
Mobilizers from each district reported on the latest actions:
- In D1, most recently, members of Local 1298 leafleted at local
baseball games and held actions at AT&T retailers.
- Telecommunications/Technologies members from Local 6450 leafleted
at this week's Major League Baseball All-Star game in Kansas City;
other activists were spreading the word outside the AT&T sponsored
golf tournament and in organizing actions at retailers.
- D4 reported that training 1,000 activists before bargaining even
started really paid off, with mobilization and solidarity actions
underway weekly throughout the district.
- In D9, members are taking the fight everywhere, with a huge rally
at the state Capitol and actions at the gymnastics trials for the U.S.
CWA President Larry Cohen wrapped up the call, pointing out that key
to winning this fight was "our ability, across our union, to support
each other. Unity means we respect the autonomy of each group, and we
will support each other in our fight for health care, for pensions, for
good wages, all the things that make up the American Dream."
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Verizon technicians, members of CWA locals across Maryland, Virginia
and the District of Columbia, have been racing to restore service to the
Mid-Atlantic region after a series of fatal, power-cutting
"They're working every day, 12 to 16 hours a day," said Naomi Bolden,
Roanoke area vice president of CWA Local 2204.
The night after violent storms devastated the area — knocking down
trees, poles and wires — crews hit the streets early the next morning to
clean up the wreckage and replace electronics. And they have been
pulling extended shifts since, replacing 163 poles and re-hanging about
900 downed lines across the region.
Customers have pulled their cars over to say thank you to technicians
working on the sides of roads. Some have been offered them food and
drink as temperatures soared into the triple digits.
"People have been really thankful," Bolden said.
Verizon has said nice things about CWA members too, praising workers
for being on the job for 12 hours-plus daily in temperatures exceeding
100 degrees to bring service back for our customers. But that
appreciation stops far short of the bargaining table, where Verizon
continues to demand cuts in compensation of at least $10,000 per worker
per year and doesn't even think workers deserve a pay raise.
You'd never know that by watching VeriGreedy's PR, however. Verizon
is all too happy to boast about the tireless efforts of CWA members who
are getting the job done.
"I called Verizon last night and told them the situation and the guys
are here today," said Jeffrey Morrison, a Verizon customer in
the company's YouTube video of crews restoring service in northern
Virginia on July 4. "I was half expecting it to take two to three days,
but it took 12 hours, which I think is phenomenal given the magnitude of
what's happened over the last week or so."
Service is almost back to normal in the Washington metropolitan area,
and crews are now venturing into areas previously unreachable because of
downed power lines.
Verizon now faces two investigations into why 2.3 million Northern
Virginia residents lost emergency 911 services for up to four days after
the thunderstorm. The Virginia State Corporation Commission and the
Federal Communications Commission are both looking into how backup
systems failed at the company's main 911 regional facility in Arlington,
The malfunctioning 911 hub also took out landline and wireless
phones; people relying on FiOS or cable connections couldn't make or
receive calls, and text messaging was unreliable. So local officials
told residents that if they had an emergency, they should walk to the
nearest fire house or hail a passing police car,
The Washington Post reported.
Seems like VeriGreedy has some explaining to do.
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A Carly lookalike rides into the Washington, DC action.
This week, AFL-CIO and Jobs with Justice activists, plus supporters
throughout the union movement, are holding actions at T-Mobile USA
retail stores across the country as part of the AFL-CIO's "America Wants
to Work Campaign."
Activists are leafleting customers outside the stores, and at each
location, a delegation will go inside to meet with the local manager.
The message to management: we need to keep good jobs here in the U.S.
and end T-Mobile USA's intimidation of workers who want a union voice.
Last month, T-Mobile USA closed seven call centers, affecting 3,300
workers and their communities. Meanwhile, the company continues to send
thousands of jobs overseas, a move that puts extreme pressure on U.S.
customer service representatives who have to resolve tough customer
issues in just 477 seconds or face discipline. T-Mobile USA received
more than $14 million in taxpayer funded economic development subsidies
in four of the seven communities where it shut down call centers.
T-Mobile USA management is fighting to block laid off workers from
receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance, a government program that helps
workers who lose their jobs to unfair trade practices and work moving
offshore. CWA has filed for workers to receive these benefits, which
include extended unemployment insurance, health care coverage, job
training and other pluses.
Today, activists In Washington, D.C., made sure that T-Mobile USA
workers know that there's "no more Mr. Nice T-Mobile," despite the
company's advertising and empty promises. A Carly lookalike (aka Julia
Kann, assistant mobilizer for the DC Labor Council) rode into the action
on the back of a motorcycle, calling for T-Mobile to bring jobs back
home. Dressed in hot pink, she urged people to text "save jobs" to 69866
to oppose offshoring.
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Below: Lothar Schröder of ver.di leaflets in Nashville.
