Oct 10, 2013
- National Day of Action for Immigrant Dignity and Respect
- The Government is Shut Down – But the Immigration Reform Movement is Not
- Money v. People
- Call Center Month Recognizes CWA Members
- You Won't Want to Miss Next Week's Town Hall Call
- CWA Continues Fight Against Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal
- Bargaining Update
- Big Victory at Peabody Coal
Across the country, immigration reform advocates launched 183 major mobilization efforts, rallies, vigils, pilgrimages, and direct actions in over 40 states to call on Congress to stop the partisan logjam and create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans. The Oct. 5 actions marked the beginning of the movement's renewed fight for a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
"This is absolutely a workers' issue," said Victoria Fisher, a shop steward and member of CWA Local 1037's Next Generation Caucus. "We need to get our legislators, our president, everyone, to hear our voices and to take action on this issue."
Fisher joined protesters at the Hall of Records in Freehold, N.J. Speakers from Casa Freehold, SEIU 32BJ, NJ Communities United and CWA Local 1037 rallied the crowd to demand that Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) support immigration reform in Congress. Watch a video of their demonstration here.
In California, CWA activists put on a concert, Rock 4 Citizenship, in downtown Bakersfield, home to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R). Reggae, hip-hop, metal and rock-and-roll bands performed for free, as activists sent this message to the influential lawmaker: "We want a vote NOW!"
CWAers in Northern Indiana marched to the office of Rep. Jackie Walorski (R) to demand that she take a lead in the House to support comprehensive immigration reform.
IUE-CWA bussed activists to Springfield, Ohio, where they marched on House Speaker John Boehner's office. About 1,000 people urged Boehner to end the government shutdown and get back to work on immigration.
Rallies also were held in Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, San Antonio and Miami. About 2,000 activists marched through Hollywood, Calif. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined the crowds in Chicago, and 5,000 marched across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. Reformers gathered 3,000 people in Houston and 6,000 people in Phoenix to send the "Time is NOW!" message to lawmakers.
CWA Local 1037 members join several hundred protesters in Freehold, N.J., to draw attention to the stalled immigration reform efforts in Congress.
CWA activists in Bakersfield, Calif., put on a concert supporting immigration reform: Rock 4 Citizenship.
IUE-CWA members rally in Springfield, Ohio, to march on House Speaker John Boehner's office.
About 3,000 people march through downtown Phoenix, chanting "Si, se Puede!" and "Yes, we can!"
CWAers march in San Antonio for comprehensive immigration reform.
CWA District 4 Vice President Linda Hinton, CWA-NABET President Jim Joyce, CWA District 4 Assistant to the Vice President Jerry Schaeff and CWA-NABET Administrator of Sector Ops Jodi Fabrizio-Clontz rally with NABET and CWA members in Detroit.
Eight members of Congress joined 200 immigrant, faith, and labor activists on Tuesday in an act of civil disobedience aimed at reigniting work on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that has stalled in the House.
Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Al Green (D-Texas), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) were all arrested along with the activists, which included CWA Secretary-Treasurer Annie Hill, TNG-CWA President Bernie Lunzer and CWA Senior Director Yvette Herrera.
The Oct. 8 action was part of the "Camino Americano Rally and March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect," a rally urging House Speaker John Boehner and Republican leaders to bring immigration up for a vote. Despite the government shutdown, 15,000 people turned out to pray, march, and sing along to performances by Grammy Award-winning artists Los Tigres del Norte and Lila Downs on the National Mall.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) reminded the audience of the bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform when the Senate passed a bill in June, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led the crowd in chants of "Si, se puede!" Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart spoke at the rally, sharing the stage with Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), and David Valadao (R-Calif.). Dozens of Democratic House members also expressed their support.
The crowd then marched to the U.S. Capitol, where they blocked the streets. It was the third major act of civil disobedience by immigration reform advocates in the past couple of months.
This fall, lawmakers will continue to hear from activists that the TIME IS NOW for immigration reform with a path to citizenship. We'll be demanding a vote.
CWA Secretary-Treasurer Annie Hill, TNG-CWA President Bernie Lunzer and CWA Senior Director Yvette Herrera are arrested after participating in an act of civil disobedience at the U.S. Capitol.
CWA President Larry Cohen leads members to the rally on the National Mall.
Eight members of Congress – Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep. Jan Schawkowsky (D-IL) and Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) – were arrested by U.S. Capitol Police.
The crowd gathers on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.
McCutcheon v. FEC should really be called Money v. People.
CWA President Larry Cohen addresses the rally.
