Jun 23, 2016 - CWA Members Walk Out

June 23, 2016

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Bargaining Update

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Verizon Contracts Ratified by Overwhelming Vote

Verizon workers in District 1 and 2-13 voted overwhelmingly to ratify new contracts. The 39,000 workers were on strike for 45 days.

Wireline CWA members in New York-New England and the mid-Atlantic ratified four-year contracts in separate votes.

Read more here.

Verizon Wireless technicians ratified a separate agreement by an overwhelming vote. That contract covers about 100 VZW technicians in New York, and contract gains include a 10.9 percent wage increase over the four-year term, a $1,250 signing bonus, new paid parent leave benefits and improvements in stand-by pay.

For Verizon Wireless retail store workers in Brooklyn, NY, and Everett, Mass., who overwhelmingly approved a separate contract, the first-ever contract makes major improvements in job security and other areas. The contract provides a first-ever grievance and arbitration procedure, protections against arbitrary discipline and firing, and restrictions on the company's ability to subcontract work. In a big gain, $2,000 of performance-based pay now will be guaranteed as part of workers' base pay. The contract also gives workers the right to swap schedules, enabling workers to better balance their work and family lives.

Workers at Verizon Connected Solutions also ratified a separate four-year agreement that provides for the same benefit improvements as the core wireline agreement, and in a big gain for workers, maintains a key job title that ensures that these workers will receive wage raises according to the negotiated pay scale.

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NewsGuild Day of Action

Last week, Digital First Media workers launched a campaign to demand investor transparency from Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund that began buying Digital First Media publications in 2009.

"Alden is one of the largest newspaper owners in the United States, yet it operates as a dark web of complex business structures to hide itself from the public view," said NewsGuild president Bernie Lunzer. "Alden is laying off the very journalists who'd be reporting this kind of vital information to the public. We believe the public has a right to demand complete transparency about Alden."

Alden is known as a vulture fund that stashes money in notorious tax havens around the world. It has seized and sold off the assets of Digital First Media newspapers, selling real estate, slashing newsroom staff, and outsourcing jobs. Its actions are hurting newspaper employees and depriving communities of access to quality news coverage.

The NewsGuild-CWA represents 870 workers at 12 DFM newspaper bargaining units nationwide, 11 of which have expired contracts. Many workers haven't had a raise for seven to 10 years. The newspapers include the Denver Post, Mercury News, East Bay Times, Monterey Herald, St. Paul Pioneer Press, The Macomb Daily and the Daily Tribune, Kingston Freeman, Pottstown Mercury, The Delaware County Times, The Trentonian, and the Norristown Times-Herald.

See a photo collage of the event here.

More than 6,000 people already have signed the petition calling for transparency at Alden. Sign it here.

NewsGuild workers at the Norristown Times Herald tell Alden to disclose their investors.

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AT&T West

CWA members at AT&T West are pushing for the company to bargain a fair contract covering 15,000 workers in California and Nevada.

Grievance/unfair labor practice strikes by nearly 4,000 members of Locals 9400 and 9510 that began June 9 have been resolved. The CWA locals were protesting management's decision to reassign work on landlines used for 911 emergency calls. AT&T West management has agreed to notify and meet with locals in advance to discuss work assignments and to return that work to system technicians.


Members of CWA Local 9400 in Fontana and 9510 in Tustin rally in grievance/unfair labor practice strikes.

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United Day of Action

In a Day of Action, thousands of United Airlines Flight Attendants and supporters protested at major airports around the world on June 16 as they continue to mobilize for a fair contract now.  Meanwhile, bargaining under the supervision and assistance of Federal Mediation Board Member Linda Puchala continued.


AFA-CWA Flight Attendants and other activists protest at Dulles International Airport.

The New York Times wrote about the divide that still exists almost six years after the merger.

For more information, click here.

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Frontier Rhinelander

CWA members working at Frontier Rhinelander, members of CWA Local 4671, reached a tentative agreement with the company this week, including a fair wage increase and improvements to benefits. An explanation meeting and voting on this new agreement will take place on Thursday evening.

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Tentative Agreement Reached at Kaleida Health

CWA Local 1168 members in Buffalo, NY reached a tentative agreement with Kaleida Health. The agreement covers three unions – CWA, IUOE 17 and 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East – and 7,500 employees.

"We did this by working with Kaleida Health on a plan that will address both the patients and the staff that are at the bedside," said CWA Local 1168 President Cori Gambini. "I believe this will help Kaleida Health continue to be the employer of choice for health care workers and the best choice for the community to seek medical care."

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Envoy Bargaining


Solidarity around our Envoy system.

The CWA elected bargaining committee and staff are continuing to negotiate with Envoy for a first contract covering 3,800 agents at 94 airports. Bargaining team members are: Michael Haight, Traverse City Mich.; Janet Padett, Los Angeles, Calif.; Bryce Rea, Joplin, Mo.; Marge Krueger, CWA administrative director, and District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt.


