Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

CWA Telephone Town Hall on Oct. 18

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You won't want to miss the CWA national town hall call next Thursday at 7:30 pm EDT. We'll hear the latest developments from our CWA state political coordinators working in key states and races for the 2012 election.

Register here: http://cwa-union.org/cwacall.

Tough Bargaining Continues

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Contract Extended Day-to-Day at CenturyLink, CWAers Keep Up the Heat

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CWA members at CenturyLink are standing strong for a fair contract. Above, Local 7800 members and allies are determined to "fight for what's right." Below, members of Local 7777 at the Zuni Street call center know "it takes all of us."

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The 13,000 CWA represented workers in 13 District 7 states are keeping up their fight for a fair contract at CenturyLink. The contract was set to expire at midnight on October 6, but workers are continuing to stay on the job, with a temporary contract extension.

The CWA bargaining team says there has been little movement on the big issues facing workers. Bringing back jobs that have been sent overseas, contracting out and health care are among the big issues.

CenturyLink is the nation's third largest telecommunications company. It made profits of $2 billion last year and is on track to be even more successful in 2012. CenturyLink workers have made many sacrifices to keep their company going over the years, especially during the Qwest years. Now, the workers who have made the company a success are standing strong to keep good jobs in the U.S. and for a fair contract.

Show your solidarity and support for CWA CenturyLink workers by liking their Facebook page.

The negotiations cover workers in these D7 states: Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico.

AT&T Mobility Members Approve Health Care Agreement

CWAers at AT&T Mobility have ratified a four-year agreement covering health care benefits. The agreement covers about 42,000 AT&T Mobility members. Highlights include lower premiums and a Health Care Reimbursement Account for the first time of $500 in 2013 and 2014.

New York Times Staff Walks Out In Protest

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About 400 members of The Newspaper Guild of New York, CWA, walk out over management demands to slash their contract.

A day after a walkout by some 400 New York Times staff in NY and the DC bureau, members of TNG-CWA 31003, New York Times management agreed to a TNG-CWA proposal for mediation rather than going forward with a threatened "final offer" and possible impasse.

In New York, union members left their desks and walked out of the newsroom on Oct. 8 for a 15-minute protest. In Washington, 23 guild members staged their own similar walk out. Protesters wore white stickers that said "Believe Us."

"At every bargaining session for the last year and a half, negotiators for The Times have offered us the same poisoned chalice: perpetually shrinking compensation," said a guild memo to members Monday morning. "Today we begin a series of actions to make sure that the company hears and understands our position. We have more than earned fair wages and benefits. We will accept nothing less. That message has not yet gotten through, despite huge concessions by our representatives. It is time to raise our voices."

Management has proposed outrageous cuts to wages and benefits. Proposals have called for at least a $15,000 annual cut, in real dollars, to each staffer's compensation package.

More than 600 TNG-CWA members have signed an open letter to publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., executive editor Jill Abramson and incoming CEO Mark Thompson, imploring them not to let the newspaper be "steered any closer to this abyss" where staffers are "regularly being hired away because they can no longer afford to work here."

CWA Frontier Members Ratify New Contracts

Members of CWA Locals 2276 and 2001 ratified new agreements with Frontier Communications. These separate contracts cover about 140 workers; another contract covering about 1,600 CWA members at Frontier expires August 2013.

The contracts provide for wage increases of 9.5 percent over the four-year contract term.

Maryland Public Safety Unions Win Back Binding Arbitration

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A Maryland county's nine public safety unions have won back their right to binding arbitration.

In a 6-1 ruling, the Court of Appeals tossed out an Anne Arundel County law adopted last year that gutted public safety workers' right to have a neutral party settle disputes between the county and union.

In a 2002 voter referendum, 80 percent of the county's residents granted their police officers, detention officers and fire fighters an arbitrator to resolve collective bargaining disagreements. But early last year, County Executive John R. Leopold effectively undid that law, passing legislation that allowed the County Council to ignore the arbitrator's decision.

The unions sued, lost in Circuit Court and appealed to the state's highest court.

