Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

Day of Action Today to Fix the Senate Now!

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Thousands of progressive activists are rallying for Senate rules reform today, spreading the word about an important package of common sense reforms that will reduce opportunities for obstruction and end the silent filibuster.

Activists are contacting their senators, asking them to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 4, a package of real reforms that will enable the Senate to actually debate and discuss critical issues for all of us. Here's a fact sheet with details on exactly what Senate Resolution 4 will do.

Organization leaders of the Fix the Senate Now coalition are signing on to a letter to Senators encouraging them to support these common sense reforms. "Whereas Senators once resorted to filibustering only in rare and exceptional instances of intense opposition, rampant obstruction has now transformed standard operating procedure. Today, majority rule in the Senate is the exception, not the rule. We believe that the common sense reforms included in S. Res. 4 will go a long way towards ending routine and reflexive obstruction and will ensure that the Senate will once again be able to address the critical issues facing our country," the letter says.

The Senate will take up rules reform when it returns to work just after President Obama's Inauguration on Jan. 21.

Call your senators now at 1-888-966-9836, and urge them to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 4.

What else can you do to help?

 

  • Send an email to your senators asking them to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 4, the reform package introduced by Sens. Jeff Merkley and Tom Udall. Go to www.fixthesenatenow.org/actnow. CWAers and coalition members will be delivering petition signatures to senators on Jan. 17.

     

  • Make sure your members know how important it is to send a message to their senators and to Majority Leader Harry Reid. Encourage them to call and email.

     

  • Mark your calendars for Jan. 17 and Jan. 22, our next big Days of Action.

What's at stake? The Nation explains how lobbyists, at the direction of big corporations, have profited off securing Republican filibusters and "used Senate obstruction to push policies that punish ordinary Americans and the environment."

Read the full story here.

Text RULESREFORM to 69866 for more info, and stay tuned at www.fixthesenatenow.org, on Facebook and Twitter.

CWA Commends Labor Secretary Solis for Standing With Working Families

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Secretary Solis meets with Hector Capote of CWA Local 3122 and other workers in Miami.

CWA commends Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis for her service to working people and her leadership that truly promoted the mission of the Labor Department: To be a voice for working men and women, to help ensure that workers are not victimized and to safeguard workers' rights, health and well-being on the job.

Solis announced Jan. 9 that she had submitted her resignation to President Obama.

"Together we have achieved extraordinary things and I am so proud of our work on behalf of the nation's working families. Because of our work, more people are receiving the wages they are owed. As a result of our enforcement efforts, we have saved workers' lives," she said.

CWA responded: "Solis has been an incredibly effective advocate for working men and women and we will miss her voice and her determination to ensure that working people have not only opportunity, but justice. CWA has been a proud partner of Secretary Solis, and we wish her and her family all the best for the future. "

Just a Week to Go as American Airlines Agents Vote in Union Election

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American Airlines passenger service agents are just days away from the vote count in their union representation election. Next Tuesday, Jan. 15, the National Mediation Board will tally the votes and announce the results at 2 p.m. in Washington, DC.

"We are determined that we will win this and on January 16th we will have a seat at the table and the company will have to start showing us the respect we deserve," said long-time activist and Dallas-Fort Worth agent Rosemary Capasso.

AMR, the parent company of American Airlines, is currently weighing a merger with US Airways. On a recent CWA town hall call, Millicent Burnett, a US Airways agent based in Pittsburgh and a member of the CWA bargaining committee, said her colleagues have been supporting American agents in the drive for representation even before talk of merger "because we understand how important it is to have a voice. There were many years when we didn't have representation, and I don't ever want to go back."

"When American Airlines management starts talking to you about raises, remember that we have our raises committed in a legally binding contract, with job security," Burnett said. "They can't outsource our work. We will vote on what we will accept and what we will not accept."

For more information and updates visit www.american-agents.org.

The Democracy Initiative

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CWA has a leading role in the Democracy Initiative, as progressive groups are banding together to build a national campaign around three goals: getting big money out of politics, voting rights and reforming the broken Senate rules.

The idea grew out of discussions in recent years among CWA President Larry Cohen, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, NAACP President Ben Jealous and Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford.

The meeting was held on International Human Rights Day, with 100 organizations joining together to move forward, Cohen said. "CWA leaders and members know that we can't end the frustration of current collective bargaining without a real movement for bargaining and organizing rights and social and political change. Working together is how we'll win economic justice," he said.

From the Mother Jones article:

The four leaders bemoaned how the dysfunctional political process was making it impossible for their groups to achieve their goals. "We're not going to have a clean-energy economy if the same companies that are polluting our rivers and oceans are also polluting our elections," Brune said. Greenpeace's Phil Radford notes that for decades conservatives have aimed to shrink local, state, and federal governments by reforming the rules so they could install like-minded politicians, bureaucrats, and judges. Radford calls it "a 40-plus-year strategy by the Scaifes, Exxons, Coors, and Kochs of the world...to take over the country."

