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CWA updates one of the AFL-CIO's old NLRB signs.
For the first time in a decade, the National Labor
Relations Board has five Senate-confirmed members.
CWA led this fight, and e-mails and phone calls from
thousands of activists made all the difference.
Senate Democrats stood strong to force the Republican
minority to stop the obstruction that kept too many of the
President's executive nominations waiting for Senate action
for as long as two years. That means that this Labor Day, 80
million private sector workers will continue to have the
protections of federal law and the only agency that can
enforce workplace rights will be fully functional.
CWA President Larry Cohen pointed out that, "President
Obama began his second term without a Democratic majority on
the NLRB, and for workers that has meant continued delay in
workplace justice, whether to enforce their bargaining rights
or protect them from an employer's illegal action. The Senate
action confirming the NLRB members is a step toward justice
for millions of workers."
The five NLRB members are Democrats Mark Pearce, Nancy
Schiffer, and Kent Hirozawa, and Republicans Harry Johnson and
Groups like The Democracy Initiative, founded by CWA, the
Sierra Club, Greenpeace and NAACP, and the Fix the Senate Now
coalition are continuing to work for Senate confirmation of
additional executive branch nominations and judicial
nominations that have languished because of the broken Senate
rules. With 60 votes required for the Senate to move forward
on any business, and Republicans determined to abuse the rules
to block key nominations, it's no surprise that little is
The Democracy Initiative now includes more than 60
organizations and also is working to curb the corrupting
influence of corporate money in politics and stop the attack
on voter rights.
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The ESPN studio in New York City's Times Square.
When Keith Olbermann returns to ESPN2 later this summer
with his new and highly anticipated late night talk show,
NABET-CWA members will be manning Times Square Studios, the
site of the program. Disney/ABC, the NABET-CWA Sector and
NABET-CWA Local 51016 last week signed an agreement which
provides that the technical crew for the Keith Olbermann show
be covered under the Union's Master Agreement with the ABC
Television Network. The show will air live Monday through
Friday nights at 11 p.m. ET.
The agreement covers studio and control room technicians
assigned to the show by ABC, and follows previous agreements
between the Network and NABET-CWA for the Washington,
DC-produced ESPN shows "Pardon the Interruption", "Around the
Horn", and "Highly Questionable." Times Square Studios is also
the venue for the NABET-CWA covered program, "Good Morning
America" which airs weekday mornings on ABC.
Art Mazzacca, President of NABET-CWA Local 51016 in New
York City stated, "This agreement will provide a tremendous
amount of work, 52 weeks out of the year, to our members, and
will provide them with the benefits of a good Union contract."
NABET-CWA members recently ratified their national ABC
contract, which runs through March 2017.
"I am very proud that an additional group of NABET-CWA
members will be putting their craft talents on display in the
highly competitive late night television market," remarked Jim
Joyce, President of the NABET-CWA Sector. "Our members already
work on NBC's 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno', 'Late Night
with Jimmy Fallon', 'Saturday Night Live', and ABC's
'Nightline'", Joyce added.
By the way, Keith Olbermann is no stranger to working with
NABET-CWA crews. His MSNBC show, "Countdown with Keith
Olbermann" was produced at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York
City and was covered by a NABET-CWA agreement with NBC. His
ESPN2 show is expected to launch on August 26.
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The CWA CenturyLink bargaining team has reached a five-year
tentative agreement with the company that provides employment
security for 11,000 CWA-represented workers in 13 states.
The proposed agreement provides new limitations on
CenturyLink's ability to contract out and move call center
work outside the footprint, and includes a commitment to
return jobs that have been outsourced and offshored. Details
are being provided to CWA District 7 members and locals, and a
ratification vote will be scheduled.
This proposed agreement covers Legacy Qwest CenturyLink
members in these states: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah,
Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, South
Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa. CenturyLink workers in
Montana are represented by the International Brotherhood of
Some 60 S&P Guild members, many sporting red Guild
T-shirts, came to watch their co-workers on the bargaining
committee, despite management's best efforts to deter
observers from attending. Guild negotiators on Tuesday
restated the importance of employment and retirement security.
Read more here.
Last Saturday, CWA members and supporters throughout West
Virginia rallied outside Frontier Communications headquarters
in Charleston, W.Va. The crowd included lots of members of
Local 2001 and other CWA locals that are bargaining with
Frontier for a new contract. The current agreement covering
1,600 workers expires Aug. 2. UMWA President Cecil Roberts,
CWA District 2-13 Vice-President Edward Mooney and District 1
VP Chris Shelton, elected officials and labor leaders from
across the state were among the speakers.
Guild bargaining continues at The Washington Post,
where workers' contract expired on July 26. The union had
offered to extend the contract for two more years, with all
terms remaining the same except for pay.
