Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

Breaking: Election Set for American Airlines Agents!

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The National Mediation Board has just set the dates for the union representation election among American Airlines passenger service agents.

It's been a long time coming. In fact, when the election gets underway, it will be a year since agents first filed for CWA representation, back in December 2011. Today's NMB action means passenger service agents finally will be able to exercise their democratic right to vote.

Here's the NMB timetable: Voting instructions will be mailed on Dec. 4. The election will be conducted by telephone electronic voting and Internet voting, with the voting period in effect from Dec. 4 through Jan. 15, 2013. The tally will take place at the NMB offices in Washington, D.C., at 2 pm, EST, on Jan. 15, 2013.

American Airlines must provide labels with the names and current addresses of all employees on the list of potential eligible voters to the NMB by 4 pm, EST, on Nov. 6.

Earlier this week, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected American Airlines' request to reconsider its October decision supporting passenger service agents' right to vote for union representation. The court immediately issued a mandate dismissing the original suit and clearing the way for the National Mediation Board to set a new schedule to vote.

American Airlines has told employees that it will appeal the federal appeals court decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, in yet another attempt to deny workers their right to vote. That threat is nothing new, considering that American Airlines has tried every way possible to stop passenger service agents from exercising their democratic right to vote.

"This is a great victory, but we still have a lot of work to do," said Janet Elston, an agent at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. "We need to get our folks voting, and voting yes."

CWA Organizing Director Sandy Rusher warned that American will step up its attacks on the union. "They will keep fighting us, but we have the majority of the agents on our side," she said. "Agents have had enough of being jerked around."

Ted Tezino, who has worked for 11 years at American Airlines' Southern Reservation Office, noted the bankruptcy has made their situation as employees clear: "The company is not on our side, and it's time to stand up for ourselves."

CWAers Respond to Hurricane Sandy

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An AT&T crew assesses downed poles and wires after Hurricane Sandy related weather in Stamford, Conn. Photo by Stamford Advocate. View more photos here

Across the Eastern Seaboard, from North Carolina to New England, members from all of CWA's sectors have been working tirelessly through Hurricane Sandy and its devastating aftermath. Many CWAers themselves are coping with tremendous storm damage, the loss of electrical power and telephone service and other hardships while stepping up to help restore their communities.

In New Jersey, one of the hardest hit areas, CWA public worker members are on the job nearly round-the-clock. The roads departments have been clearing and repairing roads and bridges, and 911 dispatchers took emergency calls and helped people get rescued and medical attention. The Health Department staff has been working with hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities that have lost power. The Department of Environmental Protection staff is investigating the environmental impacts from the storm, such as oil spills, nuclear power plant alerts, shore erosion and other damage.

Throughout the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region, CWA technicians at Verizon, AT&T and Cablevision are working 12-hour days, seven days a week to help restore service. In Connecticut, AT&T crews were dispatched with disaster repair equipment as Hurricane Sandy neared, so that workers would be able to respond quickly. And members of CWA Local 1298 have since been working to repair downed wires and poles.

CWA members who work at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are staffing everything, from helping to get airports opened today, to assessing damage to tracks, stations and equipment and helping to get a city running again where millions of residents depend on public transportation.

Through it all, TNG-CWA reporters and photographers and NABET-CWA cameramen have been on the scene, updating the country on the latest weather conditions, rescue efforts and closures. They've put out newspapers without power and braved the heavy winds and rain to get the story. AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll wrote to employees, "Hundreds of AP folks lost power and many will be without it for days to come. Yet you've put the story first and been enormously creative in finding ways to contribute."

This weekend, in New Jersey and other areas where members are unable to do labor walks or other canvassing, volunteers will be going to Americorps locations to lend a hand.

Is there a CWA brother or sister who you want to recognize for their work to keep us safe and informed during Hurricane Sandy? Let us know on Facebook or tweet using the hashtag #cwasandy. (See also "How You Can Help" below.)

Elections Are About Choices

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New Jersey CWAers walk neighborhoods in Burlington County for Democratic candidates.


Pennsylvania state coordinator Donnie Engleman with Vice President Biden.