"Curiously or not Leopold's bill coincided with Republican efforts to quash public-sector employee unions across the country," FODCOP-CWA Local 2911 President Dale Waldroff reported. "On Friday, the Court of Appeals called the County law undercutting binding arbitration a foul ball. The decision was a home run for our detention, police and firefighters, for whom possible arbitration is the only recourse, since they are barred from strikes and work stoppages. The County Executive has begrudgingly complied."

Virginia Political Activists Leaflet Verizon Call Centers

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CWA D 2-13 VP Ed Mooney joins activists from Local 2201 in leafleting at a Verizon worksite.

CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney joined activists in leafleting the 600 CWAers who work at two Verizon customer service centers outside Richmond, Va., on Oct. 10.

"People were very receptive, and we handed out hundreds of flyers, plus bumper stickers and pins," said CWA Local 2201 Secretary-Treasurer Robbie Johnson.

Johnson and State Legislative-Political Action Team Coordinator Kerri Ross said worksite leafleting was in full swing every week until Election Day.

Mooney said, "In Virginia, as in many other states, it all comes down to turnout. CWA members know there's a big difference between President Obama and Governor Romney when it comes to workers' rights and keeping good jobs here in the U.S. Between now and Election Day, we're taking that message to workplaces throughout District 2-13, and we won't stop until we get our members out to vote."

CWA Rallies At Supreme Court For Affirmative Action

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CWA Staff Representative Judy Graves speaks at the rally.

Below: Hundreds of people gathered on the Supreme Court's steps in support of the University of Texas.

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As hundreds of civil rights leaders and students gathered on the Supreme Court steps, CWA Staff Representative Judy Graves spoke out in support of the University of Texas's race-conscious admissions process.

"I believe we just don't learn as much or as well when we are surrounded by people like ourselves," said Graves, standing with her husband Orell Fitzsimmons, both of whom are University of Texas parents. "Diversity doesn't just happen. The Supreme Court needs to reaffirm the University of Texas' right to foster diversity."

The National Action Network and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights hosted the rally during oral arguments in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, which will decide the future of affirmative action in college admissions. Abigail Fisher, who is white, was denied admission to the university in 2008. She then sued, claiming she had been discriminated against on the basis of her race.

Graves and Fitzsimmons's daughter attended the University of Texas, which automatically admits the top 10 percent of students from all Texas high schools.

"Like Ms. Fisher, she was not automatically accepted under the state's top 10 percent rule, but she persevered, was offered admission, and proudly accepted," Graves said. "She graduated with honors four years later and quickly found a job. Living and learning with people from different backgrounds has helped her succeed in her field of journalism."

CWA Local Officer Meets with President Obama

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CWA Local 9421 EVP Robert Longer, left, and other community activists met with President Obama.

 

CWA Local 9421 Executive Vice President Robert Longer, who is CWA's Legislative-Political Action Team Coordinator for Northern California, met President Barack Obama along with other community activists. Obama was in San Francisco to dedicate a monument to Cesar Chavez, who organized farm workers in the United Farmworkers Union, a tremendous force for winning basic human and workers' rights.

CWA Targets GOP House Candidates On Outsourcing

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National Journal's Influence Alley got the first look at CWA's latest ads:

The Communications Workers of America are up today with ads targeting two Republican House candidates for not supporting union-backed legislation to penalize companies that off-shore call center jobs.

Republican Rep. Dan Lungren of California and Vernon Parker, an Arizona House candidate, are getting hit in the ads for supporting tax breaks for companies that offshore while a spot for Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop of New York highlights his efforts to keep call center jobs in the U.S.

The 14-day cable ad buy is part of a larger election year campaign to ensure voters are aware of bills that would protect American consumers and punish corporations that send good call center jobs overseas.

Take a look.

CWA Votes

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Elections are about choices. In 2012, the choice is clear for American workers. Do we want more tax breaks for the wealthy? Do we want to gut the Medicare and Social Security safety net for millions of Americans? Or do we want an economic recovery in which we participate? Check out http://www.cwavotes.org for facts about the presidential candidates and candidates in other key races.

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