Guild members picketed in front of the Cleveland Plain
Dealer Tuesday to send a simple message: The Plain
Dealer lied to the Guild during bargaining last year. The
very next day, newspaper management eliminated the jobs of
about 50 journalists, cutting more than a third of an already
depleted newsroom staff.
Read more here.
Two months ago, the Chicago Sun-Times fired its
entire photography staff. To mark the anniversary, the
photojournalists protested outside the newspaper headquarters
Tuesday morning holding enlargements of their photographs.
"While our reporters are doing the best they can to take
photos with their iPhones and still trying to deliver quality
stories, visually, the story has taken a big hit,"
Beth Kramer of the Chicago Newspaper Guild told ABC7 News.
IUE-CWA Local 81021's Avis-Budget Negotiating Committee
reached a tentative five-year agreement with the AB Group
(Logan/Headquarters) and Avis (Downtown/Cambridge). The
tentative agreement provides annual wage increases and
improvements in wage progression at both companies, among
other gains. The union bargaining committee voted unanimously
to recommend the proposed contract; a ratification vote is
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CWA urged the Federal Communications Commission to deny
Verizon's application to end wireline communications to
residents and businesses in some areas of New York and New
Read the filing here.
Instead of rebuilding the copper network, Verizon
substituted "Voice Link," a wireless technology to businesses
and residents in parts of Fire Island, N.Y., and three
barriers islands in New Jersey.
Verizon moved ahead without any regulatory oversight and
without plans for any consumer protections and data
collection. Apparently it wants to do more of the same,
because it's seeking a waiver of the FCC's requirements for
discontinuance of service and notification of customers, CWA
The Commission should deny "automatic approval" of
Verizon's application, and instead require Verizon to resubmit
its application. Verizon's experiment with Voice Link can be a
"technology trial" under the process the FCC is proposing to
review how the transition from wireline to wireless should
Hundreds of local and state elected officials, public
safety officials, residents and small business owners detailed
consumer hardship, inadequate and unavailable alternative
services and increased costs they face as a result of
Here are just a few of the comments filed with the New York
State Public Service Commission:
- We are year-round
residents on Fire Island and need a hard line to run our
business and to monitor our property from the DSL line.
After the storm, I temporarily had the Home Connect system
and it worked poorly. Calls would ring for 30 plus times
before I even knew they were coming through and we had no
internet which is essential to run a business. Sometimes
calls didn't even go through. VOICE LINK DOESNT WORK. —
Barbara Heller, 7/6/2013
- During Hurricane
Sandy I lost my power but was able to communicate using my
land line phone. My cell phone had no service. If I was
limited to only wireless service I would not have been able
to notify my utility of the outage. If I had needed
emergency service I could not have called for it. — Theodore
E. Debowy, 6/28/2013
- We have service on
Fire Island (Saltaire) and due to Super Storm Sandy we have
been required to change our hard line to Verizon Voice Link
and to Hotspot for internet. The Voice Link is marginal and
the hotspot is awful. Verizon would prefer not to restore
our hard lines but so far the service is spotty and much
more expensive than the phone/internet service we had. —
Joel Dictrow, 7/18/13
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CWA President Larry Cohen marches with immigration
reform, faith, community and union leaders.
Below: Cohen was arrested at a sit-down protest on
Activists from labor, immigrant rights, faith,
environmental, civil rights and community groups launched "40
Days of Action and Prayer for Families" on immigration reform
with a demonstration and civil disobedience outside the U.S.
Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen was
among the leaders who were arrested at a sit-down protest that
focused on the failure of the House of Representatives to take
action on immigration reform that includes a path to
the video here.)
The civil disobedience action sent a strong message to
House leaders that the fight for immigrant families is growing
and will continue through Congress' five-week August recess
and into the fall until the House produces a comprehensive
bill that provides a path to citizenship for 11 million
Cohen said, "All of us in CWA are proud to stand for
citizenship and against intolerance. I am proud to represent
our members today as we demonstrate the broad movement that
supports a citizenship path for 11 million of our co-workers
and neighbors. We will support this campaign as long as it
takes whether we are sitting in the streets or organizing in
CWA activists and others will raise this issue at meetings
and actions in the home districts of their members of
Other groups participating in today's action were: Center
for Community Change, National Immigration Law Coalition,
AFL-CIO, Gamaliel, SEIU, Greenpeace, United Farm Workers,
America's Voice, US ACTION and CASA de Maryland.
Reps. Luis Gutierrez, Jan Schakowsky and Raul Grijalva came
out to support the immigration protesters.
