Jun 22, 2017 - New Contract at CenturyLink

June 22, 2017

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CWA Statement on the Senate's Health Care Plan

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Just like the House Republican health care bill, the Senate plan announced today provides big tax cuts for health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, and, of course, the wealthiest Americans. Union members fortunate enough to keep their coverage, however, will be punished with higher costs under the "Cadillac tax" that Republicans left in place.

In many ways, this Senate version, drafted in complete secrecy by a handful of Republican leaders – all men – is worse than the House bill.

Read the full statement by CWA President Chris Shelton here.


Bargaining Update

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CenturyLink

CenturyLink workers voted with a strong majority to ratify an agreement with CenturyLink that extends the current contract by 3 years. The contract covers about 10,300 employees in 13 different states including Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

The deal includes wage increases of 3%, 2.5%, and 2.5% over the term of the agreement.

In late 2016, CenturyLink made it clear to CWA that they wanted to roll back health and welfare benefits, increasing out of pocket costs and deductibles. The company also indicated they wanted changes to disability, pensions, life insurance, and the 401K plan. The bargaining committee was able to push back on many of these items.

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AT&T East

Workers at AT&T East ratified a new contract covering about 200 workers at CWA Local 1298.

The contract provides for pay raises, improvements in severance benefits, continued affordable healthcare and other improvements for AT&T East workers in Connecticut.


Call Center Legislation Update

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CWA's nationwide fight to protect call center jobs continues with several states taking action to pass legislation that would help keep jobs in the U.S.

Ohio

Lawmakers from the Ohio House of Representatives held a hearing this week on state legislation that would stand up against the offshoring of call center jobs from Ohio.

Introduced in both houses of the state legislature, HB 245 would help revitalize the Ohio call center and customer service industry. The legislation would create a list of Ohio companies that offshore call center and customer service jobs to overseas locations and would deny these companies access to taxpayer dollars in any form. The bill also would require that all customer service and call center work done on behalf of the state of Ohio is done within the state.

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New York

The New York version of the call center legislation, sponsored by New York Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, passed in the New York State Assembly by 101 to 14 votes. The legislation will be taken up by the State Senate next.


New York Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal (fourth from left) sponsored CWA-supported legislation to save call center jobs.


How AT&T's Outsourcing Compromises Customer Service and Job Quality

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Frustrated that AT&T has failed to come to the table with serious proposals that protect good jobs, wireless retail workers – members of CWA – are taking their concerns about the telecom giant's expanding web of third-party dealer stores, known as authorized retailers, directly to customers. Workers launched a new website – ATTConsumerAlert.org – that provides tips to help customers spot these dealer stores and their Wells Fargo-style quota systems that may create service headaches for millions of people.

A new report released by CWA provides an in-depth look at the company's vast network of more than 3,360 stores that operate under the guise of AT&T's logo but are actually owned by third parties that run a low-cost business model that brings risks of not only worker exploitation, but also customer harm. Over the past few years, AT&T has increasingly handed over the operations of its retail operations to these third-party dealers—they now represent over 60% of all AT&T branded stores.

"Because AT&T's authorized retailers push a 'quantity over quality' mentality, in my experience authorized retail employees simply don't have the resources to provide the trustworthy and reliable customer service customers expect," said John Morrison, an AT&T retail worker in Florida. "There is a never-ending stream of AT&T customers coming into my store with complaints from dealers. What's the result: my co-workers and I lose out on our own pay to clean up the mess and our customers get the runaround—all while AT&T brings in billions in profits."

The Consumerist published a piece highlighting the issues with AT&T's network of third-party dealers:

"AT&T's third party dealer stores look like full-fledged AT&T outlets, but they are often skeleton operations with smaller staffs and less ability to meet customer needs,” reads a newly released report [PDF] from the union. "It appears that the companies running these stores are not looking to burnish the brand – after all, they depend on AT&T to provide a quality network and compelling marketing – rather they seem to be seeking to maximize sales with minimum expenses."

The CWA maintains that third-party owned locations provide a degraded customer service experience, and their report contains a long list of alleged issues that they claim stem from a sales-focused culture, lower pay, and aggressive commission structure offered by third-party dealers. The union is pushing for AT&T to commit to a specific ratio of corporate-owned to authorized retailers — a concession that would place a check on the growth of the third-party operations.

Read the full piece here.


'Malicious Intent' of House Legislation in Full View

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Last week, CWA General Counsel Jody Calemine testified before a House Subcommittee on three bills that would deny workers the right to bargain for better wages and working conditions.

When we were watching Calemine's testimony, we wondered why the guy sitting behind him seemed so excited about these bills that would take away our freedom to join together and negotiate for a fair return on our work. Here's what we found out.


Local 1031 is CWA Strong

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The CWA Strong movement continues to spread! On June 12, over 35 CWA Local 1031 elected officers, shop stewards, and branch presidents gathered for a CWA Strong training on building workplace power and resisting corporate attacks on our union.

Branch Presidents and Shop Stewards are putting plans in place to strengthen the union by signing up new members in the workplace. Local 1031 represents public sector workers at State Colleges and Universities, and several municipal libraries across New Jersey.


Runaway Inequality

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CWAers from Locals 1101, 1106, 1109, and 1180 gathered for a Runaway Inequality training to learn how to fight for a better future for everyone – not just the top 1%.


StoryCorps Employees Call on Management to Voluntarily Recognize Union, Stop Anti-Union Campaign

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A week ago, the workers at StoryCorps in New York City filed for a union election to join CWA, and instead of embracing the organization's values and listening to the voices of their workers, management has gone full anti-union. Workers have been forced to attend captive audience meetings and listen to anti-union lectures aimed at preventing them from exercising their right to organize and demand a voice on the job.

StoryCorps workers want a voice and a say in their working conditions. Anti-union captive audience meetings should not be something any worker has to endure to exercise their rights on the job – especially not at an organization that claims to have a work environment "where respect and dignity are paramount."

Take action and learn more here.


StoryCorps workers are fighting for a voice on the job.


CWA-IBT Association Seeks Answers to American Uniform Problems

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After the introduction of new uniforms last September, hundreds of American Airlines agents reported negative physical reactions ranging from rashes and swollen eyes to nausea.

The CWA-IBT Passenger Service Association, representing around 15,000 agents at American Airlines, has documented these negative impacts and is working with American Airlines management to ensure that any future uniforms address agents' concerns about negative physical reactions and other health issues.

As the process of selecting a new uniform design and supplier goes forward, agents will continue to have several uniform options, including wool, polyester, 100 percent cotton, and off-the-shelf clothing.

"The union's primary goal is to ensure that no agent's health is put at risk on the job," said CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt, head of CWA's airline bargaining council. "We demanded that management investigate the problem and ensure proper testing while continuing to work on a long-term solution."