With the help of ver.di leaders Lothar Schröder and Constantin Greve,
CWAers are reaching out to T-Mobile USA workers across the country in an
ver.di is the German union representing more than 2 million workers,
including workers at Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile. In Germany, Deutsche
Telekom brags about its social compact and support for workers' rights,
but it has allowed T-Mobile USA management to wage a campaign of fear
and intimidation against workers who want a union voice. Schröder and
Greve are spending their personal vacation time in this campaign to help
T-Mobile USA workers get their union.
Arriving in Washington in late June, Schröder and Greve met with U.S.
Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), and did several media interviews. In New
York, they met with T-Mobile USA retail store workers.
First stop this week was Nashville, where the temperature hit 100
degrees. Organizers covered the three entrances to the call center and
provided leaflets and answers to workers going to the T-Mobile USA call
In meetings and home visits, T-Mobile USA activists from Nashville
told of workers being humiliated by supervisors, fired for trivial
reasons and dealing with stress caused by management intimidation.
T-Mobile USA customer service representatives must fix a customer's
problem within 477 seconds, that's less than eight minutes, or face
disciplinary action. But as more calls are sent overseas to calls
centers in the Philippines and Central America, where workers follow
simple scripts and can't resolve any customer complaints, it becomes
that much harder for U.S. workers to resolve the often lengthy and
difficult concerns a customer raises.
Today, Schröder is in Hartford, Conn., joining the TU-CWA bargaining
team. Bargaining for the unit of 16 technicians has dragged on for more
than 10 months, with T-Mobile USA management determined to stall
negotiations. Schröder noted that "It had not been possible to reach an
agreement regarding even the simplest things such as the installation of
a bulletin board for union information or the provision of the
technicians with the tools necessary for their work. The expensive
attorney (management has hired) likely had cost Deutsche Telekom more
money than all the demands CWA has been bargaining for. This borders on
the absurd," he said.
Schröder says he is shocked by during the first few days of his
visit. "There is a climate of fear because of totally insecure working
conditions, constant fear to be dismissed without any reason, lack of
employment contracts and lack of collective agreements. Workers need
help and they need support, they need a voice at the workplace and a
strong union to protect and represent them." Schröder is appealing to
the Deutsche Telekom Executive Management Board to abandon immediately
the politics of fear and infringement of workers' rights. "We expect
better," is his demand to the Group CEO René Obermann.
Next stops: Wichita, Albuquerque and New Orleans.
Follow the campaign at
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Some 20 CWA local union activists participated in CWA’s 2012
Political Training kick off in Pennsylvania, with two activists from the
Transport Workers Union joining in. State coordinator Donnie Engelmann,
Local 13000, opened the session that reviewed CWA’s political program
and exactly what’s one on the line for workers in the 2012 elections.
CWA Senior Director Yvette Herrera, Political Director Rafael Navar, and
Jimmy Tarlau, assistant to the D2-13 vice president, were among
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Union leaders today launched a national campaign refocus America's
agenda on rebuilding economic opportunity for all.
The campaign, "Workers Stand for America," kicks off with two major
events. The first is a rally on Aug. 11 in Philadelphia that will bring
together tens of thousands of workers to focus attention on jobs and the
needs of working men and women -- the country's economic engine.
The second is what leaders are calling the "Second Bill of Rights,"
which will be presented to delegates at both the DNC and RNC
conventions. Inspired by President Franklin Roosevelt's proposed 1944
economic bill of rights, it has five planks: The right to full
employment and a living wage; the right to full participation in the
electoral process; the right to a voice at work; the right to a quality
education; and the right to a secure, healthy future.
"The voices of working families will be heard in the birthplace of
American democracy, at the convention and beyond. And we're asking
elected officials, leaders on both side of the aisle and people around
the country to stand with us," said CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed
Mooney. "We're determined to create economic growth and prosperity for
all — not just the elite few."
Activities in Philadelphia kick off on Friday night, Aug. 10, at
Independence Hall where national labor leaders will be signing the
Second Bill of Rights.
On Saturday morning, thousands of CWA and IBEW activists and allies
will rally in front of Verizon at 9th and Race Streets in support of the
45,000 Verizon workers who continue to fight for a fair contract.
Activists will then march to Eakins Oval, a large park in front of
the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where they'll join the crowd rallying
for working families.
CWA locals are reaching out to allies to build even more support at
the rally, said CWA Local 13000 Vice President Mike Davis.
In a letter to national and international union presidents, AFL-CIO
President Rich Trumka asked for help mobilizing and spreading the word
about Aug. 11, an "opportunity to connect the faces of ordinary
Americans to the basic issues affecting working people in our country."
"Are you with us?" asked Trumka at a media conference at the National
Press Club, inviting elected officials on both sides of the aisle to
join. "Are you with the American people?"
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Members of the Dayton Newspaper Guild send a silent but strong
message to newspaper management.
Newspaper workers who belong to the independent Springfield
Newspapers Editorial Association in Springfield, Ohio voted unanimously
to merge with TNG-CWA Local 34157, the Dayton, Ohio Newspaper Guild. The
SNEA is a unit of 12 newsroom workers at the Springfield News-Sun; the
News-Sun and the Dayton Daily News have the same owner, Cox Media Group.