So last spring Brune, Cohen, Jealous, and Radford called up their friends on the left and, in June, convened the Democracy Initiative's first meeting. A handful of groups attended, and they began to focus on the triad of money in politics, voting rights, and dysfunction in the Senate.

Other attendees at the December meeting included top officials from the League of Conservation Voters, Friends of the Earth, Public Campaign, the AFL-CIO, SEIU, Common Cause, Voto Latino, the Demos think tank, Piper Fund, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, People for the American Way, National People's Action, National Wildlife Federation, the Center for American Progress, the United Auto Workers, and Color of Change.

Read more here.

Announcing CWA's PAF Winners

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Larry Arnold, a member of CWA Local 6316.

Below: Jeff Rogue, a member of CWA Local 4320, with the local president, Cathy Mason-Vallance.

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Larry Arnold, a member of CWA Local 6316 in Missouri, is this year's winner of the 2012 Political Action Fund contributor raffle for a trip to Las Vegas. Larry was picked from more than 6,000 CWA members who became new contributors or upgraded their contribution in our 2012 CWA Political Action Fund campaign.

Jeff Rogue, a member of CWA Local 4320 in Ohio, is the winner of the 2012 Political Action Fund recruiter raffle for airfare for two to anywhere in the continental United States. Jeff was one of the 325 members who signed up other CWA brothers and sisters to the Political Action Fund in 2012.

CWA Political Director Rafael Navar congratulated Larry, Jeff and everyone who signed up to make CWA stronger. "Because of all of our activists' work, we now have more resources for the important fights and issues that we care about, like the one on Senate Rules Reform happening right now," Navar said.

If you haven't contacted your senators to let them know we want our democracy back, do it today and ask them to support Senate Resolution 4 on rules reform. Go to www.fixthesenatenow.org for more information.

Thank you to everyone who signed up or upgraded their contribution to CWA's Political Action Fund in 2012. This 100 percent voluntary program helps keep our voice heard on critical issues for working families. If you haven't done so already, sign up and contribute today to our Political Action Fund, so that we can make sure our issues are heard.

 

Attacks on Voting Rights Continue

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The November 2012 elections have come and gone, but voter suppression isn't going away. The New Year has ushered in a new wave of attacks on Americans' voting rights:

  • In Iowa, Secretary of State Matt Schultz is once again angling to purge the state's voter registration rolls in the name of alleged voter fraud. His proposed voter-suppression rules would unjustly target Latino immigrants, intimidate voters and could disenfranchise citizens without cause.

     

  • Several GOP lawmakers in the Virginia General Assembly are introducing new stringent voter ID measures, including legislation that would prevent voters from using documentation like paycheck stubs, bank statements and utility bills to prove their identity. Such plans mirror other voter ID laws that were blocked last election cycle because they disproportionately harmed minorities, seniors, students and low-income voters.

     

  • North Carolina State Rep. Frank Iler (R) has pledged that a voter ID law will be the "first thing on the menu for lawmakers" when they reconvene on Jan. 30. Voter ID was vetoed by former Gov. Bev Perdue (D) last June, but Gov.-elect Pat McCrory (R) has said he would sign the legislation. A new report from the State Board of Elections found as many as 613,000 voters, or 9.25 percent of the North Carolina's voters, may not have a state issued driver's licensed or ID card; 53 percent of the voters in question are Democrats and about 30 percent are black.

     

  • Republican lawmakers in West Virginia are preparing to introduce a voter ID bill similar to the GOP-controlled Pennsylvania legislation last year. A judge temporarily suspended the controversial Pennsylvania law right before the election and it remains in court.

These lawmakers are banking on the idea that the fewer working people who vote, the more power anti-worker conservatives have to enact their agenda. But GOP voter suppression actually fueled African-American voter turnout last November. We'll continue to prove them wrong and to fight for universal registration so that all people can exercise their right to vote.

Apply Now for Joseph Beirne Scholarship

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Fifteen partial college scholarships of $3,000 each are being offered for the 2013-2014 school year. Winners, selected in a lottery drawing, also will receive second-year scholarships of the same amount, contingent upon satisfactory academic accomplishment. Part-time students those taking less than 12 credits will receive half of the scholarship amount.

CWA members and their spouses, children and grandchildren, including those of laid-off, retired or deceased members, are eligible for the scholarship. Applicants must be high school graduates or at least high school students who will graduate during the year in which they apply. Undergraduate and graduate students returning to schooling may also apply. Prior winners may not reapply. No specific studies are required. Scholarship winners may pursue whatever courses they wish.

Applications are accepted from November through April, with the final deadline for receipt of the application Apr. 30, 2013. Click here to apply online.

Winners are chosen by lottery drawing and only winners will be notified.

The scholarship program is named for CWA's founding leader and first president, Joseph A. Beirne. Read more about Beirne and the scholarship program here.

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