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The Washington, D.C., City Council stood up for working
families by passing the Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA),
which requires retailers with more than $1 billion in annual
sales and with stores of more than 75,000 square feet to pay
workers a living wage package of $12.50 an hour. The LRAA
would lift thousands of working families in Washington, D.C.,
out of poverty and support decent wages across the retail
industry. The mayor now must sign the LRAA in order for it to
This legislation was approved despite Walmart's threat to
cancel the opening of three planned D.C. stores unless the
council backed down. Nationwide, Walmart pays workers very low
wages and cuts their hours, so much that many employees
qualify for food stamps, Medicaid and other government
A new report by the Democratic staff of the U.S. House of
Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce,
which analyzed government assistance and Medicaid data, found
that "a single 300-person Walmart Supercenter store in
Wisconsin likely costs taxpayers at least $904,542 per year
and could cost taxpayers up to $1,744,590 per year. That's
about $5,815 per employee."
The California legislature also is looking to crack down on
Walmart's determination to get the taxpayers to pick up its
compensation costs, with a proposed bill that will "levy a
fine of up to $6,000 on employers like Wal-Mart for every
full-time employee that ends up on the state's Medi-Cal
program – the California incarnation of Medicaid," Forbes.com
The AFL-CIO Executive Council commended the effort to help
lift thousands of working families in Washington, D.C., out of
poverty, and to push the retail industry nationwide to pay
decent wages to workers.
"Large and extremely profitable corporations from outside
the District attempted to bribe local officials with promises
of jobs, while threatening to cancel the planned opening of
stores in Washington if the City Council voted for the LRAA.
The City Council's vote was a brave repudiation of these
"While Washington, D.C., like communities across America,
needs more jobs and retail establishments, it wants good jobs
that lift up the community and build a future for all
"A broad coalition of faith, community and labor
organizations came together in a multi-year grassroots
campaign to win the passage of the LRAA, creating a model for
allies and colleagues nationwide who are facing similar
promises and threats from companies looking to pressure local
communities in a troubled economy.
"The AFL-CIO joins the growing number of organizations,
faith leaders and District residents calling on D.C. Mayor
Vincent Gray to continue setting the standard for corporate
accountability and responsibility by standing with Washington,
D.C.'s working families and signing the Large Retailer
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The AFL-CIO Executive Council released this statement in
response to the tragic shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin,
with a call for social and economic justice for communities of
color. The council pledged to take action around these issues.
The labor movement gains its
strength from our common belief that all people have intrinsic
value and deserve dignity as their birthright, and that people
of every race, religion, color and sexual orientation deserve
access to the "American Dream."
This dream of equality, fairness,
and opportunity – the dream of raising a family, of having a
home, and making a decent living doing work that makes you
proud – is the beacon that attracts aspiring citizens from
around the world.
That same dream – a dream that we
all reach for – was snatched from a young black high school
student named Trayvon Martin last February when he was shot
and killed as he walked home one evening.
This tragedy and the sense of
unrealized justice it left behind have been traumatic for many
– particularly for those who have struggled to make their way
in a stagnant and increasingly unequal economy.
Trayvon's death – and the
subsequent trial – have reopened the deep and unresolved wound
of racism in our country. Nearly fifty years after the March
on Washington for Jobs and Freedom we have made tremendous
progress, but we still have a long way to go. Racism remains
deeply rooted in American society. The Supreme Court has
gutted the Voting Rights Act and weakened anti-discrimination
laws. Too many Americans are out of work and facing unfair and
discriminatory barriers as they try to enter the workforce.
Racial profiling occurs far too often, creating distrust in
communities at a time when we need to be coming together.
The Trayvon Martin case is a
painful wake-up call that much work remains to be done in the
march toward opportunity and justice for all. President Obama
recently noted that we all need to do some soul-searching and
start a conversation about race in America in families and
churches and workplaces. As we re-dedicate ourselves to
continue this march, along with our allies, we will heed the
President's call to begin conversations about race with our
leadership, members and staff to ensure that this tragedy
leads to real action and tangible change.
The AFL-CIO will be deliberate in
our commitment to advancing a full dialogue regarding racial
disparities and violence in all our communities.
We shall encourage our national
affiliates and our state and local bodies to participate fully
in a dialogue with our partners and allies and work diligently
to support policies at the federal, state and local level that
eliminate discrimination, profiling and violence and to
denounce Stand Your Ground laws that are advanced by the
anti-worker, pro-voter suppression American Legislative
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Activists join STL735 in a one-day strike for higher
Below: CWA and Missouri AFL-CIO members walk a fast-food
worker back to her job.
In cities across the country, CWA activists stood
shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of fast-food workers
striking to demand a living wage and respect in their
In St. Louis, United Media Guild activists and allies took
to the streets to support striking workers. Four months ago,
the Guild organized eight staffers at
STL 735, a group that supports fast-food workers and their
fight for fair wages and the right to form a union without
retaliation at more than 15 restaurant chains.
