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Join the next CWA telephone town hall on Thursday, Aug. 2, at 7 pm ET
to hear the status of Verizon contract bargaining and what's at stake
one year after its expiration.
Click here to register.
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Seth Rosen was first elected and sworn in as District 4 vice
president in 2005.
CWA District 4 Vice President Seth Rosen tragically drowned last
Friday while vacationing in North Carolina. He was 55.
Rosen died hours after negotiating a tentative agreement for 15,000
CWA members at AT&T Midwest, and District 4's bargaining team worked all
night to wrap up the settlement that provides for wage increases,
improvements in employment security and retiree protection. The
bargaining committee was determined to finalize a fair agreement to
honor Rosen and his lifetime of work on behalf of CWA members.
"Seth was a giant in our movement, the deeply loved vice-president of
District 4 for the last seven years, a member there for thirty or more
years." CWA President Larry Cohen wrote in a letter to members. "But
every day for him was like he was still a steward in 4309 — service,
leadership, commitment, a volunteer. For decades, no matter his
position, he did everything we do in CWA — phenomenal organizing,
breakthrough political and community work, and, through his last day,
negotiations and representation."
Rosen's passion to help workers gain a voice on the job could been
seen not only at CWA, but also in his work with Stand Up For Ohio, Jobs
with Justice and Policy Matters Ohio. As news of his death spread,
hundreds of friends, supporters and allies
flooded Facebook with stories of him rocking the bullhorn at
rallies, leading jam sessions and mentoring young union leaders.
"He knew how to size up your heart and mind and then grab hold of it
in the service of our shared vision for a just world,"
wrote SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.
"Seth valued people in a way that few do,"
wrote Kirk Noden, executive director of the Ohio Organizing
Collaborative. "He didn't need a fancy system to tell him that the most
important thing in front of him was the people around him — the workers
he represented, the staff he supervised, his labor colleagues, his
family, his band, down to the person he'd meet in a crowd. He was on
time and he was present for every conversation because he deeply cared
about us. There was nothing more important than you when you were with
Seth. They say that good organizers believe in people...Seth believed in
us and he loved us."
"Seth Rosen was a steadfast advocate for social and economic justice
and a tireless voice for workers," said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
"His advocacy helped thousands of Americans secure fair pay and benefits
for their hard work and his collaborative abilities helped strengthen
the labor movement."
At this year's CWA legislative political conference, Rosen told
attendees, "We just don't get attacked, we fight back."
Rosen himself was a scrappy guy who spent his entire career fighting
for workers' rights.
In 2005, Rosen was elected vice president of District 4, representing
50,000 members in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin —
battlegrounds for the most brutal attacks on workers' rights. Though his
leadership, progressives were able to defeat Ohio's infamous Senate Bill
5, which limited collective bargaining. He played a pivotal role in
shaping the direction of campaigns and keeping unity in both Ohio and
Wisconsin — yet much of his work is uncredited, as it went on quietly
behind the scenes through countless face-to-face meetings and phone
calls, said friends. He was a risk taker who never wavered in the fight
to build a new movement for good jobs and strong communities.
"We couldn't have been better positioned to have a guy like Seth lead
CWA at the onset of these attacks," said Jeff Rechenbach, who preceded
Rosen as District 4's vice president.
Rosen was a "Renaissance man, great musician, brilliant strategist,
political savant" who could have done anything he set his mind to,
Rechenbach added. "Fortunate for the labor movement, he set his mind to
promoting the cause of workers' rights."
Prior to becoming vice president, he served as administrative
director to Rechenbach, coordinating the union's organizing,
mobilization and Jobs with Justice program in his district. More than
14,000 workers in new units were organized during the fifteen years that
Rosen coordinated the District 4 organizing program.
Rosen helped form the Cleveland Jobs with Justice Workers' Rights
Board in 1993 and the National Jobs with Justice Workers' Rights Board
He chaired the CWA Executive Board Committee on Organizing, as well
as the board of directors of Policy Matters Ohio. Former Ohio Governor
Ted Strickland appointed him to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
Nominating Council, where Rosen served from 2007 to 2010.
Before joining CWA's international staff in 1989, Rosen was an
officer, chief steward and steward of CWA Local 4309, while employed by
the Ohio Bell Telephone Company.
A musician, Rosen played guitar and mandolin with the Sethro Quartet
and Gene's Jazz Hot. Cleveland's Barking Spider Tavern hosted a
"musicians' memorial" in his honor Tuesday night.
