Mar 24, 2016 - Thousands at ATT Get a Union | Communications Workers of America

Mar 24, 2016 - Thousands at ATT Get a Union

March 24, 2016

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Organizing Update

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Big Win for DirecTV Workers in California and Nevada

More than 2,000 DirecTV technicians, warehouse and administrative workers in California and Nevada now have a CWA voice. It's more proof that when workers can make a free and fair choice about union representation – without management harassment, interference or worse – they say, "Union yes."

Tremendous teamwork and solidarity by leaders and members of 15 CWA locals at 26 locations made it happen. Supporting DirecTV workers in the campaign were Locals 9003, 9400, 9408, 9413, 9414, 9415, 9416, 9417, 9419, 9421, 9423, 9504, 9505, 9509 and 9510. Louie Rocha, CWA Senior Campaign Lead, headed up this work from start to finish, and Victor Serrano, special assignment organizer, worked with locals in Southern California and Las Vegas.

Last week, 800 DirecTV call center workers in Huntsville, Ala., joined CWA, and DirecTV workers everywhere are excited about the opportunity for a CWA voice.

AT&T acquired DirecTV in 2015.


Across California and Nevada, DirecTV technicians, warehouse and administrative workers came together for a CWA voice. In every work location, DTV committee members teamed with local union members to get DTV workers signed up.


Bargaining Update

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20 Senators Cite Verizon for Failing to Negotiate a Fair Contract

Twenty U.S. Senators are standing with working families and against Verizon's greed, urging the company to negotiate a fair contract covering 29,000 CWA and IBEW members in Verizon East.

The letter, sent to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, stresses that, "it's in the best interests of our constituents that Verizon and its unions reach a fair agreement that supports good jobs and ensures that Verizon can move forward in investing in state-of-the-art broadband buildout for our communities."

The senators also declare that, "the wireless retail workers and technicians who have been at the heart of Verizon's success...that has driven the company's impressive profitability of $39 billion over the last three years" deserve the opportunity for improved wages and benefits.

CWA Vice Presidents Dennis Trainor, District 1, and Ed Mooney, District 2-13, thanked the Senators for standing with Verizon's working families and reiterated that, "a company as profitable as Verizon, that is making billions off our hard work, does not need our concessions. We will do whatever it takes to protect our jobs, our retirement security, our families, and our dignity on the job."

Read the letter here.

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Nine Months and Counting


Members of CWA Local 2108 in Beltsville, Md., let Washington, D.C. commuters know that "Verizon has labor pains." The call center workers marked the nine months of tough bargaining with pillow-padded bellies, said Local 2108 President Marilyn Irwin.

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AT&T West Bargaining

CWA workers at AT&T West are mobilizing throughout District 9 as negotiations continue. The contract covering about 16,000 workers expires on Saturday night, April 9.


From top: members of Local 9431 in Green Valley, Calif.; call center workers in Pasadena, members of Local 9505; premise technicians, members of Local 9511 in Escondido; techs from Local 9413 in Pahrump, Nevada.

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Tentative Agreement at Spirit Airlines

AFA-CWA bargainers reached a tentative five-year agreement with Spirit Airlines management covering more than 2,200 Flight Attendants. The agreement, reached with the assistance of the National Mediation Board, provides wage increases, work rule improvements and other gains.

Once approved by Spirit Airlines Flight Attendant leadership, the agreement will be sent to the membership for a ratification vote.

"Spirit Airlines Flight Attendants were committed to achieving an agreement which recognizes our contributions to make our airline profitable and provides long overdue wage increases," said Jorge Buchelli, AFA-CWA President at Spirit Airlines. "We look forward to presenting this tentative agreement to our membership."

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Flight Attendants Picket Across the System for Fair Contract at United

United Flight Attendants from around the world held informational picket lines at airports last week, part of the "Third Thursday" actions that AFA-CWA Flight Attendants hold at United hubs worldwide to press for a fair contract at United.

About 40 AFA-CWA Flight Attendants and supporters picketed at Washington Dulles airport, where AFA-CWA Council 21 President Todd Failla urged travelers to "show solidarity in this fight while in an airport or flying United by thanking the union sisters and brothers who are wearing their red AFA lapel pins."

Negotiations covering 25,000 Flight Attendants at United, Continental and Continental Micronesia are continuing under the auspices of a federal mediator.

