Jun 15, 2017 - Legislation Aims to Destroy Unions

June 15, 2017

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Local 1180 is CWA STRONG

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In a challenging time for labor unions, Local 1180 is organizing to make a difference.

Local 1180 is one of the largest CWA public sector locals, representing more than 8,500 workers and 6,200 retirees. Most work in one of dozens of New York City Mayoral agencies; others at the Health and Hospitals Corporation, the Board of Education, the Housing Authority, the Transit Authority, the School Construction Authority, and the state's Unified Court System. Local 1180 also represent workers at private companies such as the Jacob Javits Convention Center; and at not-for-profit organizations including Planned Parenthood of New York City, the ASPCA, Human Rights First, and Human Rights Watch.


More than 100 Local 1180 members took to the steps of City Hall for Equal Pay Day. The Union's favorable settlement with the City was announced at the rally, setting off a roaring round of applause.

Over the past year, the local has adopted a community-based internal organizing strategy to not only sign up new members, but also help members get engaged and build a powerful grassroots network in their local communities. With this strategy in place, Local 1180 President Arthur Cheliotes says that they've seen a big rise in members showing up to local borough meetings to make their voices heard.

"Our goal as a union is to make sure that we're an effective voice for workers in collective bargaining, as well as an organization that speaks for working people in our communities," said Cheliotes. "Our members – and not just stewards – are talking to their coworkers individually to make sure they know how the union is working to improve their lives, and to then get them actively involved in strengthening our efforts."

The work that the local has done has had concrete benefits for workers. This April, the local reached a favorable settlement in an EEOC case against the City of New York for pay discrimination, with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling that the city needed to give raises to the workers and back pay and other damages totaling more than $246 million. Additionally, the local was able to get 40 out of 51 New York City Council members to support a bill to require gender wage data for the public sector and City contractors to be made available and transparent to the public.

"Our union is here to make sure that workers are being treated fairly in the workplace, and to improve the lives of our families and communities," said Cheliotes.


Bargaining Update

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AT&T West and DIRECTV West

Last week, the CWA District 9 bargaining teams reached a tentative agreement with AT&T West and DIRECTV West.

The tentative four-year settlement provides for pay raises, improvements in job security and retirement benefits, continued affordable healthcare, and other improvements for AT&T West and DIRECTV West workers in California and Nevada. This proposed contract is the first for DIRECTV workers.

Ratification ballots will be mailed to members on Monday, June 19, 2017, and will be due in the Post Office box on July 5, 2017, in order to be counted.

If you do not receive a ballot, please contact your local union office.

Learn more here.


CWA: House Legislation 'Full of Malicious Intent' to Destroy Labor Unions

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On Wednesday, CWA General Counsel Jody Calemine testified at a House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions hearing on three bills that deny workers' their right to bargain for better wages and working conditions. These bills undermine the union election process, a critical step towards workers joining together for a stronger voice in the workplace.

The "Employee Rights Act" (H.R. 2723) rigs union elections by treating every employee who did not vote as having voted against the union. The "Employee Privacy Protection Act" (H.R. 2775) prohibits unions from having the same access to employees' contact information as the employer during the election process, preventing employees from being informed about union representation. And the "Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act" (H.R. 2776) mandates arbitrary waiting periods that delay elections and empower employers to gerrymander the voting composition of bargaining units by adding employees who have expressed no interest in joining the union.

"These bills are chock full of malicious intent to render elections absurdly undemocratic, strip workers of rights, take control of unions away from union members, drain union treasuries, and otherwise destroy labor unions," said Calemine at the hearing. "In provision after provision, an already tilted playing field is tilted even further against the American workers. These bills don't reflect sound policy or an attempt at consistent application of rules – but are a naked political assault on labor unions and nothing more."

Read the full testimony from Calemine here.


Why Congress Should Get Behind the Bipartisan 'U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act'

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Reps. Gene Green (D-TX) and David B. McKinley (R-WV) wrote an op-ed for The Hill about why Congress should pass bipartisan legislation to stop the off-shoring of call center jobs:

There's a growing and bipartisan consensus that Congress needs to do more to strengthen American industries and put American workers first. From trade agreements to outsourcing policy, we are engaging in an overdue conversation that cuts across usual ideologies. However, while most of the discussion thus far has focused on the manufacturing sector, American service sector jobs need to be part of this important conversation.

In particular, call center and customer service industry jobs are a major and underappreciated economic force in the United States, including for our constituents. There are 54,000 call center jobs in the Greater Houston area alone and 17,000 in the state of West Virginia. Nationwide, there are about 4 million people employed by the call center and customer service industry.

These are good jobs, which in many American communities serve as a key pillar of local economies.

However, many call center jobs have been shipped overseas in the past decade, as companies look to slash benefits and pay dramatically lower wages overseas. Between the years 2006 and 2014, the U.S. lost more than 200,000 call center jobs, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

This off-shoring trend comes at a tremendous cost to America. As a new report from the Communications Workers of America (CWA) titled "Why Shipping Call Center Jobs Overseas Hurts Us Back Home" reminds us, off-shoring call center jobs is harmful to the security of U.S. consumers' sensitive information, as well as bad for American workers and communities.

