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On MSNBC's The Ed Show, CWA President Larry Cohen
spotlighted how service sector jobs, as well as manufacturing
jobs, will be sent overseas if the Trans-Pacific Partnership
"How do we expect to revive an economy if we send those
kinds of jobs out of this country? No other nation does it.
Only this country is doing it. That's not growth," he said.
Watch the full interview here.
Congress is currently considering "fast track" authority,
which means that the trade deal can't be changed by lawmakers;
only a "yes or no" vote on the entire package would be
permitted. Authorization for fast track expired in 2007, and
must be renewed by Congress.
So far, 146 Democrats have signed on to a letter authored
by Reps. Rosa DeLauro and George Miller to be sent to
President Obama expressing concerns about the secretive TPP
negotiations and stressing that they will oppose fast track
authorization if Congress has no role in the negotiation and
approval process. "The United States cannot afford another
trade agreement that replicates the mistakes of the past. We
can and must do better," they wrote.
The signers added that "we are deeply committed to
transforming U.S. trade policy into a tool for creating and
retaining family-wage jobs in America, safeguarding the
environment, maintaining consumer protection and improving the
quality of life throughout the country."
http://www.cwa-union.org/no-tpp for more information and
to take action. Call your lawmakers. Tell them to oppose fast
track authority for the TPP.
Dial 1-888-966-9836 for the House of Representatives.
Dial 1-877-795-7862 for the Senate.
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The U.S. Senate confirmed several key nominations this
week, including Richard Griffin as NLRB general counsel and
Tom Wheeler as chairman of the Federal Communications
But the nominations of Rep. Mel Watt to head the Federal
Housing Finance Administration and Patricia Millet to fill one
of three vacancies to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C.
Circuit were blocked. Both failed to get the 60-vote
supermajority needed to proceed to an up or down vote.
That prompted CWA and coalition partners to call on Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid to use the procedural motion that's
been used 17 times since 1978 to move these nominees to a
vote. Leader Reid must take any action necessary to move these
nominations forward. The Senate can vote for or against a
nomination, but the president's nominees all deserve a vote.
CWA activists are contacting their Senators, calling for an
end to Senate obstruction and an up-or-down vote on executive
and judicial nominees. Call 1-866-937-4359 and follow the
prompts. Tell your Senators that we need a fully functioning
democracy, not obstruction.
Just as earlier this year, when the minority party senators
tried to block confirmation of the head of the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau because they didn't want that
agency to function, the minority is now obstructing Watt's
nomination because they don't like the mission of the FHFA.
Watt is a highly qualified member of Congress from North
Similarly, on the floor, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)
said the work load of the court isn't sufficient to warrant
filling the three vacancies on the D.C. Circuit Court. Yet,
the D.C. Circuit Court is the second most important court in
the nation, following the U.S. Supreme Court.
Last summer, CWA and a coalition of groups pushed for
Senate confirmation of all five NLRB members, as well as for
Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau, Gina McCarthy at Environmental Protection Agency and
other key executive nominations.
Then, Leader Reid was ready to invoke the procedural motion
necessary to get these nominations to a vote. A group of
Republican senators agreed to stop their obstructionist
tactics and move the nominations forward.
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For the second year in a row, CWA President Larry Cohen has
been named to The Hill's annual list of top lobbyists.
The political newspaper wrote, "A vocal advocate for Senate
rules reform, Cohen had something to celebrate when a full
slate of nominees was confirmed to the National Labor
The Hill uses the term "lobbyist" broadly to describe all
people who are working to influence federal policy, even if
they may not be necessarily registered to lobby. "They all
have one thing in common: a proven ability to make things
happen in Washington," the paper said.
Check out the full list here.
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CWA Local 3179 President Stephen Sarnoff has filed to run
for Florida's District 67 state representative seat in 2014.
"I want to run because I simply want to change the balance
of power in Tallahassee,"
he told The Tampa Bay Times. "Whether it's not
expanding Medicaid to 1.2 million Floridians, or it's the
parent trigger bill to privatize the education system...you
name it, I'm tired of it. I want to make sure there's one more
Democrat up there so the Republicans do not have a super
majority to continue steamrolling the people of Florida."
CWA will be showing our support for New York City mayoral
candidate Bill de Blasio on Nov. 1. Wear red to the Labor GOTV
rally at 5 p.m. at Brooklyn Borough Hall.
CWA #1 in New Jersey
This election year, CWA has had the most volunteers of
any union in New Jersey. Here CWA Local 1082 members phone
bank for the Democrats running to represent the 18th
District in the New Jersey Legislature: Peter Barnes,
Patrick Diegnan and Nancy Pinkin.