CWAers Fight to Save NJ Public Worker Pensions

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CWA stewards and members in New Jersey are mobilizing in support of legislation that would place a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot this November to guarantee pension payments for the state's public worker pension system.

The legislation has been approved by State Senate and State Assembly committees, and both bodies must pass the legislation with a simple majority by the end of June in order for it to appear on the ballot this November. The Amendment would require quarterly pension payments – protecting the pension and saving the taxpayers billions.

CWA New Jersey State Director Hetty Rosenstein said that without the constitutional amendment, "the plan will go under altogether. We need to save it. We need to make sure basic benefits are covered."

CWA members from Locals 1014, 1031, 1032, 1033, 1036, 1037, 1038, 1039, 1040, 1082 and 1087 are leading an effort to go door-to-door to talk to other union members to drive support for the amendment. In addition, several nights a week, CWA members participate in phone banks across the state.

Learn more and pledge to help pass the pension constitutional amendment here.


Activists Call Out T-Mobile on Its Home Turf

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T-Mobile can run, but it can't hide.

In the latest protest against the company's business practices, labor and community activists gathered outside the company's annual shareholders meeting to raise awareness about the use of deceptive advertising, unfair debt collection and fraudulent enrollment. CWA joined Change to Win, Washington AFL-CIO, Working Washington, Center for Justice, Poverty Action and many others at a demonstration in the company's hometown of Bellevue, Wash.

The action coincided with a coalition of state legislators and economic justice groups urging Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson to investigate T-Mobile. Change to Win has filed a complaint against the company, outlining how T-Mobile has broken Washington's Consumer Protection Act and violated a 2013 settlement with the attorney general over misleading advertising.

Sign the petition to urge Washington's attorney general to investigate T-Mobile.


CWAers join labor allies to protest T-Mobile's business practices in Bellevue, Wash.


Save the Date: Register for Next Gen Summit, Human Rights Conference

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Young CWA activists will meet in Detroit on July 19-July 21 for the 2016 Next Generation Summit. It's a great opportunity for young workers to meet fellow activists, develop new movement building skills, and network with allies.

Workshops will cover upholding racial and gender equality, social media and organizing, tackling the student debt crisis, and more.

The deadline to register for the Summit is July 8. The deadline for registration for the discounted hotel rate at the Detroit Marriott is July 1.

Click here to register.

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CWA Human Rights activists will meet in Atlanta on August 22-24. The joint program is put together by CWA's National Women's and Civil Rights and Equity Committees.

Click here to register and for more information.


CWA, Unions Commend CFPB Student Debt Relief Plan

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CWA joined AFT, AFSCME, and the AFL-CIO in a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) supporting a new proposal to help student loan borrowers lower their payments.

The CFPB is developing a new document called a "Payback Playbook" that will provide information to borrowers about payback options so they can choose the most affordable monthly payment plan. Without solid, factual information, borrowers end up in trouble – with late payments, defaults, damaged credit ratings, and even loss of jobs or housing. CWA has called on the CFPB to expand and improve the Payback Playbook.

Learn more here.


2016 Union Plus Scholarships Awarded

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The Union Plus scholarship program has awarded $150,000 in scholarships to 104 students representing 32 unions, including six winners from CWA families. The CWA winners are:

  • Iman Abdur-Rahman of Burtonsville, Md. Abdur-Rahman, whose father, Jonathan Abdur-Rahman, is a member of CWA Local 2108, has been awarded a $1,500 scholarship.
  • Gabilis Castillo of Yonkers, N.Y. Castillo, whose mother, Lisette Rodriguez-Castillo, is a member of CWA Local 1032, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
  • Skylar Connolly of Fishkill, N.Y. Connolly, whose father, Christopher Connolly, is a member of CWA Local 31003, has been awarded a $750 scholarship.
  • Melody Kosik of Santa Rosa, Calif. Kosik, whose mother, Doris Kosik, is a member of CWA Local 39000, has been awarded a $750 scholarship.
  • Catherine Moran of Northford, Conn. Moran, whose father, Christopher Moran, is a member of CWA Local 1298, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
  • Naomi Santa Cruz of Castaic, Calif. Santa Cruz, whose father, Anthony Santa Cruz, is a member of CWA Local 9003, has been awarded a $500 scholarship.

Applications for 2017 scholarships now are available. The deadline is January 31, 2017. Apply online here.


Envoy Bargaining

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The CWA elected bargaining committee and staff are continuing to negotiate with Envoy for a first contract covering 3,800 agents at 94 airports. Bargaining team members are: Michael Haight, Traverse City Mich.; Janet Padett, Los Angeles, Calif.; Bryce Rea, Joplin, Mo.; Marge Krueger, CWA administrative director, and District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt.