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Nearly 2,000 CWA activists joined the tens of thousands of
people marching on the National Mall this past weekend to
commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington
for Jobs and Freedom and to reinforce the fight to ensure our
democracy works for every American.
CWAers traveled from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey,
Ohio, Virginia and Georgia, joining hands with civil rights
activists, students, union members, community organizers,
environmental activists, people of faith and many more, all
part of a movement to bring the dream of economic and social
justice closer to reality for all. CWA red mixed with SEIU
purple, AFSME green, UAW blue and other unions gathered around
the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
"If I had to pick one word to describe my feelings during
the March on Washington it would have to be 'overwhelming,'"
said CWA District 4 Vice President Linda Hinton. "Such
diversity! To be surrounded by brothers and sisters, and
especially our elders who were there 50 years ago and have
returned today, reinforces my desire to continue the struggle.
It was about jobs then, and it is still about jobs. There is
so much more work to do, and we cannot falter."
Hinton said that at one point during the march, she grew
tired from walking. But then she witnessed the elderly woman
with a walker struggling with each step.
"She continued. She had been walking for 50 years and never
gave up, and nor will I," Hinton said.
CWA activists wore t-shirts reading, "I am a drum major for
justice..." echoing a famous, powerful line from one of Martin
Luther King, Jr.'s sermons.
In 1963, marchers were fighting for jobs, economic justice
and racial equality. While the country has made progress, much
of the movement's work remains unfinished. Many of the
marchers and speakers reflected on their own hopes and dreams,
as they remembered MLK's historic "I have a dream" speech.
They talked about the murder of Trayvon Martin, fighting to
restore the Voting Rights Act, boosting the minimum wage and
shrinking the gap between the nation's rich and poor.
"This is not the time for nostalgic commemoration," Martin
Luther King III told the crowd. "Nor is this the time for
self-congratulatory celebration. The task is not done. The
journey is not complete. We can and we must do more."
Georgia Rep. John Lewis, the only surviving speaker from
the 1963 march, said, "I gave a little blood on that bridge in
Selma, Alabama, for the right to vote. I am not going to stand
by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from
us. You cannot stand by. You cannot sit down. You've got to
stand up. Speak up, speak out and get in the way."
On Wednesday, activists gathered again on the Mall to hear
speeches by President Barack Obama and former Presidents Bill
Clinton and Jimmy Carter, who all stood on the very spot where
MLK rallied the nation.
"It was an amazing event to see so many people come
together – people committed to fairness for all and to finally
push to bring an end to racism in this country," said CWA
Chief of Staff Ron Collins. "I was honored to be there with so
many labor folks, civil rights, community and faith based
groups. As I marched, listen to the speakers and watched
people of all ages, races and gender, I was filled with
CWAers were a part of the March on Washington in 1963 and
again 50 years later, as workers, civil rights activists,
greens students, people of faith and many more came together
to support the dream of democracy and justice for all.
No one can do it alone. Building a movement of allies is
how we will achieve economic and social justice.
CWA activists from Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, the
mid-Atlantic and other states bus to DC for the March. Many
took overnight buses to get here in time.
Bus greeters hand out t-shirts and lunches as CWAers head
out for the rally and march.
On the way to the Lincoln Memorial.
CWA D4 Vice President Linda Hinton, center, Sonny Morgan,
IUE-CWA, left, and Sylvia Ramos, assistant to D6 Vice
President Claude Cummings, on the steps of the Lincoln
The march ended at the MLK memorial.
In San Jose, Calif., some 500 people, including members
of CWA Local 9423, marked the 50th anniversary of the March
on Washington at a march sponsored by the NAACP, unions,
community groups and others.
Check out more photos here.
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The "Tech 22" – Minee Smalls, Jaywalk, Chilo and DMAC –
perform in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
Cablevision workers from Brooklyn, invited by the National
Action Network to perform at the 50th anniversary of the March
on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, took the stage with their
latest rap, "Dear Mr. Dolan: Where The Papers At?" It's a call
for fairness from the company that has refused to bargain a
fair contract for the 280 workers.
