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With Wednesday's votes by the U.S. Senate Health,
Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee approving the
nominations of Democrats Nancy Schiffer and Kent Hirozawa, all
five nominees to the National Labor Relations Board now
proceed to full Senate confirmation. Schiffer and Hirozawa
both were approved on a 13-9 vote; all Republicans but one
voted against the nominations.
CWA commended HELP Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) for his
efforts to ensure that 80 million private sector workers will
continue to have a fully functioning NLRB to turn to for
CWA said American workers deserve a strong, functioning and
full-strength NLRB, not Senate obstruction and gridlock. The
expected vote by the full Senate to confirm these nominees
will be welcome news to workers who know that the Board is the
only agency that enforces the law and safeguards their rights
on the job.
The five nominees are Democrats Schiffer and Hirozawa, and
Chairman Mark Pearce, and Republicans Phil Miscimarra and
In closing the hearing, Harkin reminded his Senate
colleagues and others of the purpose of the National Labor
Relations Act by reading part of Section 1.
"It is declared to be the policy of the United States to
eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to
the free flow of commerce and to mitigate and eliminate these
obstructions when they have occurred by encouraging the
practice and procedure of collective bargaining and by
protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of
association, self-organization, and designation of
representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of
negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or
other mutual aid or protection." [Emphasis added.]
Harkin continued, "maybe some don't like it but this is the
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Activists encourage their congressman to stop the
secretive trade deal.
CWA activists in Minnesota aren't going to stand by and
watch another massive, secret trade agreement wreak havoc on
the lives of American workers. That's why they're raising
awareness about the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership and
pressuring Republican Rep. John Kline to stop the deal.
"This is a people's movement that's holding our
representatives accountable," said Mona Meyer, CWA's Minnesota
State Council president.
The proposed agreement, or TPP, could endanger consumer
safeguards, health care, education and environmental
standards. It threatens to put more jobs at risk, allowing
businesses to offshore, drive down wages and cut benefits.
That's why it's being negotiated by corporate lobbyists behind
closed doors concealed from the public and even some members
In recent weeks, CWA activists have canvassed precincts
within Kline's district, gathering input and signatures on
letters against the trade deal. They knocked on hundreds of
doors and collected more than 50 constituent letters asking
Kline to secure a copy of the trade deal's text and share it
Last Thursday, 55 CWA activists and members of TakeAction
Minnesota descended on Kline's Burnsville office to deliver
the letters, telling the congressman to vote against "fast
tracking" the agreement when Congress puts it up for a vote in
October. The rallying cry was "fair trade or no trade deal."
CWA and TakeAction Minnesota activists rally outside of
Rep. John Kline's home office.
"Everyone in this room is fighting for the American dream,
but with fast-tracking the TPP, it's taking the American dream
across the seas and taking our jobs away from not just labor,
but every working American in this country," CWA Local 7200
President Dan Jerde told Kline's staff. "I'm opposed to this
and want Mr. Kline to provide me with the information on the
TPP, these secret deals and everything else that's going on
behind closed doors. I'm a president of a local of 1,500
people and if you want to see the 1,500 people coming down
here every weekend, we will start doing that until we get our
Watch the full video of the letter delivery here.
Kline's staff said they did not have a copy of the text and
would not comment on Kline's current position on the trade
Unsatisfied with the response, Meyer said activists are
already planning on phone banking and sending postcards to
hammer their message home. In the future, CWAers aim to invite
Kline to a town hall meeting to talk about the TPP and answer
"We know that our opponents have the money, but we have the
people," Meyer said. "The struggle we're facing is one we're
facing together with coalition partners. We don't feel like
CWA is alone. We have lots of good friends standing with us
and there's so much engagement on this issue around the Twin
Cities. Corporate interests will try to divide us. So we all
need to work together or we'll all be working for less."
According to the Economic Policy Institute, Kline's
congressional district lands in the top 25 nationally for
offshoring of jobs because of the U.S. trade deficit, with
close to 11,000 jobs lost since 2001.
"Even self-identifying conservatives and Kline supporters
in this district are against this secret trade deal," said
Chad Perkins, executive vice president of CWA Local 7250.
"They are very upset and have a lot of questions about how
this deal will affect them and their families."
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In Atlanta, members of CWA Local 3204 leaflet for
fairness at AT&T Internet.
Below: CWA Local 3310 members in Louisville, Ky., hold a
vigil for a fair contract.
- Today, Washington
Post employees held an informational picket and rally
outside the newspaper's headquarters to demand a fair
contract. The current two-year agreement expires on July 26,
and bargaining talks have started on everything from salary
increases to job security to telecommuting. Learn more at
- CWA members at AT&T
Internet are working without a contract while bargaining
continues. The contract covering 3,000 CWA technicians and
call center members in 14 states expired July 13. More than
96 percent of voting members approved a strike authorization
vote, and CWAers are determined to win a fair agreement.
Last week, local members nationwide held information pickets
with a message to AT&T: "Let's be Fair."
- Nearly 7,300 Kaleida
Health workers represented by CWA Local 1168, as well as
SEIU and IUOE locals have ratified a three-year agreement
that includes improved wages, increased pension
contributions and maintains current health care plans.
