Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter


Share This Article: Facebook Twitter More...


CWA Members Ratify Verizon Contract

CWA members ratified a four-year agreement covering about 35,000 workers from Virginia to New England.


CWA Local 7019 members picket CenturyLink in Phoenix, Arizona.

Below: CWA Local 7800 activists spread the word about CenturyLink bargaining.


Contract highlights include an 8.2 percent compounded wage increase over the next three years, and additional cash payments. Also on ratification, CWA members who were fired by Verizon during the August 2011 strike will return to work.

"This contract ensures that every one of our members will see an improvement in their standard of living. It was a tough fight, and we turned back efforts by the company to gut our contracts. Now, we'll keep up the fight to expand good jobs for Verizon workers," said CWA District 1 Vice President Chris Shelton, who represents members in New York, New Jersey and New England.

CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney, who represents Verizon workers in the mid-Atlantic States, said, "The unity and determination of CWA and the IBEW over 16 months of bargaining, and the support of our allies, made this contract possible. Our goal now is to make certain that CWA members continue to be a key part of this company's future."

The contract had expired in August 2011. A two-week strike, an active member mobilization and support campaign by progressive allies, and final intensive negotiations under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service brought about this settlement. The new contract expires August 2015.

CenturyLink Contract Extended Day to Day as Negotiations Continue

Tough bargaining continues at CenturyLink, where the CWA bargaining team is pushing forward on critical issues of jobs, health care, and other issues. In a message to members, CWA District 7 Vice President Mary Taylor expressed thanks to members for "your continued support and solidarity. 'It Takes All of Us' is not just a slogan; it is a reality. We are all frustrated that we don't have a deal yet, but we will not let our frustration compromise our ability to hang in there and do the work necessary to obtain a fair agreement."

NYT Staffers Consider Byline Strike


New York Times staffers welcome the company's incoming chief executive with signs reading "Save Our Times" in New York and Washington, DC (inset).




Hundreds of New York Times staffers have quietly signed pledges to withhold their bylines, photo credits and producing credits.

"They have also pledged to work strictly to the terms of the contract," the Newspaper Guild of New York mobilization committee wrote in a memo. "We don't know yet if we will have to go down this road, but it is vital that we be prepared."

TNG-CWA has been bargaining with the Times since the contract expired 20 months ago. "In real dollars, they're demanding pay cuts as far as the eye can see. It is high time for them to believe us. We will accept nothing less than fair wages and benefits," the memo said.

On Monday at 3:40 p.m. union members gathered in New York and Washington, DC, holding signs that read, "Without us it's just blank space" and "Save Our Times." They took a group photograph to give to the company's incoming chief executive, Mark Thompson.

And on Wednesday, members delivered a letter to publisher Arthur Sulzberger, saying "the company's negotiating goal of sub-inflation raises would perpetuate an era of shrinking compensation" that would have a "withering effect on morale." They also took to Twitter to get out the message: "Retweet this to show support for @nytimes journalists & staff who are fighting wage and benefit cuts #saveourtimes."

AT&T Boosts Pension Plan

AT&T has taken steps to further strengthen its defined benefit pension fund by contributing a $9.5 billion equity stake. Retirement security is a critical issue for working families, and AT&T's proposed action means a strong future for the fund.

AT&T's announcement comes at a time when many companies have moved in the opposite direction, eliminating or underfunding their pension plans and putting workers' retirement security at risk. The Labor Department will be reviewing AT&T's request.


Elections Are About Choices

Share This Article: Facebook Twitter More...


AFA-CWA President Veda Shook (left) canvasses in Washington State.

Below: Activists remember the civil rights activists killed for registering African Americans to vote.



AFA-CWA International President Veda Shook spent a day with activists from the Washington State Labor Council, meeting with candidates and walking neighborhoods to encourage working Americans to vote.

Ballots for the election went out Oct. 19. Washington State and Oregon conduct their elections by mail.

Following a session at the UA (Plumbers and Pipefitters) hall with labor-backed candidates Rep. Jay Inslee, who's running for Governor; Suzan DelBene, candidate for the 1st congressional district; and State Treasurer Jim McIntire, activists fanned out for labor neighborhood walks to talk one-on-one with their union neighbors.