Check it out.
In January 2012, Cablevision workers in Brooklyn voted for
their union, Communications Workers of America Local 1109.
Since then, Cablevision management has thrown everything at
- Illegally firing 22
workers earlier this year – they got their jobs back as a
result of tremendous support from the community and elected
- Paying techs in
Brooklyn about 20 percent less than workers doing the same
jobs in the Bronx and other locations to stop any more
workers from choosing a union – this and other unfair labor
practices are the focus of an NLRB hearing set to begin
later this month.
- Refusing to fairly
bargain with workers as the law requires.
In a Huffington Post piece, CWA President Larry Cohen
pointed out that "for months, it was in doubt whether we would
have labor law on Labor Day. Cablevision led the attacks on
the National Labor Relations Board with full-page ads
depicting board members, who are appointed by the president
and confirmed by the Senate, as puppets of unions. But a
bipartisan Senate voted to confirm all five board members and
now Cablevision management will be held accountable once more
for their actions."
He asked, "But as we celebrate Labor Day, the real question
for Americans is what does fairness at work look like? Terror
and recrimination from management like Cablevision's or, as
the music demands, a fair deal for employees?"
Read the rest of Cohen's post here.
Last Labor Day, the Cablevision workers released their
first rap, "We Are the Union."
Check it out here.
And read more about their fight for economic and social
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An amazing National Day of Action energized thousands of
DT and T-Mobile workers across Germany. They're telling
management to stop the intimidation of T-Mobile US workers.
In Dusseldorf, ver.di activists put up a huge "Josh" sign
and ran out of leaflets and buttons because of the great
In a tremendous display of solidarity, Deutsche Telekom
workers, members of ver.di, Germany's biggest union, held a
nationwide Day of Action today at 20 T-Mobile locations. The
German workers are shocked by the unjust terminations and
management's treatment of workers at T-Mobile US and are
supporting their U.S. colleagues who want union
Actions took place in Berlin, at corporate headquarters and
the office port in Bonn, in Brüehl, Dortmund, Duesseldorf,
Dresden, Kempten (and Schweinfurth), Leipzig, Ludwigshafen,
Schwerin, Heilbronn, Koblenz, Mainz, Mannheim, Munich,
Saarbruecken, Stuttgart, Trier and other locations. The scale
of this action is unprecedented; 10,000 or more workers
participated, distributing leaflets, wearing buttons, taking
photos and most important, promising to join in even more
"Unions and employees in the United States must be treated
with respect, dignity and fairness. Arbitrariness, threats and
dismissals are 'management tools' from the early years of
capitalism and unworthy of a modern German company with
operations in more than 50 countries around the world," said
Lothar Schröder, member of the Executive Board of the United
Services Union (Ver.di). "I urge the (DT) Executive Board:
Allow US workers to have a voice in the workplace through
"We are all Josh" was the message in Brühl (above) and
Dortmund (below) as ver.di activists spread the word about
T-Mobile US's intimidation of workers.
German workers are protesting the escalating attacks
against T-Mobile US employees who actively support CWA
representation, as well as the anti-union attitude from upper
management of the company, a subsidiary of DT. Workers who
want union representation face sanctions up to and including
dismissal, ver.di pointed out.
One victim of this practice was Josh Coleman, a customer
service rep and union activist who was fired despite having
won several awards and praise for his outstanding job
performance. German workers have taken Josh's case on as their
own, wearing t-shirts that say "We Are All Josh" and hanging
"Josh" signs in call center locations. ver.di members say that
Josh has to be reinstated, otherwise the protests will be
extended and expanded. ver.di also reported that "In the
factories there were many good discussions with our
colleagues. These discussions were marked by horror at the
behavior of T-Mobile US management and of great solidarity
with their colleagues in the United States."
The action is part of the international campaign "We Expect
Better," anchored by several international union
Last week, T-Mobile US CEO John Legere was visiting
Witchita, Kan. On his way out, he stopped where Coleman was
hand billing. Coleman introduced himself and said he is a
former employee and asked Legere to reinstate him and Legere
repeated "I appreciate what you're doing" and drove off.