All of CWA join his wife Kathi, daughter Amanda and son Josh in
mourning the loss of a great union leader and a great man. CWA has
established the Seth Rosen Organizing Fund, which will be reserved for
purposes greater than those we otherwise fund, at workplaces and in our
communities. Any local or individual wishing to donate can send a check
payable to the Seth Rosen Organizing Fund, c/o CWA Secretary-Treasurer
Annie Hill, 501 Third Street, NW, Washington D.C. 20001.
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CWA President Larry Cohen swears in Linda Hinton as District 4 vice
CWA President Larry Cohen this week swore in Linda Hinton as the new
District 4 vice president. Cohen recommended and the Executive Board
approved the appointment of Hinton following the tragic death of Seth
Rosen, who had served as vice president since 2005.
Hinton, 60, has served as assistant to Rosen since 2005. She has
served the union in many capacities over the years, most recently
directing the district's legislative and political programs and building
a strong movement of workers and allies throughout the Midwest, most
recently, the Stand Up for Ohio coalition. District 4 covers about
50,000 CWA members in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.
The swearing-in took place in Cleveland; CWA local union leaders and
staff were attending the contract explanation meeting about the
tentative agreement reached July 20 with AT&T Midwest.
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CWA District 4 and the Telecommunications and Technologies Sector
last week reached tentative agreements in their respective negotiations
with AT&T Midwest and AT&T Legacy. Summaries of the tentative agreements
are posted at
CWA members and leaders across all districts continue to support
bargaining that is continuing in District 9 with AT&T West and Local
1298 with AT&T East. The contract covering CWA members in District 3
with AT&T Southeast expires Aug. 4.
In District 4 — covering about 15,000 CWA members at AT&T operations
in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin — the bargaining team
reached a tentative three-year agreement that provides for wage
increases, improvements in employment security and retiree protection.
Workers also won limits on forced overtime and changes to unfair
CWA T/T Vice President Ralph Maly noted that Seth Rosen, CWA's vice
president for District 4, would have said that "we achieved our goal of
a net gain when considering pay, health care and employment security."
CWA members at AT&T Legacy, representing about 5,500 workers at
locations nationwide, also will see real improvements in jobs, job
security and pensions, in addition to wage gains, under a separate
tentative agreement finalized last Saturday, said Maly.
All the CWA districts and sectors have worked together and supported
each other in the fight for good health care, retirement security, good
wages and everything that makes up the American Dream.
Separate negotiations are continuing with AT&T West, where 18,000 CWA
members throughout California and Nevada are mobilizing and supporting
bargaining, and with AT&T East in Connecticut, where 4,000 members of
CWA Local 1298, members of District 1, are standing together for a fair
contract. The 24,000 District 3 members throughout the Southeast are
keeping up their mobilization efforts as the clock ticks down to the
Aug. 4 contract expiration.
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American Airline's 10,000 passenger service agents are entitled to
choose for themselves whether or not they are represented by a union,
121 members of Congress told CEO Tom Horton in a strongly worded letter
The letter clearly states that Congress did not intend to
retroactively enforce a new law that requires 50 percent of employees to
show interest in union representation before the National Mediation
Board can schedule an election — shooting down the key argument
currently blocking the vote.
The letter cites an exchange between two senators during debate on
the legislation regarding this specific issue:
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa): "Am I correct
that the showing of interest requirement set forth in this legislation
should only apply prospectively and should not apply to any application
for representation pending at the time of the effective date of the
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.): "Yes."
The law had passed in February. At that time, CWA, on behalf of
agents, had already petitioned for an election date the previous
December, and the NMB used the original threshold — 35 percent of
employees expressing interest — when it called for a vote starting on
But American Airlines has since used every tactic possible to stop
workers from voting. First the airline refused to provide the names and
addresses of employees so they could receive their ballots. So CWA made
its own labels, which the NMB accepted and rescheduled the delayed
election to begin on June 21.
Then American Airlines filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Fort
Worth to block the election, and Judge Terry Means recently agreed that
the 50 percent rule was in effect.
"We are disappointed that you sought a legal injunction instead of
proceeding with the union representation election once the statutory
requirements for holding that election were met by the Passenger Service
Agents," members of Congress wrote. They added, "We are confident that
congressional intent on this issue is clear, despite the recent showing
by U.S. District Court Judge Terry Means."
The Justice Department has appealed the district court's decision and
further appeals court proceedings are scheduled for October.
The full text of the lawmakers' letter can be found
Tell American Airlines to stop squashing their employees' right to
writing your own letter here.
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CWA President Larry Cohen rallies activists in San Francisco in a
call to bring jobs home.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and CWA President Larry Cohen on Tuesday
rallied California labor activists around one simple message: Bring Jobs
Protesters flooded San Francisco's Union Square to call on Congress
to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.
