Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

Flight Attendants Endorse Obama

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Members of the Flight Attendants Union Coalition (FAUC), representing 100,000 Flight Attendants at carriers nationwide, today announced their collective endorsement of the re-election of President Barack Obama.

Below: Laura Glading, President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (l.) and AFA-CWA International President Veda Shook.





The Flight Attendants Union Coalition, representing 100,000 Flight Attendants at carriers across the country, today announced their endorsement of President Barack Obama.

The coalition AFA-CWA, TWU, APFA, Teamsters and IAMAW is calling on its members to set their flying schedules to maximize their time volunteering for the Obama-Biden ticket.

"Over the next five weeks we are asking Flight Attendants to volunteer with their union local or their local Obama-Biden campaign office and help in any way they can," said Association of Flight Attendants-CWA International President Veda Shook. "Flight Attendants understand they are not only electing a president, they are also 'electing' those who administer the policies and programs of the federal government, men and women who are key to the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of aviation professionals."

Under the Obama Administration, Flight Attendants for the first time gained coverage under the Family and Medical Leave Act, became eligible for "Known Crew Member" status at airport security checks and will soon be covered by OSHA guidelines that make aircraft cabins a safer environment for passengers and crew. The coalition also praised Obama's agency appointments and the administration's implementation of the NextGen air traffic control system.

Members live in large numbers in key swing states, such as Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Ohio.

CWA Mourns Kevin Mashburn

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CWA Local 6360 member Kevin Mashburn, an AT&T tech in Gladstone, Mo., was assaulted and killed while working on the job.




Kevin Mashburn, a longtime AT&T technician and union brother of 41 years, was fatally beaten while on the job.

A Kansas City ex-convict clubbed Kevin with a crowbar when he would not give up his wallet last week, according to the Kansas City Star.  Police have charged the assaulter with first-degree murder, attempted robbery and armed criminal action.

Kevin, 58, was performing non-critical maintenance spare work on a telecommunications cross box in Gladstone, Missouri. Although Kevin suffered severe head injuries, he managed to pull himself into the company vehicle and send a message to dispatch. He attempted to drive away to safety, but, overcome by his injuries, crashed the vehicle into a nearby ditch. Shortly thereafter, he was found by police unconscious in the vehicle. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died.

Kevin is survived by his wife, Barbara, four children and a 10-month-old granddaughter. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and those who worked with him.

CWA Local 6360 has set up a fund in Kevin's honor benefitting his family. Donations can be sent to CWA Local 6360 c/o Kevin Mashburn Memorial Fund at 6415 Universal Ave., Kansas City, MO, 64120.

Sen. Sherrod Brown Pushes Call Center Bill

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Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown joined CWA Locals 4310 and 4501 to promote his legislation to keep good call center jobs in the United States.

"Most Ohioans that have had to call a major company for a service repair or to get an answer about their cable bill have ended up speaking with a worker in a different time zone, on a different continent," Brown said. "When companies send call center jobs overseas, they don't just frustrate consumers they hurt our economy as well. With thousands of Ohioans looking for work, it just doesn't make sense to ship these jobs overseas."

Brown is co-sponsoring a bill, the Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act of 2012, which would make businesses that ship call center jobs overseas ineligible for federal grants or loans. It would require companies to disclose when their calls are being transferred abroad and give consumers the right to talk to a U.S.-based operator, and it would direct the Labor Department to make a public list of companies that outsource. Tell your senators to support the bill by signing this petition.

According to a CWA analysis, 198,450 Ohioans were employed in call center occupations in 2011, and the state experienced a loss of 2,330 call center jobs between 2008 and 2011.

The Business Courier recently reported that Cincinnati-based Convergys Corp. cut costs in recent years by downsizing its North American operations and expanding into low-wage countries like India. In June, 40 percent of Convergys' contact center employees were located in the Philippines.

Tim Kaine Supports Workers

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Former Virginia governor and Senate candidate Tim Kaine joined workers at a Southwest Labor Council precinct walk last weekend.

Kaine met and talked with members of CWA Local 2204 and IUE-CWA Local 82162. He spoke to all the volunteers about his plan to create good jobs in Virginia and support working families.

Kaine has always been a friend of labor, said Naomi Bolden, Roanoke area vice president of CWA Local 2204.

