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.