The overdue bipartisan focus on strengthening American workers' hands, and the new CWA report, both make a strong case for the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act. This bipartisan legislation, which we recently introduced in the House alongside a companion Senate bill from Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), would deter companies from shipping American jobs overseas and incentivize them to locate in the U.S. Our bill would create a public list of 'bad actor' companies who shipped all or most of their service work overseas. Being on the list would make these actors ineligible for certain federal grants or taxpayer-funded guaranteed loans.

Read the full piece here


Call Center Update

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CWAers presented postcards and asked their Senators to support bipartisan national call center legislation, the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, which would help curb offshoring of American jobs and protect American consumers.

Pictured: AT&T Mobility workers from CWA local 7200 ask Senators Amy Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken of Minnesota to support the legislation; CenturyLink workers from CWA Local 7019 ask Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona to support the bill.


CWA: NAFTA Doesn’t Need Be "Tweaked" – We Need Overhaul to Benefit Working Families

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At the close of the public comment period on Monday for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), CWA released details about related comments they submitted to United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer. In both a letter from CWA President Chris Shelton, as well as in comments submitted by hundreds of CWA members and activists across the country, CWA emphasized that NAFTA's renegotiation must put working families first.

CWA President Chris Shelton said, "NAFTA does not need to be simply tweaked or updated. NAFTA, and our approach to trade policy in general, needs to be fundamentally overhauled to actually benefit working families. It would be a wasted opportunity and deeply destructive to turn NAFTA into a version of TPP for the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Instead, we must replace this deal written by and for multinational corporations with an agreement that is designed to live up our values, create jobs, and raise wages for working men and women across North America."

Read more here.


CWA Local 1096 Uncovers Significant Gender Pay Gap at Dow Jones

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Last year CWA Local 1096 (IAPE) published data showing a significant pay gap at Dow Jones between men and women among its members. The company in response studied the matter and said their internal and external reviews showed that salaries did not vary because of gender.

Now, IAPE has commissioned a detailed study of male and female pay rates at Dow Jones — and the troubling results confirm the previous findings that pay disparities at the company are very real, and longstanding.

The study, conducted by Strength in Numbers Consulting Group, looked at Dow Jones pay data for every union-represented employee from 2000 to the middle of 2016 and found that there was a significant gender pay gap in every location, in every quarter, and within the largest single job category of reporter.

The study's findings on reporter salaries show notable pay disparities within a single job category, which undercuts the company's suggestion that gender pay differences are due more to factors like the company having more men working in IT jobs, which pay more, and more women in customer service, which pays less. Strength in Numbers also found that among the reporters of Dow Jones, there is a significant pay gap between men and women that cannot be explained away by experience.

Read the full analysis and learn how you can take action here.


AFA-CWA New Officer Training

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AFA-CWA President Sara Nelson swore in new AFA-CWA officers at a training in Washington, D.C., this week. CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens also spoke to the group.


Equal Rest for Flight Attendants: Call Congress Now

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Both the Senate and the House are drafting their version of the FAA Reauthorization Bills, and AFA-CWA is urging Congress to make combatting Flight Attendant fatigue a top priority.

Click here to learn more, and to tell your Senators and Representatives to include AFA-CWA’s 10 hours minimum rest provision along with a Fatigue Risk Management Plan (FRMP) in their respective bills.


Beirne Scholarships Awarded for 2017-2018

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The CWA Joe Beirne Foundation was established in October 1974 by the Communications Workers of America Executive Board to honor the name and memory of the founding President of CWA, who served for more than 30 years.

Fifteen partial college scholarships of $3,000 each are being offered for the 2017-2018 school year. Winners, selected in a lottery drawing, also will receive second-year scholarships of the same amount, contingent upon satisfactory academic accomplishment.

Eligible for the awards are CWA members and their spouses, children and grandchildren, including those of retired or deceased members.

2017-18 Winners:

Gaetan Dupont, son of Kevin Dupont, Local 31245
Jordain Williams, daughter of Garth Williams, Local 1109
Emma Passy, daughter of Charles Passy, Local 1096
Kristine Santoro, daughter of Jaime Buonocore, Local 1105
Robert Michalofsky, son of Jeffrey Michalofsky, Local 13345
Rebekah Messamore, daughter of Shelia Messamore, Local 3204
Shalisa Whitely, daughter of Katrina Whitely, Local 3902
Chase Cunningham, son of Eric Cunningham, Local 4502
William Valentine, son of William Valentine, Local 4004
Gabriella Garza, daughter of Joe Garza, Local 6171
Brittany Hernandez, daughter of Tiffany Page, Local 6016
Nicole Newman, daughter of Denise Newman, Local 7200
Cecilia V. Areat, member, Local 9509
Makaiya Marshall, daughter of Marcus Marshall, Local 9423
Daniel Mills, son of Elaine Della-Mattia Mills, Local 30746