Mar 16, 2017 - Age Tax on Health Care Proposed

March 16, 2017

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Local 1040 is CWA STRONG

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CWA Local 1040, which represents more than 9,000 workers in both the public and private sectors in New Jersey, is no stranger to rising to challenges.

The local has fought tirelessly against anti-worker New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has prioritized cutting taxes for the super-wealthy, while taking money from pensions and pursuing policies that harm working families. The local has been working hard to make sure that the state keeps its commitment and provides for full funding of the public employee pension system.

Now, Local 1040 is ramping up internal organizing. Having signed up hundreds of new members last year as part of an organizing program, the local is now training 37 new activists for an Organizing Rapid Response Team that will continue this work and make communication with members and non-members a top priority.

"Our members are ready to work hard to grow our local and to make workers' voices heard," said Carolyn Wade, president of CWA Local 1040, who also leads the CWA Executive Board Organizing Committee. "The challenges we face, along with other CWA locals and the entire labor movement, are a great opportunity for us to make our union stronger."

The Rapid Response Team will talk one-on-one with every employee so that every employee knows all about the benefits of being a union member. The team will also gather feedback from their fellow employees to help further develop the organizing campaign.

"We are talking one-on-one with every employee in our workplaces," said Wade. "Our goal is to make sure that every employee knows about the important work we're doing, and has a chance to be part of a movement to shape our workplaces and communities."


Members of CWA Local 1040, including Camden City Schools custodial and maintenance workers, are making CWA STRONG.


Bargaining Update

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Piedmont Airlines

CWA's Piedmont Airlines bargaining team reported significant progress following negotiations with the airline March 7-9 in Harrisburg, Pa. Read more here.

CWA represents 4,000 passenger service agents, including reservations, ticket, and gate agents; baggage service agents; customer assistance representatives; and customer service supervisors.

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AT&T West

Elected officials throughout California and Nevada sent a letter to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and EVP of Labor Relations Mark Royse Tuesday, pointing out that AT&T denies many communities high-speed broadband and reliable landline phone access and is harming communities by cutting thousands of good, middle-class jobs.  

"AT&T made more than $16 billion in profits last year, paid out $46 million to its top executives and spent billions on costly mergers, but it's attempting to move good quality jobs out of California and Nevada," the letter states. "Workers are standing up for their communities."

Elected officials joined a media teleconference on March 14 to talk publicly about AT&T’s failure to provide many communities in California and Nevada with high-speed Internet and reliable, basic telephone service. Due to under-maintained copper lines, remote and rural areas are left without reliable landline phone access, 911 and emergency services and basic Internet service.

Read the letter here

And read some of the media coverage here and here.

Some 17,000 CWAers at AT&T West have been working without a contract for nearly a year, and members are mobilizing to focus attention on AT&T's refusal to bargain fairly.

On Apr. 9, the one-year anniversary of the previous contract expiration, CWAers will rally and march in San Jose. Keep up with the latest here.


Join CWA Action Call to Fight "Age Tax"

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CWA will hold a call on Monday, March 20, at 7:30 pm, to discuss ways to fight back against the House leadership's health care bill, which has been criticized by both Republicans and Democrats, as well as doctors' and nurses' organizations.

A provision that many are calling an "age tax" in the bill would allow insurance companies to charge workers age 50 and older five times as much as younger workers.

Healthcare workers – including many CWA members – would face layoffs and cutbacks that would degrade health services in communities across the country.

The House leadership push to repeal the ACA isn't a health care proposal, it's a $525 billion giveaway to the 1 percent and drug and insurance companies. Under the proposed plan, the richest of the rich, the top one-tenth of 1 percent, would get an average tax cut of $197,000.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has determined that 24 million Americans would lose their health care over 10 years under this repeal plan.

The CBO estimates that 64-year olds making $26,500 per year would see their premiums increase by 750 percent by 2026. While they are on track to pay $1,700 for health care under the current law, the CBO projects the proposed plan would force them to pay $14,600 – about half of their income.

Click here to sign up for the March 20 call.


Call Center Legislation to Protect American Jobs Gains Momentum

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A story in the Philadelphia Inquirer highlights CWA's recent report "Why Shipping Call Center Jobs Overseas Hurts Us Back Home." The CWA report examines how the trend of shipping call center jobs off-shore harms American workers, communities, and consumers, and highlights numerous examples of scams operating out of overseas call centers targeting Americans.

The Inquirer story and the new CWA report also draw attention to the "U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act," bipartisan legislation introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate earlier this month.

Introduced in the House (H.R.1300) by Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) and Rep. Dave McKinley (R-WV) and by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) in the Senate (S.515), with Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) as original co-sponsors, the federal call center bill would require that U.S. callers be told the location of the call center to which they are speaking; would offer callers the opportunity to be connected to a U.S.-based center if preferred; and would make U.S. companies who off-shore their call center jobs from the U.S. ineligible for certain federal grants and taxpayer-funded loans.

A Texas version of the national consumer and call center worker protection legislation was filed last week, with the goal of a House hearing in early April.

CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings said that in the past two legislative sessions, CWA activists and legislative-political boot camp leaders have been building awareness among lawmakers of how off-shoring threatens good paying call center jobs in the state.

"Rep. Alonzo, one of CWA's strongest allies in the Texas Legislature, has made HB 3797 a priority, and we will mobilize CWAers and allies across the state to lobby elected officials and get this bill through the legislative process," Cummings said.


Standing Strong in Texas

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A panel of union and community leaders in Texas joined the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting in San Antonio, and made the case that the road to restoring economic fairness and democracy nationwide starts in Texas. CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings (third from right) presented CWA's political, legislative, and organizing programs in Texas.