Above, AFA-CWA Council 21 President Todd Failla handed out picket signs at Washington Dulles airport's United terminal. Below, AFA-CWA Council 21 Vice President Jill Collins walked the picket line, with colleagues including AFA-CWA Council 12 (Los Angeles) President Dante Harris, left, who joined the action between flights.


Democracy Update

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CWA members, and thousands of other activists from more than 200 groups, have been making plans to be in Washington, D.C., for April 16-18.

To join the action, click here.

Saturday, April 16, will feature teach-ins, workshops and direct action trainings by leaders from 200 groups that have signed on to this fight.

On Sunday, April 17, activists will rally and march on the U.S. Capitol. The rally begins at 1 pm at 3rd St. NW in front of the Capitol reflecting pool. After the march, participants will hold a faith rally and prayer vigil in front of Union Station, beginning at 4:30 pm.

Monday, April 18, is a day of mass civil disobedience to save our democracy, along with advocacy and lobbying on Capitol Hill. Together we're pushing for a Congress of Conscience – one that stands up for our democracy rather than stands in its way. Many CWA activists, including President Shelton, will engage in civil disobedience and other actions that focus attention restoring our democracy.


CWAers Feeling the Bern

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The campaign by Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination goes forward, after primaries and caucuses this week in Arizona, Idaho and Utah. The campaign is working to bring about the political revolution our country needs to restore a government and an economy that works for working families.


Clockwise, from top left: CWA Next Gen activists phone bank in New Jersey; Frontier Flight Attendants feeling the Bern in Utah; Local 7019 member Manny Hernandez, featured in a new political ad, and phone banking by Local 7019 members in Arizona.


Pulling Back the Curtain on Union Busting

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This week, the Labor Department finalized the "persuader rule," which will require corporations to disclose their relationships with consultants and lawyers hired to run behind-the-scenes, anti-union campaigns. The new rule, in the works for about five years, will take effect on July 1.

"It's a matter of basic fairness," said Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. "This new rule will allow workers to know whether the messages they're hearing are coming directly from their employer or from a paid, third-party consultant. Full disclosure of persuader agreements gives workers the information they need to make informed choices about how they pursue their rights to organize and bargain collectively. As in all elections, more information means better decisions."

The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA) requires reporting by unions, employers, and labor relations consultants.

Employers have been taking advantage of a giant loophole in that law, however, citing a provision that said companies only had to disclose hiring union busters if those outside consultants interacted with employees directly. As a result, consultants created anti-union strategies, materials and policies, then advised and coached management how to deliver that message to workers, completely bypassing the reporting requirement. Although 71 to 87 percent of employers hire union busters, the Labor Department received very few reports on these activities.

In 2011, American Airlines, then under different, extremely anti-union management, filed for bankruptcy. At the same time, American passenger service agents were organizing for a CWA voice. Management fought the agents every step of the way, and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on outside consultants and law firms to block the workers' organizing drive. The only reason workers knew this was because American had to publicly report its expenses to the bankruptcy court.

Agents were outraged and rallied against the company. It took a few more years but finally in 2014, American agents won their CWA voice.


Register Now: CWA Presidents’ Meeting, Legislative-Political Conference Set for June 13-14-15

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The 2016 CWA Presidents' Meeting, required by the CWA Constitution in non-convention years, will be held at the Hyatt Regency Washington, 400 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., on Monday, June 13.

The Presidents' meeting will be followed at the same hotel by our national Legislative-Political Conference. The theme, "Reclaiming Our Economy and Our Democracy," will bring hundreds of CWA leaders and activists to Washington at a critical time to mobilize around working family issues.

Following morning sessions and messages from members of Congress, we'll take our fight to Capitol Hill and lobby our senators and representatives on our key issues.

Register online now for both meetings. The Presidents' Meeting will begin on Monday, June 13 at 9 a.m. and continue until business is concluded. Click here to register.

The Legislative-Political Conference will begin on Tuesday, June 14 at 8:30 a.m. and conclude Wednesday, June 15. Click here to register.


22,000 Sign Petition to Modernize Lifeline Program

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CWA and four other organizations gathered more than 22,000 signatures from activists who are urging the Federal Communications Commission to update the Lifeline program to include broadband services. The FCC is scheduled to vote on the proposal March 29.