Before the walk, Shook talked about why the "labor neighbor" program was so successful and how contact with union co-workers will make all the difference in the 2012 election. Shook also thanked Inslee for his strong support for workers' rights and his vote to safeguard bargaining and organizing rights in the Federal Aviation Administration funding bill.


About 50 activists, including members of CWA Local 6215, Jobs with Justice, MoveOn, Texas Organizing Project and Texas Alliance for Retired Americans rallied outside the Dallas County Records Building as early voting in Texas began on Oct. 22. Local President Brett St. Clair and activists handed out leaflets that focused on why "Texas Seniors Have a Big Stake in These Elections," and urged everyone to vote. Early voting runs through Nov. 2.

Many of the activists carried signs remembering civil rights activists who were killed in Mississippi because they were registering African Americans to vote.

The Texas State Employees Union, CWA Local 6186, sent an email blast to all members alerting them about early voting. TSEU reminded members that voting matters, and determines "how we want our State and Nation to be run. This decision has never been more important in our state, after enduring one of the worst sessions in over 50 years. Last session, we witnessed the Governor and the majority party CUT AND GUT some of our most crucial public services. The collateral damage has been felt by us all."




2a_New_Mexico CWA Local 7072 President Estella a Madrid leaflets in Albuquerque.

In New Mexico, CWA public sector members are leafleting public school-food services workers, making sure that CWA members know just what's at stake in the November elections. Estella a Madrid, President of CWA Local 7072, and a crew of activists got creative in leafleting maintenance and operations members at the Lincoln complex in Albuquerque.


Senator Bob Casey met with about 140 CWA members at the D2-13 district conference in Hershey, Pa., this week to talk about his plans to keep good jobs in the United States, his commitment to fair trade, safeguarding Medicare and other big issues in the November election. Casey is in a tight election with Republican Tom Smith.

Casey, along with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, is also a Senate sponsor of the U.S. Call Center Workers and Consumers Protection Act, S. 3402, which would penalize companies that move call center jobs overseas. There are about 200,000 Pennsylvania workers employed by call centers.

"We're concerned that some of the steps companies are taking to outsource jobs, those steps are being taken without consequence. We also have concerns about fraud, concerns about confidentiality being violated" in overseas call centers, he said.

The tax code has to be fixed to eliminate "perverse incentives" for companies to re-locate overseas, Casey said. Under current tax law, companies get a tax break for moving jobs offshore.

California Univision Station Wins Union Election

Share This Article: Facebook Twitter More...



KABE employees celebrate their organizing win.

Workers at a Univision-owned TV station voted last week in favor of NABET-CWA representation.

Two units at KABE in Bakersfield, Calif., voted to join the union. The Engineering/Master Control/Production group voted 11-2, and the Clerical group voted 4-2.

"We are very happy that employees at Univision Bakersfield stood up with courage and conviction and said enough is enough, they are now going to have a voice in the workplace," said NABET-CWA Local 51 President Kevin Wilson.

Starting in August, it's been a tough campaign. Employees faced intimidation and immense pressuring during one-on-one meetings with managers. Univision even brought in a former NABET member, who is now in management, to dissuade employees from voting yes.

"They were really twisting arms," Wilson said. "They told a single mom that she was going to lose her benefits because negotiations would start with a blank page. She was pretty freaked out about that."

But when the woman's coworkers went to the National Labor Relations Board website to show her that it's illegal to threaten employees with the loss of benefits during an election, they found that KABE had blocked access to the website. "I'd never seen a company do that before," Wilson said.

Todd Thorpe, a production employee since 1989 with the station said, "I had heard that Univision didn't like unions and the company certainly proved this to be a difficult process. But we all stuck together and watched each other's backs and kept at it. The Union's leadership told us exactly what to expect from the company and we were well prepared for all of their tactics."

Employees will now be electing their bargaining committee and formulating their proposals in the coming weeks to provide fairness and justice in the workplace.

Red Alert: American Airlines Outsourcing Harms Workers, Operations

Share This Article: Facebook Twitter More...







