Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

Minnesota TakeAction Takes on the 1 Percent on Voter Suppression


MN Voter ID Action

More than 400 activists demonstrate at the Minnesota state capitol against a strict voter ID ballot initiative.



More than 400 activists, including CWAers, rallied at the Minnesota state capitol to protest efforts to adopt a strict voter ID law in the state.

The demonstration was organized by TakeAction Minnesota, a coalition of labor, environmental and disability groups, who stress that business and financial organizations are bankrolling Republican legislators as part of an effort to require all voters to show photo ID at the polls.

Activists walked around the legislative chambers wearing hundred-dollar-bill stickers across their mouths, to symbolize how the 1 percent wants to silence the voices of ordinary Americans.

CWA President Larry Cohen addressed TakeAction Minnesota activists during the week of actions that ended at the state capitol.

The Republican-controlled legislature has introduced a state-issued photo ID requirement as a proposed amendment to the state's constitution that would be placed on the ballot in November.

Dan McGrath, executive director of TakeAction Minnesota, said "the proposed photo ID amendment will make it harder if not impossible for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans who are eligible to vote, to cast their ballot.'' The ID requirement, by making it harder for elderly, poor and disabled people to vote, is part of an effort to keep power and wealth concentrated within the 1 percent and make public institutions less accountable to voters.

In another event, more than a dozen religious leaders delivered a letter signed by hundreds of clergy members to legislators, in opposition to the voter ID requirement.

"We believe that democracy at its best engages participation from the most diverse and gifted gathering of God's whole people," the letter reads. "The proposed voter ID referendum in Minnesota seeks to reduce the number of people who participate in our democracy."

Read TakeAction Minnesota's report here.


AT&T Premise Tech Saves Life of 4-Month Old Baby


Andrel Reid with baby

On a house call, AT&T Premise Tech Andrel Reid saved the life of this 4-month old baby girl.



AT&T Premise Technician Andrel Reid has been on the job for just six months, but he will always remember his Feb. 1 visit to the Lansing, Mich., home of customer Christine Duffy. The Local 4034 member was dispatched to fix Duffy's U-verse service, but he ended up saving the life of Duffy's four-month old baby girl.

Minutes after Reid arrived on the job, baby Sara was in serious trouble. "She was coughing. It just started blocking up her system and she just started choking on the congestion. Around her eyes it was getting all red and she started turning different colors," Duffy told local NBC affiliate WILX.

Reid stepped in to help. "I put the baby in a position that I was taught in training, put the baby in my palm, flipped her over and gave her a light thrust to her back. That's when everything came up, and the baby actually started laughing and smiling at me," he told a local TV news reporter.

Reid, who gets CPR-certified as part of his training, was happy he could help, but probably doesn't consider himself to be a hero. "We're in people's homes all day. . . Stuff happens and we're the only ones there," he said. Click here to view the news report.

CWA District 4 Vice President Seth Rosen said "what makes this act of heroism even more amazing is the pressure our prem techs are under to meet arbitrary performance standards. Especially now, as we are about to begin contract negotiations in a few weeks, we hope AT&T realizes the importance of its front line employees."


Campaign to End Corporate Money in Politics Heats Up


Citizens United Protest_US Supreme Court

Condemning corporate money in politics, CWAers and allies call to overturn the Supreme Court's decision that "corporations are people."



There's been lots of action in the effort by CWA and allies to end the destructive expansion of corporate money in politics resulting from the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court "Citizens United" decision.

New Mexico is now the second state, following Hawaii's lead, where lawmakers in the Senate are on record strongly opposing Citizens United and corporate money in politics.

In a memorial statement, the New Mexico Senate pointed out that the Supreme Court's decision "unleashes a torrent of corporate money into the political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in U.S. history" and that the ruling "invalidates state laws and even state constitutional provisions separating corporate money from elections."

Separately, CWA, People for the American Way, and 48 other organizations sent a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, calling for hearings to explore constitutional remedies to overturn the Citizens United decision.

"In Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are guaranteed the same free speech rights as real people to influence elections, thereby ruling that governmental restrictions on corporate spending to influence elections are invalid and unconstitutional. Only amending the Constitution can fully secure the American people's authority to regulate corporate influence in our elections and restore our democracy," they wrote.

Activists held more than 350 events in 49 states marking the two-year anniversary of Citizens United; town hall and public meetings are being planned for next month.


American Airlines/Eagle Workers Protest Unfair Cuts


American Airlines Picket_DFW

This American Airlines passenger service agent was one of hundreds of workers protesting unfair cutbacks at a demonstration at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.



At the Dallas-Fort Worth airport this week, hundreds of American Airlines and American Eagle workers protested the huge pay and benefit cuts that parent AMR Corporation is demanding from front-line employees in its bankruptcy reorganization.

Members of the Transport Workers Union of America and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, were joined by AFA-CWA Flight Attendants from American Eagle and passenger service agents at American Airlines who want CWA representation. The agents have formed the Association of Professional Service Agents and have filed for a union election.