In a show of unity the next day, St. Louis faith and union
leaders walked strikers back to their jobs. It was the
continuation of a growing partnership between leaders in the
two communities. A year ago, faith-labor breakfasts began
bringing together union presidents and clergy on a regular
basis to talk about shared values. "Labor in the Pulpit"
events have helped congregations to learn about the labor
movement. And at last year's Labor Day parade, the faith
community carried a huge banner in support of workers.
"It's not just unions – it's a very broad coalition," said
Shannon Duffy, a business representative at the Guild and
labor co-chair for St. Louis Jobs with Justice. "It's exciting
times. If we're going to do anything substantial and make an
impact, we have to think about how we build our alliances."
In New York City,
CWA supported fast-food workers – from McDonald's,
Wendy's, KFC and many other chains around the city – who also
walked off the job in a mass protest for higher pay.
And in New Jersey, CWA has focused on an upcoming ballot
initiative on Nov. 5 to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an
hour to $8.25. This week activists canvassed neighborhoods in
Essex County to drum up support.
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Members of CWA Local 6300 attend Tuesday's UMWA rally
outside the St. Louis headquarters of Arch Coal to protest
the company's move to slash retiree and active miners'
health care benefits in bankruptcy.
In St. Louis, labor activists show support for each
other's battles on Tuesday. UMWA members came out to the
fast-food workers strike and strikers attended and spoke at
the UMWA rally.
CWA District 9 Staff Representative Sara Steffens
organized a Mom's March that joined up with a Student March
for Peace in Oakland on July 20. The Oakland rallies were
part of a "National Day of Action" calling for "Justice For
Trayvon" in over 100 cities nationwide. (Photo
by the Mercury News)
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CWA and affiliates offer several scholarship programs for
continuing education that are open to members, their children
and grandchildren. Read more about the CWA Joseph A. Beirne
here and about IUE-CWA scholarships
CWA Joseph A. Beirne First-Year Scholarship Winners for
Taina Quinones, daughter of David Quinones, Local 1101
Nick Miczan, son of Jeff Miczan, 1123
Michelle Feasel, daughter of Roxanne Feasel, 1036
Myles Patrick LaFrance, son of Edward Keough, 1171
Feven Laine, daughter of Hadgu Laine,3204
Sheresa Alise Rankin, daughter of Heidi Rankin, 3641
Madelaine Hill, granddaughter of David Hluch (Retired), 4340
Patrick G. Anderson, son of Gerald Anderson, 2107
DeVante Parker, grandson of Vera Berry (Retired), 13000
Giovanni Meza, son of Vanessa Meza, 9509
Sarah Elizabeth Schutte, daughter of Mark Schutte, 4009
Thomas Mitchell Gatlin, son of William Gatlin, 6171
Christian Velasquez, son of Jesse Velasquez, Jr., 6215
Naomi Lam, daughter of Karen Lam, 9415
Tearney Lopez, granddaughter of Cheryl Elfering, 7601
CWA Joseph A. Beirne Second-Year Scholarship Winners for
Kelli Williams, daughter of Claudia Williams, 1084
Darius Gonzalez, son of Emilio Gonzalez, 1107
Elizabeth Palena, daughter of Ilene Palena, 1039
May Chang, daughter of Helen Nan, 1032
Anna Fazzini, daughter of Lisa Fazzini, 13000
John Hughes, son of John Hughes, 2336
Chelsey Robinson, daughter of Becky Robinson, 3310
Nicholas Bernier, son of Raymond Bernier, 3250
Dylan Moore, son of Jerald Moore, 4671
Parker Van Riper, daughter of DeAnne Van Riper, 24008
Ethan Pollock, son of Earl Pollock, 6016
Michelle Garcia, daughter of Norma Garcia, 6143
Kayla Ellis, daughter of Lori Ellis, 7901
Angela Brouqua, daughter of Richard Brouqua, 9421
Charles Grigsby, grandson of Lynn Ludlow, 39521
IUE-CWA awarded these scholarships for the 2013-2014
Amanda Volenski is an IUE-CWA Local 1140 member employed at
Kelsey Alfermann, daughter of Wayne Alfermann, IUE Local 1114
Erica Bauer, daughter of Thomas Bauer, 502
Alexander Brand, son of Brian Brand, 775
Alyssa Brown, daughter of Anjanette Brown, 775
Brianna Colbert, daughter of Steven Colbert, 648
Alyssa Foley, daughter of Timothy Foley, 162
Michael Fox, son of Victor Fox, 901
Noah Friedman, son of Mark Friedman, 301
Dalton Gennocro, son of Darrin Gennocro , 101
Joe Hines, son of Jon Hines, 648
Messeret Kebede, daughter of Kebrom Kebede, 201
Justin Krishart, son of Sharon Krishart, 502
Meghan Lupole, daughter of Daniel Lupole, 502
Chelsey Robinson, daughter of Larry Robinson, retired member,
Jay Padhiar, son of Suresh Padhair, 75 FW
Brennan Pike, son of Wayne Pike, 729