CWA activists are alerting passengers at 15 airports across the country that American Airlines is replacing experienced, trained employees with minimum wage workers.

American Airlines is crying poor the airline filed for bankruptcy last year but it's sitting on $8 billion in cash as it looks to slash even more jobs, wages and benefits. Yesterday CEO Tom Horton even emailed employees to tell them that the company has "outperformed all of our major domestic competitors in year-over-year revenue growth for six straight months."

CWA activists have been joined by members of TWU, SEIU, AFA-CWA and Jobs with Justice in spreading the word. In just one example, cargo agents are being replaced by workers earning just over minimum wage in most cases and few or no benefits. Also recently, three American Airlines flights had to make emergency landings when rows of seats maintained by an outside vendor that replaced airline employees in Fort Worth and Tulsa came loose in flight.

"After 24 years of loyal service, management is kicking me to the curb. My middle-class wage is just too much for them to pay, so instead a low-wage contractor is replacing me. I am 51 and well on my way to planning for retirement one day. But now, I am going to have to start over," said Freddy Lopez, an American Airlines cargo agent at Miami International Airport.

Vera Daniels, an agent at JFK in New York, said, "For most of my 10 years as an American Airlines Passenger Service Agent, I've been very happy in my work life. I enjoyed assisting our travelers and was passionate about my work duties as a front-line employee...Now, though, there has been a drastic shift in the work environment. Suddenly, we were informed that our jobs were being outsourced to low-cost companies, the new standard of corporate America. Companies like American Airlines that once embraced patriotism and support for our communities now are selling out to the lowest bidder and forget about customer service!"

American Airlines passenger service agents filed for a union representation election more than 10 months ago. CWA has been working with the nearly 10,000 passenger agents to gain a union voice for 15 years.

AMR, the parent corporation of American Airlines, has sought to block workers' democratic right to vote and has thrown up numerous legal and other roadblocks, but this month the three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, ruled unanimously that the lower court erred in stopping the election and said the election should go forward.

CWA's Cohen on The Ed Show

Share This Article: Facebook Twitter More...


CWA President Larry Cohen joined Teamsters President James Hoffa (left) on The Ed Show.

It was all about Ohio when CWA President Larry Cohen and Teamsters President James Hoffa joined the Ed Show on MSNBC last night.

Cohen said workers, whether they're in telecommunications or manufacturing, understand that difference between "going backwards into fairy tale capitalism" and forward with the president.

"We will see Sherrod Brown, Barack Obama win on Election Day by significant margins in Ohio because working Americans won't be fooled, know the difference," he said. "Nobody's going to keep them from voting, and those votes will count. Every vote will count. We need that enthusiasm going into Election Day."

CWA and union activists have an incredible ground game that will make certain President Obama wins the state, despite more dirty tactics by Republicans trying to intimidate voters.

In case you missed it, here's the latest list of outrages:

  • In Pennsylvania, a right-wing controlled newspaper just this week is printing stories telling citizens that they must present a government photo ID, when we know that measure was blocked by the state court.
  • Clear Channel finally is taking down billboards from low income neighborhoods in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, and Milwaukee, Wis., that proclaim "Voter Fraud Is A Felony!" The signs said it was punishable by up to 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • Or how about this: A Republican election board in Ottawa County, Ohio, sent out voting instructions to several precincts with the wrong date for Election Day and the wrong polling place location. Just an honest mistake, we hear.


Save The Date: National COSH Conference

Share This Article: Facebook Twitter More...


CWA is co-sponsoring the National COSH Worker Safety and Health Conference, Dec. 6-7, at the Maritime Institute outside of Baltimore. This two-day conference will bring together safety and health activists from unions, COSH groups, worker centers and others to share information, experiences and strategies on key safety and health issues and struggles.

Speakers include CWA President Larry Cohen and OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Jordan Barab.

Tell your fellow OSH activists to register for the event here.

You have received this message through your subscription to a Communications Workers of America e-mail list.  If you did not subscribe or would like to unsubscribe click here.

Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, CLC. All Rights Reserved.
501 Third Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 Twitter Facebook

No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG -
Version: 2012.0.2221 / Virus Database: 2441/5353 - Release Date: 10/25/12