AMR filed for bankruptcy protection with more than $4 billion in the bank.

AFA-CWA International President Veda Shook slammed AMR for using bankruptcy as an excuse to slash workers' pay, benefits, and retirement security. "Airline bankruptcies have become nothing less than a management tool to over-reach with impunity: job cuts, wage cuts, retirements slashed and outsourced maintenance. Executives, reaping the rewards of bonuses rubber-stamped by the bankruptcy court, expect workers to pay for their poor performance. We call it what it is, and we are protesting today to shed a light and demand justice."

Click here to sign a petition organized by TWU to generate support for American jobs at American Airlines and American Eagle.

Offshoring Bill Becomes Big Focus of Rep. Hanna Town Hall


Hanna Town Hall_CWAers

Members of CWA Local 1126 took over a town hall meeting of Rep. Richard Hanna in Utica, N.Y. to press for his support of legislation to stop offshoring of call center jobs.



About 45 members of CWA Local 1126 just about took over the Utica, N.Y., town hall meeting of Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.)

The activists, members of CWA's Legislative-Political Action Team, pressed Hanna on his refusal so far to support the offshoring bill, which would stop federal grants and loan guarantees to companies that move call center jobs overseas.

The bill, H.R. 3596, introduced by Reps. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and Dave McKinley (R-W.Va), also requires that consumers are told of the call center agent's location and transferred to a U.S.-based agent on request.

CWA activists have generated more than 100 calls to Hanna's office, urging him to co-sponsor the bill. Verizon, a major employer in Hanna's district, is a big opponent of the bill because it, along with other profitable companies, is shifting good jobs overseas.

If Hanna refuses to co-sponsor the bill, CWA members will follow him around his district to remind voters that the congressman apparently supports sending good jobs overseas.


CWA/NETT Administrator Honored for Effective Training Program in Ohio

Kevin Celata, administrator of CWA's successful CWA/NETT program was presented the Southwest Ohio Region Workforce Investment Board's top award last week for his leadership in helping to provide quality training for workers that resulted in good-paying jobs.

Over the past two years, CWA/NETT, with a $4 million grant from the Department of Labor, has trained more than 1,500 workers in Ohio who were hit hard by the economic downturn; many found good-paying jobs because of the specialized skill manufacturing training. Members of IUE-CWA, the Steelworkers, Food and Commercial Workers, and other unions were among those in the training program.

The award presented to Celata names the Communications Workers of America as a "super partner" in the effort to provide workers with the skills they need for job placement throughout the state.

Read about more CWA/NETT opportunities at Courses are available in the latest in telecommunications and IT, digital media and criminal justice. CWA's partnerships with manufacturers and distributors of telecommunications and IT equipment enable us to provide up-to-the-minute training on the newest technologies.


CWAers Deliver Valentine Message to Verizon, Verizon Wireless


Local 1103_Verizon Rally

Members of Locals 1103 and 1105 gather outside the house of Verizon board member Hugh Price with a Valentine’s Day message.

Below: In other actions this week, CWAers distributed a leaflet condemning Verizon’s attacks on workers’' and retirees' retirement security.

Verizon Retiree Flyer



CWAers and retirees across Districts 1 and 2-13 spent Valentine's Day delivering a "not so sweet" message to Verizon and Verizon Wireless.

In District 2-13, CWAers leafleted more than 50 Verizon Wireless retail stores with the message: "We've given you so much, but now you're breaking our hearts. If you want to 'be ours,' focus more on good jobs and less on corporate greed."

Some 200 members of CWA Local 1108 passed out Sweet Tarts and flowers to shoppers in Lake Grove, N.Y., where CWAers also delivered their Valentine to the Verizon Wireless store. "We had strong support from our community," said Michael Gendron, local executive vice president. "Joining us were activists from Jobs with Justice, as well as students and teachers' union members from Stony Brook University.

Check out Local 1108's Valentine's Day video.

And on Feb. 16, CWAers will be carrying a "So Much for Retirement" message that takes on Verizon for attacking workers' retirement security. The leaflet says: "We work hard to be able to retire with dignity. For Verizon to take that away is wrong, plain and simple."

And check out this new video about Verizon's demands for health care and pension cuts for current and retired workers.

CWA Ad Wins Top Newspaper Ad Award


Local 1102_9-11 Anti-Verizon Ad



This ad produced by CWA was named best newspaper ad of 2011 at this year's Reed Awards.

The Reed Awards recognize outstanding achievement in newspaper, radio, political advertising and other communications.

The ad features Local 1102 member Joe Hanley, and was designed to remind Verizon that our members stepped up in the aftermath of 9-11, and everyday after that, to keep people connected.







Next CWA Town Hall Meeting

Make sure to join the next CWA telephone town hall, set for Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 pm EST. Click here  to register. 


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