Below: CWAers gather on the steps of the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for a case challenging one of the remaining campaign finance laws on the books, which Shaun McCutcheon, a wealthy Alabama businessman and conservative activist, and the Republican National Committee brought against the Federal Election Committee. McCutcheon and the RNC are arguing that the limit on the total money one individual can contribute over each election period – $123,000 – is unconstitutional and violates that private citizen's First Amendment rights. If they're successful, wealthy donors will be able to give an unrestricted amount of cash directly to PACs, parties and candidates – making it even easier for rich people to buy elections.
On the steps of the court, campaign finance reform activists urged the court to defend these "aggregate contribution limits," so that the strength of Americans' political voice does not depend on the size of their wallets. CWA President Larry Cohen connected the dots on how the Supreme Court's rulings on free speech issues have hurt our democracy.
"This court and its predecessors confused free speech when it came to workers' rights 70 years ago, when this became the only democracy in the world to say that employers can run orchestrated campaigns against their own workers under the banner of free speech. We say here today that's called union busting," he told the crowd. "Today we say clearly, free speech is not equal to money."
He added, "We know what democracy looks like. And we will fight to have a 21st century democracy in terms of our voting rights, in terms of stopping the obscene spending by the richest billionaires in the world and also at work, so workers again have rights."
Demos had filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of the four principal conveners of the Democracy Initiative (CWA, Greenpeace, NAACP, Sierra Club) as well as organizations that represent small businesses (Main Street Alliance), young people (OurTime.org, Rock the Vote), working families (American Federation of Teachers, Working Families Organization), and the public interest (People For the American Way Foundation, U.S. PIRG).
In Michigan, consumer advocacy groups and members of the Michigan Election Coalition – CWA, PIRGIM, Common Cause Michigan, and the Campaign Finance Reform Network – also called on the Supreme Court to uphold campaign contribution limits.
"We're entering dangerous territory where money could trump citizens' best interests," said CWA Staff Representative Mike Schulte. "We're opposing this measure to protect voters' best interest, and to make sure that money isn't dictating law but instead the will of the people."
Watch Michigan Election Coalition's video of its press conference here.
Throughout October, CWA and customer service professionals are celebrating Call Center Month to recognize and support the professionalism and work of call center members in every CWA sector and industry. It's part of a worldwide campaign by UNI Global Union, emphasizing the need for fair pay and respect for call center workers.
CWA also is calling on customer service professionals to help support legislation to limit the outsourcing of call center jobs and end the tax advantages and breaks that companies get for sending work offshore.
On Thursday, Oct. 17, CWA's 30-minute town hall call will take an in-depth look at collective bargaining with CWAers who know how tough it can be.
District 1 Vice President Chris Shelton and AFA-CWA President Veda Shook, along with CWA President Larry Cohen, will talk about what CWAers are doing in their districts and sector to get through tough times in bargaining.
Register at http://cwa-union.org/cwacall.
And don't forget, when you sign up for the remaining CWA town hall calls this year, you will be entered in a drawing for a personalized iPad Mini! The winner will be announced in the CWA News and e-newsletter.
CWAers and our allies are speaking out: No Trans-Pacific Partnership! They're telling Congress how this massive trade deal will destroy workers' rights, wreck the environment, ship jobs away and more. For additional information on the TPP and how you can fight back, visit www.stopthetpp.com.
Make your own TPP signs and send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And listen to CWA President Larry Cohen talk about how we need to stop fast track authority in this interview from Ed Schultz's radio show on Oct. 9.
NJ Home Child Care Workers
Home child care providers in New Jersey, members of CWA Local 1037, rallied for a new contract and a raise at the NJ Department of Human Services in Trenton on Sept. 19. The 2,000 workers, who care for children in their homes, haven't had a wage increase in nearly five years.
CWA Local 2001 members rally for a fair contract at Frontier Communications.
The home child care workers won bargaining rights in 2007. In this second round of negotiations, workers want a wage increase and the ability to provide the children they care for with the resources necessary to be successful.
Some home child care providers have degrees in education and early childhood development – and all work 50 to 60 hours each week, or more. Affordable, quality home care is critical for working families. It's time that the state of New Jersey acknowledged the value of the work that home child care providers do every day by negotiating a fair contract.
And check out this article in The Nation, which featured several members of Local 1037.
Frontier Communications in West Virginia
CWA's Frontier Communications bargaining team and Frontier management have agreed to extend the current contract until Jan. 18, 2014 at 11:59 p.m.
CWA locals representing 1,600 members at Frontier are determined to get a quality contract and will keep mobilization going strong while negotiations continue.
The United Mine Workers of America won a big victory at Peabody Energy and Patriot Coal. Hundreds of CWA members and CWA locals participated for many months in actions to put pressure on Peabody to keep its promises to retirees and their families. UMWA President Cecil Roberts called CWA President Larry Cohen to thank CWA for all their work. This victory will provide funding of more than $400 million to cover future retiree health care costs.