"I love him," she said. "When he was governor, he was one of the best governors we've ever had."

Romney's Disdain for Workers

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Mitt Romney must be getting desperate.

The GOP presidential contender can't even seem to muster supporters to appear in his campaign ads. His latest ad attacking President Obama for allegedly being an enemy of the coal industry features coal miners whose boss made their attendance at a Romney rally mandatory and unpaid.

"I think he's got himself in a spot where he'll use anybody," said CWA President Larry Cohen on The Ed Show. "Whether he makes comments about, 'I wish I was Latino,' or whether he pretends to be supporting working people when, in fact, those workers...weren't paid, when he uses actors instead of workers, themselves."

Romney's attitude toward workers is dangerous, President Cohen said. In yet another leaked video, Romney regales wealthy donors with a story about a trip to China where Bain executives witnessed crowded factory working conditions and young women laboring long hours for a "pittance." As host Ed Schultz pointed out, "Mitt Romney is making the case that we can get more out of our workers here in America. He thinks workers are just lucky to be born here."

"It's not just right to work. They don't want any recognition. They don't want any collective bargaining," President Cohen agreed. "They believe that that's just a nuisance...They think that working people should just be another commodity, be glad to come in the door, smile like the workers he described in the Chinese factory, even though we know this was a record year for strikes in China. Workers in China, in fact, are standing up and fighting back in their own way. We need to fight back in our way with the values that we have and with our sense of community, our sense of strength, our sense of hope and faith and love. And we will do that in the weeks ahead."

'Death by China' Takes on Unfair Trade

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A new film, "Death by China," premiered in communities throughout Ohio and now is showing in New York, Los Angeles and other locations, with screenings sponsored by the AFL-CIO.

Watch the official trailer of the film.

Viewers see how the U.S. government's failure to negotiate fair trade agreements has cost U.S. workers jobs and harmed communities.

"IUE-CWA members have lost jobs because this nation wants to consume cheap goods," said IUE-CWA President Jim Clark. "This movie makes clear that there is no free lunch and ultimately our country will pay dearly if it continues to ignore China's aggressive economic actions."

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and others have sponsored legislation to end China's currency manipulation that keeps the prices of Chinese-made goods artificially low. Brown and others also are strong advocates of fair trade agreements, negotiated to include effective labor, environmental and other standards to support good U.S. jobs and our communities.

Portland TNG-CWAers Add Video Editing to Their Skill Set

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At Maine's Portland Press, 10 reporters, photographers and other workers have taken advantage of video editing courses provided through the CWA/NETT Academy and paid for by TNG-CWA.

The goal is to help members build skills that make them indispensable to their employers, and give them opportunities for promotion. "The companies invest in the technology and we help invest in the people," said Kevin Celata, CWA's training administrator.

Management early on questioned, "What does the union get out of it?" But the company came on board and now can expand its use of online videos in the paper's news coverage.

"Everyone loved it. They all felt confident at the end of the week that they could take video clips that someone shot on a camera or phone and produce a piece out of it, and that's exactly what the company was looking for," said Greg Rec, a photographer and TNG-CWA member who helped coordinate the program.

Want to know more about CWA/NETT? Check out all the programs here.

A Shout Out to Customer Service Professionals

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You won't want to miss this year's Customer Service Professional Conference, being held Oct. 14-17 in St. Louis, Mo. Customer service members from every sector of CWA will be on hand, to develop plans to build power across the industry.

It's not too late to register. Click here for more information and registration materials.

The global labor community marks Call Center Action Month in October, and CWAers will be planning worksite events and actions on critical customer service issues. Actions also will focus on keeping good jobs in the U.S., building political support for call center legislation and addressing stress and other job issues.

Tune In: First Presidential Debate on Oct. 3

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Don't miss it when Barack Obama and Mitt Romney square off at the first presidential debate on Wednesday.

PBS News Hour's Jim Lehrer will moderate the rumble, starting at 9 p.m. ET at the University of Denver. And for the first time in history, the candidates were given the topics ahead of time: Three questions will be on the economy, one on health care, one on the role of government and one on governing.

Will the GOP contender reiterate his disdain for workers? Will President Obama stand up for collective bargaining rights? Tune in to find out.

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