"It's not just manufacturing jobs that are outsourced...it's all of
our jobs, anything they can move, they move,"
Cohen said. "In five years, 500,000 call center jobs were moved out
of this country."
CWAer Christina Huggins, an AT&T technician, told the
California Labor Federation's blog that the company downsized her
five-building complex to just one floor.
"When we look at our internal directory at AT&T, we see all of our
jobs are now in Slovakia, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in Manila — all of these
workers with the titles of what we used to do," she said. "And those
were all good-paying, union jobs with pensions."
The rally was just one of many events around the country highlighting
the AFL-CIO's Bring Jobs Home campaign.
Over the past decade, more than 50,000 manufacturing sites closed and
6 million American manufacturing jobs were lost to offshoring. More than
500,000 call-center jobs have also been shipped out of the country.
Last week, a majority of senators voted in favor of the Bring Jobs
Home Act — legislation that would close the loophole allowing
outsourcers to still be eligible for tax breaks and provide incentives
to companies that bring good jobs back from overseas. The bill failed to
get the 60-vote "super majority" needed to break a Republican filibuster
and move the bill to the Senate floor. The final vote was 56-42.
But California is currently considering
AB 2508, which would ensure that all call centers for public
services, such as CalWorks, are staffed only with workers employed in
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CWAers rally outside of Rep. Steve Israel’s campaign kickoff and
call out the congressman for not standing up for good hometown jobs.
Below: Strong feelings about Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) not joining
his fellow lawmakers in expressing serious concerns about the Verizon
Wireless – Big Cable deal.
Can you hear us now? Verizon workers spent weeks urging New York
Democratic Reps. Steve Israel and Carolyn McCarthy to fight the proposed
monopolistic deal between Verizon Wireless and Big Cable.
They didn't hear a peep.
But after two big rallies outside Israel's offices, the congressman
is now pledging his support to save workers' jobs. And so is McCarthy.
"We've got to hold our friends accountable," said Mike Gendron,
executive vice president of CWA Local 1108.
Earlier this month, Gendron had repeatedly reached out to both
lawmakers, asking them to sign a letter to Federal Communications
Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski citing concerns about the
venture's impact on consumers in their districts and across the country.
Under the proposed agreement, Verizon Wireless and major cable companies
will jointly market each other's products — allowing them to offer a
"quadruple play" of video, internet access, voice, and wireless service
that would subsequently eliminate competition,
kill 72,000 jobs, lead to higher prices and deepen the digital
divide between cities and wealthy suburbs.
CWA didn't know where Israel or McCarthy stood until they refused to
32 members of Congress in calling on the FCC to make certain that
the final agreement follows the requirements of the 1996
Telecommunications Act and preserves competition.
So CWAers rallied outside of Israel's regional office last week,
demanding that the congressman explain himself. When they didn't get a
response, 200 activists staged another demonstration at Israel's
campaign kickoff last Sunday, lining Old Country Road with red shirts
and protest signs.
That finally got their attention. Gendron and other local labor
leaders met with Israel that very Sunday afternoon to talk things over.
Then McCarthy's office came calling.
"It's amazing what a little pushback can do for you," Gendron said.
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A new CWA report finds that the proposed deal between Verizon
Wireless and big cable companies will cost workers and communities as
many as 72,000 lost jobs if approved.
Read the full report here.
The Federal Communications Commission is reviewing the deal that
would allow Verizon Wireless and companies including Time Warner and
Comcast to sell each other's products, thereby eliminating competition.
To safeguard jobs and protect the interests of consumers and
communities, CWA is calling on regulators to: 1) prohibit Verizon
Wireless and the cable companies from cross-marketing in Verizon's
landline footprint, 2) require Verizon to build the state-of-the-art
fiber optic FiOS network to 95% of Verizon households in existing
markets and increase FiOS buildout in rural and low-income areas, and 3)
ensure that Verizon Wireless and other cable companies are not able to
lock out competitors.
Verizon has made it clear that it will not follow through with an
expansion of its FiOS service to customers and communities that do not
currently have access to it. Despite the fact that FiOS is profitable
for Verizon, CEO Lowell McAdam said that the company plans to stop its
buildout of FiOS television and Internet services in the next several
years and "wind down the FiOS spend."
But if Verizon were to build out its network, about 72,000 new jobs
would be created, the CWA report found. Job growth would be concentrated
in eight Eastern states and Washington D.C.