More than 60 CWA Local 1036 members turned out for voter
outreach. Activists have partnered with New Jersey Workers'
Voices to educate voters about pro-labor candidates and the
opportunity to raise the minimum wage by voting "Yes" on
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It was one of the proudest moments in CWA Canada's history:
A media union victoriously stood up for hundreds of
non-members who cherish their independence but were being
victimized because of it.
Last November, Amber Nasrulla was pitching a story to an
editor at Transcontinental (TC Media), publisher of more than
30 magazines. It was something she had done many times over
the previous 10 years. But that relationship came to a
screeching halt when she was informed she would have to sign a
She was aghast at what she read and sought counsel from
another professional. She was referred to Derek Finkle,
founder of the Canadian Writers Group (CWG), for his
assessment of the document, which demanded full copyright and
waiver of moral rights with no additional compensation. It was
non-negotiable. Finkle proclaimed it draconian and advised her
not to sign it.
She didn't. Instead, she went public about it – anonymously
at first – after Finkle put her in touch with an editor of
TheStoryboard.ca, a website for independent content creators
that grew out of a unique alliance forged in 2010 between
Finkle's agency and the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), which has
long had a Freelance Branch that bargains a collective
agreement for contractors who perform work for the CBC.
The alliance was funded by the CMG's parent union, CWA
Canada, which had resolved to extend the benefits of
membership to all freelancers and student journalists who were
contending with the growing scourge of unpaid internships.
The CMG has led the way in advocating for independent
content creators on issues such as copyright, rates, digital
and re-use rights. This was the perfect opportunity to
demonstrate to thousands of the country's freelancers that,
while they could not avail themselves of collective
bargaining, they could use the power of the collective to get
a fair contract.
In March, CMG set up a Facebook page (Back Off,
Elle and Canadian Living publisher) where
freelancers could share information and connect with one
another. Word began to spread among writers, photographers and
illustrators that a media union was preparing to do battle on
CMG sent a letter to Ted Markle, president of TC Media,
seeking a meeting to discuss the new freelancer contract. He
declined the invitation. But it was Markle's letter to the CMG
that convinced Nasrulla to reveal her identity as the
whistleblower. Nasrulla wrote that she had come to believe
that "it's crucial to stand up, speak the truth, and be
To help the freelancers do just that, the Guild and
Finkle's CWG formed a coalition with the Quebec Association of
Independent Journalists, the Professional Writers Association
of Canada, The Writers' Union of Canada, the Canadian
Association of Professional Image Creators and the Canadian
Freelance Union to put pressure on the publisher to withdraw
or revise the contract.
Letters were written to TC Media and a federal minister
about the fact that the company receives some $8 million a
year from Heritage Canada's Periodical Fund, yet puts the
squeeze on freelancers who could barely earn a living even
before the contentious contract was introduced.
By mid-April, there was an indication that TC Media was
succumbing to the pressure. Freelancers in Quebec were being
told they would not be required to sign the new contract. The
CMG learned that a new draft of the agreement was being
Soon word came that TC Media was circulating a new contract
to freelancers in Quebec. According to a report in Le Devoir,
the French agreement allows contributors in Quebec to retain
both their copyright and their moral rights.
The CMG said it was cautiously optimistic, but would
reserve judgment until the English version of the contract was
available for scrutiny. "Having the weight of a union behind
us is terrific," declared Nasrulla, who was about to become
CWA Canada's newest member.
Read the full story at CWA Canada.
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CWA members at CenturyLink (LegacyQwest) in District 7
ratified a new contract by a 60 percent yes vote. For more
information, go to
Kaplan students come to the bargaining table.
Kaplan students recently visited negotiations to tell
Kaplan it's time for a fair contract. Daniela, a current
student, told Kaplan corporate, "If we want to learn English
by the book, we can just buy the book and stay home. If we
don't have a good teacher, we wouldn't have a good education.
In Venezuela, we have benefits for part-time workers. Why you
cannot have this for your most important people?"
Kaplan's English-as-a-second-language teachers in New York
voted last year to join TNG-CWA Local 31003. They are in tough
bargaining for a first contract.
Help support Kaplan teachers in their fight for a fair
contract by signing their petition:
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Keeping GE in West Burlington Honest
At a community forum in West Burlington, Iowa, coalition
members including activists from CWA, CCI Iowa Action Fund
and other groups call on GE to keep its promises on jobs.
At a community forum in West Burlington, Iowa, 60 people,
including union and community activists, elected officials,
and others talked about ways to keep GE accountable and to
remind the company: Keep your promise to the community. Invest
in West Burlington. Don't take our money and run!"