Iowa state coordinator Molly Reagan meets Vice President Joe Biden during a surprise visit to campaign volunteers.


CWA members phone bank in Colorado.


CWA District 4 vice President Linda Hinton leaflets with Local 4340 members in Cleveland.




Since Aug. 25, New Jersey CWA members have been traveling to Pennsylvania, joining door knocks and neighborhood walks to support President Obama. This past weekend was no exception, as two buses of CWAers left Newark on Saturday to show their support for the Obama-Biden ticket.

Also in New Jersey, a big group of CWAers met in Burlington County with members of Local 1036 supporting Democratic candidates who oppose the Republican-controlled Board of Freeholders plan to privatize a public nursing home. Local 1036 has put together more than 50 walk shifts every weekend since Aug. 25, all aimed at backing Democratic candidates who want to maintain the public nursing home and the jobs of more than 300 workers.




CWAers join the Sierra Club and a broad coalition of progressive groups to support Proposal 2 in Michigan.




Yes on Michigan's Prop. 2

Michigan CWAers joined the Sierra Club, UFCW and a broad coalition of supporters to speak out in favor of Issue 2 this weekend in Grand Rapids.

A yes vote on the November ballot initiative would enshrine collective bargaining in the state's constitution, shielding workers from future legislative attacks on organized labor.

"Collective bargaining protects rights for all working families and gives you a voice to negotiate fair wages, benefits and safe working conditions," says President Bill Clinton in a robocall endorsement. "Voting yes on Proposal 2 also protects workers from corporate special interests that arbitrarily cut wages, benefits and pensions and ship jobs overseas."


AFA-CWA President Veda Shook leaflets an employee bus stop at Dulles Airport

AFA Activists Leaflet Dulles Airport

AFA-CWA Veda Shook and activists leafleted an employee bus stop at Dulles Airport, spotlighting what's at stake for flight attendants in the upcoming election.

New CWA AD in NY-46

CWA is up with a new cable ad in New York's 46th State Senate district, attacking GOP Assemblyman George Amedore for voting for a bill to give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas.

"They started taking away our bonuses while they were still getting theirs," says a former T-Mobile employee in the spot. "And that was their first level of cutting back. I had a good job and they just closed up and sent them to other countries. They'll never admit it was because of offshoring. They should not be getting tax breaks of any kind if they're sending jobs overseas."

CWA is supporting school board member Cecilia Tkaczyk, who will always put working families first, in her bid to replace Amedore.

And Check Out this Video

CWAers in Ohio and Vice President Linda Hinton leaflet Cleveland worksites.

TNG, NYT Reach Tentative Agreement After 20 Months of Bargaining

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TNG-CWA Local 31003, the Newspaper Guild of New York, has reached a tentative five-year agreement with The New York Times.

The tentative agreement was reached late Sunday with the help of mediator Martin Scheinman. It is subject to ratification by Guild members.

"The Guild Negotiating Committee has voted to support the settlement, which preserves a Defined Benefit Pension, protects the jointly trusteed medical plan, and includes increases in compensation," said the Newspaper Guild of New York. "We will provide more information in coming days, and a ratification meeting will be scheduled in the near future."

President Cohen Recognized Among The Hill's '2012 Top Lobbyists'

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CWA President Larry Cohen was named to The Hill's annual list of top lobbyists.

The political newspaper wrote, "Cohen hasn't shied away from difficult organizing fights, epitomized by CWA's showdown this year with American Airlines."

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.

Cohen said, "This recognition is really about our activists. They prove every day that CWA can stand up, fight back and make a difference. In the years ahead, we're committed to ensuring that elected officials know the key issues affecting our members and retirees, their families and our communities."

Find Your Polling Place

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Election Day is just around the corner. Find your polling place by texting CWA2012 followed by your street address and zip code to 69866.

Or use CWA's voter information tool by clicking here.

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 for facts about the presidential candidates and candidates in other key races.

How You Can Help

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Locals interested in adopting a CWA family affected by Hurricane Sandy can email Secretary Treasurer Annie Hill at

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