Some previous assessments by the FCC of the impact of mergers and
other deals on jobs haven't held up. The FCC failed to fully consider
how the AT&T/T-Mobile USA merger would positively affect jobs.
Regulators did not approve that merger, and last month, T-Mobile USA
shut down seven call centers, affecting the jobs of 3,300 workers while
it continues to offshore work to Asia and Central America. In this case,
regulators' analysis was flawed.
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Gearing up for the national and state races around the country, CWA
District 6 leaders gathered in Oklahoma City last week to kick off their
political action program.
"The takeaway is how important the political and legislative part of
CWA is for our growth and our continued growth," CWA Local 6128
President Darlene Kirchgessner told the 52 representatives attending the
training. "If we don't have that, we don't get people in place to help
the labor movement. We have to get our members on board with that."
State coordinators talked about what's at stake in 2012, outlining
key races and ballot measures for CWA. During a skill building session,
attendees practiced the best ways to sign up volunteers and approach
members about donating to CWA's political action fund. There was a
workshop on the long-term and permanent infrastructure of the LPAT
program. Participants also watched and discussed two films — "The Heist"
and "Citizens United" — about the attacks on workers and democracy.
"We really focused on how difficult this is going to be," said Sylvia
J. Ramos, assistant to the vice president in District 6. "Four out of
our five states are red. This isn't going happen overnight. It's going
to take constant member outreach, member education."
Representatives came from all over, including Texas state employees,
Missouri state employees, CenturyLink, IUE, Lucent and AT&T. District 6
Vice President Claude Cummings and CWA National Political Director
Rafael Navar were also in attendance.
At the end of the day, each person shared what they learned and what
they would commit to do going forward. Leaders are now brainstorming
creative ways to organize PAC drive ideas, leaflet and support
AFL-CIO-endorsed candidates in Texas's runoff election next week.
"Everyone walked away with a really positive outlook and pumped up go
back to their locals to work on PAC drives," said Kara Hutchason, state
coordinator for CWA Local 6316.
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TU and CWA activists in Albuquerque are joined by ver.di leader
Lothar Schröder, left.
Below: Demonstration outside the Albuquerque call center calls on
T-Mobile USA management to bring back good jobs.
This past month, Lothar Schröder, Executive Board Member of ver.di,
the German union representing over 2 million workers, including those at
T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom, has been traveling to
T-Mobile locations throughout the United States, meeting with T-Mobile
USA workers and the CWA activists who are helping them get a union
He also observed the stark differences between the two companies:
AT&T Mobility remains neutral in organizing campaigns and T-Mobile USA
uses fear and intimidation to stop workers from having a union.
Schröder held numerous offsite meetings with T-Mobile employees in
Nashville, Wichita, and Albuquerque. In all three locations, he heard
workers talk of management intimidation around job metrics, on-the-job
surveillance and imposed scheduling, as well as harassing calls made by
managers to workers' homes about family and medical leave. (One worker
had MS, another, a premature baby.) Outside the call centers, workers
were convinced that they were under surveillance and many were reluctant
to talk long.
Schröder then traveled to an AT&T Mobility Retail Store in Metairie,
La., where the workers are represented by CWA and he had no problem
meeting with a dozen employees in the break room to talk about the
benefits of collective bargaining. That was a stark contrast to T-Mobile
USA management, which refused to let Schröder in to any T-Mobile
facility, despite his standing as the second ranking official in
T-Mobile USA's parent company. A T-Mobile "spokesperson" called Schröder
a "third party."
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Tens of thousands of workers will unite next month in Philadelphia —
the birthplace of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights — to demand
economic freedom and opportunity for all.
Activities kick off Friday night, Aug. 10, at Independence Hall,
where national labor leaders will be signing the
Second Bill of Rights. Inspired by President Franklin Roosevelt's
proposed 1944 economic bill of rights, union leaders drafted 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,
The following morning, Aug. 11, thousands of CWA and IBEW activists
and allies will rally in front of Verizon's local headquarters in
support of the 45,000 Verizon workers who continue to fight for a fair
Activists will then march to Eakins Oval, a large park in front of
the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where they'll join the main event: a
rally for working families. Timed to preempt both the Democratic and
Republican national conventions, the "Workers Stand for America" event
aims to be a conversation changer, redirecting partisan squabbling
toward a serious discussion on restoring the American dream for the next
In the coming days, CWA will be encouraging its allies and
politicians on both sides of the aisle to attend the rally and sign the
Second Bill of Rights.
For more information visit
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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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CWA Customer Service Professionals will meet Oct. 14-17 in St. Louis.
Call center and customer service workers from every CWA District, Sector
and Division will participate.
Click here for registration information.