Here's the flyer that activists handed out:
Take a look at all the Day of Action pictures here.
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Outside the MetroPCS store in Harlem are CWA organizer
Zelig Stern, New York State Senator Bill Perkins, and DT
Works Councilors and ver.di activists Conny Parisi-Bohmholt
and Steffi Frank.
Below: New York State Senator Bill Perkins talks with NYC
police who were called by T-Mobile management after refusing
to hear the senator's request that the company recognize the
workers' union and bargain in good faith.
An exciting partnership between ver.di members at Deutsche
Telekom in Germany and their U.S. colleagues who want a CWA
voice at T-Mobile US is getting stronger everyday.
In addition to the huge National Day of Action today held
in 20 German cities, ver.di activists are meeting regularly
with T-Mobile call center and retail workers and Metro PCS
retail workers here in the U.S. to help workers build their
Earlier this month, Philipp Gammler and Dirk Esser, two DT
Works Councilors and members of ver.di, traveled to Dallas and
Houston to spend a week with retail sales workers from
MetroPCS, now part of T-Mobile US, and CWA members from AT&T
Mobility who are helping T-Mobile workers get the union they
In Germany, Works Councilors are elected worker
representatives at specific companies. The Works Council is
established and protected by law, and is charged with
protecting the interests of workers. The company must inform
the works council about everything regarding the workforce,
including hiring, firings, transfers, corporate restructuring,
any changes in work organization, and more.
This week, Cornelia Parisi-Bohmholt and Stefanie Frank,
also longtime Works Councilors at DT and ver.di members, are
meeting with MetroPCS workers and AT&T Mobility CWA members in
New York and the Washington, DC, metro area.
They've visited several stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn
and later met with MetroPCS workers who talked about their
issues at work, why they want a union and management's
Parisi-Bohmholt said it was crucial for the German
activists to meet with U.S. workers because whenever she has
an argument with management in Germany about the struggle at
T-Mobile US, she can quickly counter anyone who says, "ver.di
and CWA are just lying" by asking, "Have you been there? Have
you ever met a T-Mobile worker?"
"Then I say, "I have been there. I talked to these workers
and I can tell you, they are not lying!" she said.
With New York State Senator Bill Perkins, the German and
U.S. activists went to the MetroPCS store in Harlem. Perkins
represents the district in which the store is located, and
supports the workers desire for respect and fair treatment.
But when Perkins tried to convey a message to management that
the company should bargain in good faith with the workers,
management instead called the police.
"None of my actions was threatening, illegal or unethical,"
Perkins said. Yet T-Mobile management in Germany "is
attempting to portray me as an aggressor against them. I will
closely monitor this situation going forward and continue to
support MetroPCS workers' fight for respect and fairness at
work," he added.
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AT&T Mobility employees in the North Dakota Retail Sales
Group (formerly Alltel) are the newest members of CWA Local
7500. There are 58 retail sales workers in this unit. CWA
Local 7500 President Lisa Hicks did an outstanding job
organizing this group.
PPMWS Organizing Cooperative
The PPMWS Organizing Cooperative and the New York
Typographical Union #6 have successfully organized 14 new
members in the greater Boston area through both internal and
external organizing. All new members work in a variety of
pre-press and production roles within Collins Images, Schell
Printing, Thurman Printing, Leary Business Solutions, Sterling
Printing, Yankee Offset and Park Press.
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Unions representing 70,000 workers at US Airways and
American Airlines called on the U.S. District Court and the
U.S. Department of Justice to move quickly to trial so that
the merger decision could be made without delay.
The unions are CWA, AFA-CWA, the Transport Workers Union,
the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the Allied
Pilots Association (APA), and the U.S. Airline Pilots
Association (USAPA), representing Flight Attendants, passenger
service employees, mechanics, technicians, aircraft
dispatchers, pilots and others.