Read more at The Buffalo News.
CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney rallies
Frontier workers and supporters in Fairmont, W.Va.
Below: Activists attended the rally calling on Frontier
to keep its promises to workers and West Virginia.
- Horizon Air Flight
Attendants have ratified a new five-year agreement that
contains pay increases, locks in benefits and improves
scheduling rules for the over 500 workers. The contract,
effective Aug. 4, also provides for greater flexibility and
enhanced quality of life.
- Last weekend, CWA
activists, union leaders and elected officials rallied in
Palatine Park in Fairmont, W. Va., to support Frontier
Communications employees' ongoing contract negotiations. The
current contract, covering 1,600 workers, will expire on
Check out more rally photos at The Times West Virginian.
This Saturday, CWA members and supporters will rally outside
Frontier headquarters in Charleston. CWAers plan to show
Frontier "the biggest rally it's ever seen," said Ken
Williams, president of CWA Local 2001.
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Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement try to
question U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) on his efforts to
block a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrant
Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, an
affiliate of National People's Action and a strong CWA
partner, were keeping track of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
as he was making the rounds among Republican political
activists in Des Moines.
Demonstrators called out Cruz for his anti-immigrant votes
and his efforts to block a path to citizenship for 11 million
Iowa CCI focuses on many of the same issues important to
CWA members: good jobs and a fair economy; protecting Social
Security, Medicare and Medicaid; voting rights; immigration
reform, fair tax policies, and more. Earlier this month, CWA
President Larry Cohen addressed Iowa CCI delegates and had
this op-ed published in The Des Moines Register.
"On these bigger issues we have to throw in together," he
told convention goers. "We get off of defense onto offense. We
get to fight for the American dream that we want, that our
children think they have, the kind of Iowa, the kind of nation
that's well within our grasp. If we can unite, if we can build
this movement broader and deeper."
Watch his entire speech here.
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"Moral Monday" protesters rally outside the North
North Carolina is continuing its assault on everyday
Americans with the nation's harshest attack yet on the voting
rights of its citizens. This extreme assault was made possible
by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last month that
eliminated the protections of the Voting Rights Act for
millions of Americans.
The North Carolina legislature isn't only looking for an
extreme voter ID law that could prevent 318,000 now registered
voters from exercising their right to vote, but plan to cut
the early voting period and allow polling place "vigilantes"
to challenge voters. The state senate also added provisions to
make students' college-issued IDs an invalid form of
identification, along with other drastic measures.
Read more here.
North Carolina's Republican-dominated legislature is
posed to pass the most draconian voter suppression bill in
At this week's Moral Monday action outside the Legislative
Building in Raleigh, Rev. William Barber, president of the
North Carolina NAACP, told activists that the voter
suppression already passed by the House was targeting
minorities, students and the elderly. "Raleigh is our Selma,"
Barber said, reminding the crowd of the fight for voting
rights in 1965 and the Selma to Montgomery, Ala., march.
North Carolina CWA members have joined in numerous Moral
Monday actions, standing with allies who are fighting to
restore economic and social justice.
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Rod Nordland of The New York Times won top honors at
the 2012 TNG-CWA Heywood Broun Awards for his series, "Kabul's
Killing Freezes." Nordland's series focused on the deaths of
the youngest refugees sent to the camps in Afghanistan because
their home areas were so hazardous; some children survived
only a matter of days without a warming fire, a blanket or a
The award, which comes with a $5,000 check, is named for
the crusading New York City columnist who helped found the
Newspaper Guild and served as its first president. It
recognizes excellence in journalism in the tradition of Broun
fighting injustice and righting wrongs.
There were 59 entries for the 2012 awards.
Two entries tied for in the print category for the 2012
"Award of Distinction:" "The Shame of the Boy Scouts" by Jason
Felch and Kim Christensen of The Los Angeles Times and
"Empty Desk Epidemic" by David Jackson and Gary Marx of The
Chicago Tribune. Each team of reporters will receive a
$750 check. There were no broadcast winners this year.
In "The Shame of the Boy Scouts," Felch and Christensen of
The Los Angeles Times exposed a secret blacklist of
suspected sexual predators among scout leaders. Long rumored
but never before confirmed, the so-called "perversion files"
were a confidential internal list dating back to 1919 of men
suspected of molesting boys in their care.
In "Empty-Desk Epidemic," Jackson and Marx used bare
numbers behind pervasive absenteeism in Chicago schools to
tell the stories of students who missed more than a month of
school or simply vanished from school rolls.
A special Honorable Mention and $500 award goes to Karen de
Sá of The San Jose Mercury News for her series, "Loss
of Trust." That series uncovered abuses by court-appointed
conservators who charged exorbitant fees to the mentally
disabled and elderly they were meant to serve.
Judges were Lawrence Margasak, a retired Associated Press
reporter, Christopher Assaf, video editor at The Baltimore
Sun, and Reuters reporter Pedro da Costa. Chairing the
panel was Deborah Zabarenko, also of Reuters. The awards will
be presented at a TNG-CWA event on Oct. 31 in Washington, D.C.