At the Dayton Daily News, TNG-CWA Local 34157 represents more than 90
reporters, photographers, copy editors, web designers and editorial
assistants, and about 70 percent of those represented are union members.
These members have stood together and stood strong against a management
that has worked to bust their union for more than two decades.
Members at that newspaper ratified their last contract nearly 26
years ago, but their solidarity is amazingly strong. Until 2007, the old
contract terms remained in place, but then management imposed its terms
This management assault has helped create a different kind of union,
one where newspaper activists build community support, hold silent
protests during bargaining and aren't afraid to take on management over
some very bad decisions. Because there is no dues checkoff, members pay
dues using direct deposit from their own accounts and bank drafts.
"We have persevered against amazing odds, against one of the
wealthiest and most powerful companies in the country. We have made sure
that there are basic rules governing our working conditions that the
company can't change at a whim. We haven't won everything, but no one
does. Our members have come out ahead of the non-union employees time
and time again," said Local President Lou Grieco.
Most recently, DDN workers rallied behind their leaders to protest a
comment by the newspaper's editor-in-chief, who called union leadership
"short-sighted and selfish" for bringing public attention to the paper's
plans to send advertising production work overseas. TNG-CWA members
packed an area outside the editors' 4 p.m. news meeting, all holding
signs stating "I am a Guild Leader." They took that same message to the
bargaining table where management is trying to cut more jobs by
replacing professional newsroom workers with freelancers.
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Thirty-two members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a
letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski
citing concerns about the proposed Verizon Wireless/Big Cable deal's
impact on consumers in their districts and across the country.
Read the congressional letter here.
The letter calls on the FCC to make certain that the final agreement
follows the requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and
The current proposal would eliminate competition by allowing the
companies to cross-market products, and this would eliminate or prevent
the creation of thousands of jobs, deepen the digital divide between
cities and wealthy suburbs, reduce consumer choice and raise prices.
The 32 U.S. Representatives who signed on to the letter are: Louise
Slaughter (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Robert
Andrews (D-NJ), Timothy Bishop (D-NY), Robert Brady (D-PA), Bruce Braley
(D-IA), William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Peter DeFazio
(D-OR), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Bob
Filner (D-CA), Janice Hahn (D-CA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Dennis
Kucinich (D-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Carolyn Maloney
(D-NY), Michael Michaud (D-ME), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Nick Rahall
(D-WV), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), John
Sarbanes (D-MD), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Pete
Stark (D-CA), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), and Lynn
They join other elected officials and community leaders who have been
citing serious concerns about the deal.
Earlier this year, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino detailed the economic
dangers of the deal for urban areas in comments to the FCC. The Maryland
Chapter of the NAACP filed comments explaining how concentrated power in
the industry would put poor and minority communities at further economic
disadvantage. Nine mayors of cities in New York State signed on to a
letter to the Department of Justice and the FCC, expressing concern that
the deal would have a devastating impact on their communities. And on
June 13, Representatives Edward J. Markey, one of the authors of the
1996 Telecommunications Act, and John Conyers, Ranking Member of the
House Judiciary Committee, released a letter calling on the FCC and
Department of Justice to scrutinize the deal.
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Do you know an outstanding young woman leader in the social justice
movement? There's still time to nominate her for the Berger-Marks
Foundation's $10,000 "Edna" award.
Named for Edna Berger — a women's rights pioneer who started as a
Philadelphia Inquirer receptionist and rose to become a writer, editor
and the first woman organizer for The Newspaper Guild — the award
recognizes "a woman who has made an extraordinary contribution to social
justice early in her career" and her ongoing work to "significantly
improve the lives of working women and men."
Last year, the foundation honored Ana Maria Archila, a Colombian
immigrant who is director of a dynamic grassroots mobilization
organization called Make the Road New York, with the first ever award.
"We are excited to continue supporting the important work of young
activists like these women," said Linda Foley, president of the
Women up to 35 years old can be nominated through an online
application (a short essay, resume and two letters of recommendation)
until July 31.
Click here or visit
www.bergermarks.org for more information. A panel of union, civic
and activist leaders will make the final selection and present the award
in the fall.
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The Newspaper Guild-CWA Executive Council this week called for an end
to deceptive practices of offshored journalism.
Responding to the
controversy about a content provider called Journatic cranking out
"local" news written in the Philippines under fake bylines, the
Guild demanded that newspaper publishers start identifying the actual
writers and their locations.
"Guild workers continue to have deep pride in their products, but it
appears the owners don't share the same sentiments," the Guild said in a
statement. "Many Guild-represented regional papers have been the most
trusted news on the internet, even when that content is aggregated
elsewhere. We know that has not necessarily brought profitability or a
sound business model to the products we work for. But the great
hollowing out of American journalism, which now appears to be led by
publishers, will deal a death blow to quality and trusted journalism."
This week major newspapers in Chicago, Houston and San Francisco
acknowledged they published dozens of these outsourced, fake-bylined
items in print or online. The practice was first
uncovered by "This American Life," which reported that Journatic was
relying on cheap foreign workers to write police blotters, obituaries,
real estate news and other stories.