The Department of Justice is seeking to block the merger,
as are the attorneys general of six states. CWA leaders Veda
Shook, president of AFA-CWA, and Ed Mooney, CWA District 2-13
vice president, met with the Attorney General of Pennsylvania,
pointing out that the merger would result in good jobs for
9,100 Pennsylvanians and that Pennsylvania consumers would
benefit from enhanced air service. The DOJ lawsuit maintains
that US Airways and American have too much overlap in their
route networks, but the airlines note that only 12 of their
nonstop routes are similar.
The letter from the unions to the DOJ said:
We urge the U.S. District Court
and the Department of Justice to begin the trial on November
12, 2013 in order to get to a speedy resolution to this
exciting merger. Our message to consumers everywhere is
simple: "Let us compete for your business" starting as soon as
possible. Our members want a fair shot at competing in the
marketplace. The airlines we work for, US Airways and American
Airlines, can together succeed in a way that neither airline
can alone, bringing new competition to the domestic and
international airlines that serve Americans. The improved
network and higher quality product will attract new customers,
allowing the airlines to compete with the megacarriers in a
way neither airline can do alone, creating greater job
security for our members as a result.
Delaying a trial puts our
families and our customers at further risk. For American and
its employees, the uncertainty of the last two years in
bankruptcy has already exacted a heavy toll. Employees at US
Airways have had similar hardships with two bankruptcies since
9-11. In order to make new American competitive, that
uncertainly should be ended as soon as possible.
The livelihoods of hard-working
aviation professionals at American and US Airways hang in the
balance. Jobs are at stake if this merger does not go through.
For our members, job security that comes with truly
competitive airlines is on hold as we wait for trial. Our
members have borne the brunt of the severe turbulence in the
aviation industry. Justice delayed is justice denied for our
members. This merger makes sense for competition, customers,
and the members we represent who want nothing more than to
compete aggressively on a level playing field to serve those
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CWA members attend the latest Fairness At Patriot rally
in St. Louis on Tuesday. Police arrested UMWA President
Cecil Roberts for the ninth time.
Florida U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who chairs
the Democratic National Committee, meets with CWA District 3
Staff Representative Bill Eberhardt and members of CWA
Locals 3104 and 3112.
Striking fast-food workers and community members rally at
a McDonalds in St. Louis. Today fast-food workers across the
country mounted one-day walkouts. The United Media Guild
recently organized 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.
CWA activists cheer on striking fast-food workers in
CWA and UAW members get ready to knock on doors to engage
union voters in Roanoke, Va. This fall, Virginians will be
voting for a new governor.
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Each of the four convening organizations of the Democracy
Initiative worked to mobilize members to attend the 50th
anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
The leaders of the coalition – CWA President Larry Cohen,
Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford, NAACP President
Benjamin Jealous and Sierra Club Executive Director Michael
Brune – released this statement on the eve of the event:
Tomorrow on the National Mall,
civil rights heroes will stand shoulder to shoulder with
labor, environmentalists, champions from the LGBT movement,
good government advocates, and concerned citizens from around
the nation. In the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr. and
all those who fought so hard to make the dream of justice come
closer to reality, we are gathering not just to commemorate an
event that changed the course of history but to amplify its
call to action five decades later.
The fight to ensure our democracy
works for every American is not relegated to the past – it
demands our attention and our action now and in the future.
Corrupting corporate money is flooding our political system
and drowning out the voices of everyday Americans. Congress
has ground to a halt amid unprecedented obstruction in the
U.S. Senate. By gutting the heart of the Voting Rights Act of
1965, the Supreme Court has undermined one of the signature
legislative achievements of the Civil Rights movement and
resulted in dozens of voter suppression bills nationwide. The
assault on the principle of "one person, one vote" is worse
than it has been in generations.
We are gathering together
tomorrow in Washington to send the signal that this is our
fight – and we are mobilizing to win it now.
The Democracy Initiative
community is engaging our members, supporters, and Americans
across the country because we know that at the heart of each
of our core issues is the critical need for a functioning
system that respects political equality. If we want to protect
working families, keep our air and water clean, and pursue
justice for every American, we must protect our democracy.