In 2010, GE threatened to shut the plant if workers didn't
come up with $8 million in concessions, some being forced to
take pay cuts of 30 percent. In addition, GE got $2.4 million
in tax incentives in return for agreeing to keep the plant
open for at least five years.
The West Burlington community is organizing to make sure GE
is held accountable and keeps the plant going.
Union and community partners include Iowa Citizens for
Community Improvement Action Fund, CWA and IUE-CWA, Iowa
Federation of Labor, Iowa Policy Project, Center for Worker
Justice of Eastern Iowa, Des Moines/Henry County Labor
Council, and Iowa Citizen Action Network.
CWA and ver.di leaders met in Berlin to talk about the
next steps in the campaign to support T-Mobile US workers in
their fight for organizing and bargaining rights.
Below: ver.di members in Germany have held many actions
to support their T-Mobile US colleagues.
T-Mobile US Action
United Students Against Sweatshops activists and students
at Wichita State University, Kan., are calling on the
university to make their campus "sweatshop free" by cutting
all ties with T-Mobile US and affiliating with the Workers
Students delivered a letter to University President John
USAS activists at the College of Charleston also are
pushing college administration to support workers' rights and
stand up for T-Mobile US workers.
CWA President Larry Cohen and senior staff met with leaders
of ver.di this week on the campaign. Next week T-Mobile
workers and ver.di activists from Berlin will meet in
Charleston, S.C., with T-Mobile US workers as part of their
Child Care Providers Demand Fair Wages
Outside DHS, 100 child care providers and their allies
rallied for a fair contract.
Below: Kids joined workers at the protest.
One hundred child care providers, represented by CWA Local
1037, rallied outside the New Jersey Department of Human
Services to demand a fair contract and wages on Tuesday.
Workers have spent more than a year negotiating their
second contract with DHS with little success. So they decided
to launch the Better Beginnings campaign – building a
coalition of working parents, union members, faith-based
groups and community supporters – to help advance their cause
and the health, well-being and promising future for New Jersey
Watch a video of the demonstration here.
The protesters delivered a petition, demanding a fair
contract for the more than 2,000 home child-care providers, to
Commissioner Jennifer Velez. Her office refused to accept the
But a number of small businesses – up and down South Warren
Street in Trenton, right next to DHS – put signs in their
windows supporting Better Beginnings.
These workers are independent contractors, paid through
DHS. As independent contractors, they're prevented from
accessing workers' compensation, unemployment, social security
retirement or even basic health care coverage. And according
to a report by the Rutgers Center for Women and Work, more
than half of the home-based child care providers surveyed
lived in households earning less than $25,000 a year – despite
providing on average nearly 39 hours a week of care.
Don't mistake them for babysitters. Rutgers found that this
is a highly experienced and well-trained group, with an
average of 12.5 years providing child care. A vast majority of
providers reported at least one training, such as learning to
care for children with special needs, in the past year. Some
of have degrees in education and early childhood development.
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The Federal Communications Commission now is writing the
rules for an auction of unused broadcast spectrum, and CWA
says the rules must be fair.
The Commission's goals of raising sufficient funds for a
public safety network and to make sure that the spectrum is
used efficiently for the public can only be achieved through
"an open and competitive auction in which every carrier can
participate equally," CWA wrote in a letter to FCC Chairwoman
T-Mobile and Sprint already are looking for special
treatment and want the FCC to establish different rules for
"The FCC should not favor one competitor over another," CWA
said, citing T-Mobile's recent combination with MetroPCS, the
spectrum it acquired from AT&T and Verizon Wireless, and the
$3 billion cash penalty fee it received from AT&T as evidence
of its strength in the market. Sprint received billions of new
funds as part of the Softbank deal and, in combination with
its affiliate Clearwire, controls more spectrum than any
competitor, CWA noted, adding, "these companies are strong
Read the full letter here.
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CWA members are helping patients navigate the process of
signing up for health insurance for the very first time.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, communities across the
country have received $67 million in federal grant money to
train, support and certify health care advisors – or
navigators – to help people figure out the new health
At Kaleida Health in Buffalo, N.Y., Susan Grupp, a member
of CWA Local 1168, has been helping people understand the
insurance offerings on the New York Health Benefit Exchange,
select the best options for their families and determine what
level of financial assistance is available to them.
"The very first person we signed up was in tears when she
was done, she was so excited. She was among the working poor
who are ineligible for Medicaid," said Grupp, who has worked
at Kaleida for 34 years. "And all three of us were also teary
eyed because she was so excited to have health insurance. Now
she can go get a mammogram, go to the doctor and do all the
things so many of us take for granted."
The exchanges opened earlier this month. And navigators
have been busy since day one.
"Our phones have been ringing off the hook and we're
running out of spots for appointments," said Grupp.