The petitions, delivered March 23 to the FCC, said: "Today, broadband is as essential to modern life as telephone service was in the last century. But for too many families, economic factors remain a significant barrier to broadband adoption. The FCC must act to ensure all Americans – including low-income households – have access to modern telecommunications services. Vote yes – update Lifeline to include broadband service."

The FCC first adopted the Lifeline program in 1985 to ensure broad access to telephone service so people could fully participate in our society and economy. Updating the Lifeline program to include broadband will help close the digital divide and foster digital equality.


Outside the FCC, from left: Meredith Whipple, Public Knowledge; Charlie Braico, NABET-CWA President; Bernie Lunzer, NewsGuild-CWA President; Brian Thorn, CWA strategic research associate; Debbie Goldman, CWA research economist; Cheryl Leanza, United Church of Christ policy advisor, and Joe Torres, Center for Media Justice and MAG-Net.


Subsidized Gulf State Airlines Means Lost Jobs, Declining Service for U.S. Workers and Communities

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In an op-ed in Aviation Weekly, CWA President Chris Shelton asked, "What's the point of an 'Open Skies' agreement if partner countries can routinely violate the rules and put the jobs of U.S. airline workers at risk?"

He's right, and that's why the leaders of unions representing pilots, Flight Attendants and airline workers have come together with the heads of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, calling for the Obama administration to stop the massive subsidization of the Gulf States carriers by the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Shelton wrote:

The Department of Transportation says we need "Open Skies" to promote "unrestricted, fair competition to determine the variety, quality and price of air service." Unfortunately, the Gulf state carriers have been flouting "Open Skies" rules for years.

In a little over a year, the Gulf carriers have announced plans to dramatically expand service to and from the U.S., increasing their daily seats by over 35 percent. This is just the beginning. Cities across the country are experiencing significant declines in bookings on U.S. carriers and their joint venture partners on international routes following the entry of the Gulf carriers into their markets: 21.4 percent in Seattle; 14.3 percent in Washington, D.C.; 13.3 percent in Orlando; 13.1 percent in San Francisco; 10.8 percent in Boston; 8.8 percent in Chicago, and 7.6 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Why does this matter?

When U.S. carriers lose passengers, they are forced to cut back or cut service to international destinations, and they also lose the international passengers that help fill domestic flights. Fewer flights mean fewer jobs for pilots, Flight Attendants, passenger agents and airport workers, as well as lower revenue for airports and less customer demand for related services.

United and Delta Airlines already have canceled service from the U.S. to Dubai, citing in part the unfair competition by the Gulf carriers. Economists estimate that more than 1,500 American jobs are lost when a U.S. carrier's route is taken over by a Gulf airline because the system allows them to operate at an unfair advantage."

That's why it's time for the Obama administration to enforce the existing Open Skies agreements with the UAE and Qatar, stop the unprecedented flow of subsidies once and for all and make sure that all agreement partners follow the rules. Our government must deal with the Gulf carrier subsidies now, before more American jobs are lost and more communities are damaged.


CWA's Website Has a New Look

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If you've visited our CWA-Union.org website this week you may have noticed a few changes. We've unveiled an updated look which makes it easier for CWA members or others browsing our site to find the information they need.

There's even more going on behind the scenes. All pages on the site are now fully responsive – which means they will be easy to read and use on any screen – desktop, laptop, tablet or phone.

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Application Reminder: 2016 CWA Joe Beirne Foundation Scholarship

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Applications for CWA Joe Beirne Foundation scholarships for the 2016-2017 school year are now being accepted through April 29.

Fifteen winners, selected in a lottery drawing, will receive partial college scholarships of up to $3,000 each, as well as second-year scholarships of the same amount, contingent upon satisfactory academic achievement.

CWA members, their spouses, children and grandchildren (including dependents of laid-off, retired or deceased CWA members) may apply. Applicants must be high school graduates or high school students who will graduate during the year in which they apply. Undergraduate and graduate students returning to school may also submit applications.

Named for CWA's founding leader, Joseph Anthony Beirne, this valuable scholarship program has been built up by contributions from CWA Locals, members and officers. The CWA Joe Beirne Foundation was established in October 1974 by the CWA Executive Board to honor Beirne's lifelong commitment to education and progressive social causes.

Apply online here!