This cross-movement collaboration
for our democracy would simply not have been possible or
imaginable were it not for the legacy of those who came to
Washington demanding change and pursuing equality and
cooperation 50 years ago. Tomorrow, we will join together so
that we can make the dream they marched for one step closer to
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Today, Organizing for Action has launched a digital day of
action to engage supporters of comprehensive immigration
Here's how you can participate:
1. Print out a sign at
2. Write in your own reason for why you support immigration
3. Share your photo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Here are some of CWA's photos. Let us know when you've
posted your own!
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Secretary of Labor Tom Perez.
Brother and Sisters:
From the U.S. Department of Labor, where I proudly work in
a building named for my great predecessor Frances Perkins, let
me wish all of my friends at the Communications Workers of
America and your families – wherever you are – a safe, happy
and healthy Labor Day. This Labor Day feels special in many
ways: it's the Department of Labor's centennial, and this week
we celebrate the March on Washington 50 years ago – a
transformational moment in our history that was just as much
about labor rights as it was about civil rights. Today, let's
remember that these two movements remain inextricably
intertwined, their interests converging time and time again,
their goals essentially the same.
It's also my first Labor Day as Secretary of Labor, so I
thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you a little bit
about me. I grew up in Buffalo, New York as the youngest of
five children in an immigrant family. Buffalo was and still is
a whole lot more gritty than glamorous. It's a place that
exemplifies the values we all care about, the ones we want to
hand down to our children.
My father was a physician in the local VA hospital. He died
very suddenly when I was 12, and my best friend's father
became like a surrogate dad to me. He was a union man, and I
remember the struggles he and his family went through when he
lost his job. And that was the first time I saw how the labor
movement served as a lifeline and a support network for people
when the going got tough.
The principles that took hold within me then have deepened
throughout my time in public service, including my strong
belief – which you share – that we can only succeed by
reaching out to everyone who wants to work in good faith
toward mutual goals. They are the same principles that stirred
250,000 Americans to converge on the National Mall 50 years
ago to demand justice from their government. They are the
principles members of CWA so bravely and selflessly march to
defend every day in the streets, keeping alive the spirit of
that August day in 1963, when many CWA members joined the
March for Jobs and Freedom. And when you boil those principles
down to their essence, they are all about one thing:
protecting and promoting opportunity for American workers.
This expanded opportunity can only happen when workers have
bargaining rights and a voice at work. Organized labor is one
of the greatest forces for economic security the United States
of America has ever known. Standing together, speaking with
one voice, you built America's middle class.
You know how important the work that lies ahead for us
truly is. CWA members have been in the trenches fighting for
an honest day's pay for an honest day's work, for economic
justice for workers. You are making your voices heard in the
fight against the growing problem of income inequality over
the past few decades, and you know that fair wages will create
benefits that ripple across the whole economy. You stand with
the President in your faith that the well-being of working and
middle class families depends on bargaining rights and real
opportunity: good jobs, ladders to the middle class through
skills training and education, strong safety and health
protections, and the ability to retire with dignity and peace
of mind. You also are powerful advocates for President Obama's
proposal to raise the minimum wage, which will benefit 15
million people who lay awake at night sick with worry about
how they're going to pay the utility bill, what they'll do if
the car breaks down, or whether they can put dinner on the
table the next day.
People like A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and Walter
Reuther – who helped lead the March on Washington – were
leading the fight for workers' rights as well. All of you who
continue to stand up for economic justice carry a part of that
legacy into the everyday struggles that remain. I can promise
that as long as I am Secretary of Labor, the department will
stand with you...it will be a bulwark against those who want
to undermine the rights of workers...those who want to
dismantle the system of collective bargaining that has served
workers and employers so well...those who want to leave
hard-working Americans with no leverage to secure better
wages, benefits and working conditions.
Thank you. I hope you will take this day to recharge, spend
time with your families, enjoy the benefits of your hard work,
and gather your strength for the work ahead. Sincerely,
Thomas E. Perez
U.S. Secretary of Labor