CWA e-Newsletter: Aug. 27, 2015 | Communications Workers of America

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CWA e-Newsletter: Aug. 27, 2015

CWA e-Newsletter

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CWA Passenger Agents Mobilize for 'Industry Leading Contract' at American

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As bargaining for a first contract for 14,500 agents at American Airlines continues this week, passenger service agents are gearing up mobilization and putting management on notice: "we're standing together to get an industry-leading contract by 10-17-15." That's the date American Airlines consolidates all systems and operations with US Airways, and agents are reminding management that it could not have accomplished the merger without their hard work.

Negotiations are intensifying, and the CWA bargaining team is urging agents to ramp up their actions and do as much as possible, including volunteering for informational picketing. The next telephone town hall, where American agents can hear about the latest efforts and progress, will be Sept. 2. Click here for more information.

CWA bargainers report that it's a critical time in negotiations, especially around the key issues that members identified as most significant, including classifications, vacations, holidays, medical insurance and compensation.

 

AA Bargaining

In Dallas, the CWA bargaining team works on proposals for first contract covering 14,500 agents at American Airlines.

CWA bargainer Vickey Hoots, president of CWA Local 3640, said "progress is being made, but slowly, and management needs to hear from all of us."

Earlier this month, reservations agents at airports, joined by home-based agents, held actions at locations nationwide that featured activists and supporters in CWA red. Flight Attendants and Pilots joined the solidarity events, and more actions are coming. Click here for updates and photos.

Members also are signing up for the "Take 10" mobilization campaign, pledging to communicate and connect with 10 co-workers. Click here for bargaining updates and to learn more about what you can do.

The CWA bargaining team includes Richard Shaughnessy, CWA Local 3140; MIA; Kenneth Grunwald, CWA Local 3640; SERO; CWA Local 1171 President Tom Gunning; CWA Local 3640 President Vickey Hoots and Roxanne Hartfield, CWA Local 1171, LGA.

 

Miami and Raleigh

Airport agents in Miami (left) and agents at the Southeastern Reservations Office in Raleigh-Durham (right) put management on notice: it's time we got an industry-leading contract.


AFA-CWA Files for Federal Mediation in United Airlines Negotiations

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After three years of negotiations between United Airlines Flight Attendants and the airline, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) has asked the National Mediation Board (NMB) to step in.

"The long-term success of United Airlines depends upon current executives finishing this merger, which includes negotiating a joint Flight Attendant contract, and making good on promises to employees, Capitol Hill and the traveling public," AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson said.

"A clear dispute exists and it is time for federal mediation," Nelson continued. "We are calling on management to negotiate a fair contract within the reality of record profits. Three years after the talks for a joint contract began, management doesn't seemed focused on negotiating a contract Flight Attendants can ratify."

United has failed to reach a unified labor contract with its 24,000 Flight Attendants despite a boast by United Chief Executive Jeff Smisek following the airline's October 2010 merger with Continental that he would complete joint contracts with all workers by the end of 2011. Meanwhile, United Airlines is making record profits and its 2015 income will be more than five times higher than in 2013. Smisek's pay is up 32% and other top executives and shareholders are also cashing in.

United further showed it is tone deaf by recently announcing that it is investing $100 million in a Brazilian airline while refusing to invest in its own workers without a joint contract. Flight Attendants today continue to work separate schedules and on separate airplanes as if they were employed by pre-merger United, Continental or Continental Micronesia. This leads to inefficiencies for the airline and Flight Attendants, and these inefficiencies are, of course, experienced by passengers as well.

Mediation under the Railway Labor Act is a formal, statutorily prescribed process. NMB mediation is not binding. The contract would become effective only by agreement of both parties and it would be subject to membership ratification. If mediation does not result in an agreement, the union may petition for a release, which would lead to a strike deadline. AFA-CWA is focused on reaching an agreement that Flight Attendants can ratify and that contributes to completing the operational integration of United Airlines.

Negotiations updates are posted on OurContract.org, along with a further explanation of mediation.


New York Attorney General, Consumer Groups Call for Verizon, Telecom Industry Investigation

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New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is calling for a formal investigation of telecommunications corporations in the state, including Verizon, "to fully understand the impact of deregulation on consumers and businesses" in a letter to the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC).

Elected officials and community members also have been speaking out on how the corporations are serving their areas, in particular Verizon, at public hearings that the NYPSC has been holding across New York State. Adding Schneiderman's voice and the prestige of his office is a validation to what mayors from across the state and members of the public have been telling the NYPSC: Verizon is abandoning its traditional landline network while refusing to build FiOS in their cities.

Read more here.

The NYPSC public hearings and the reports that come out afterward aren't enough, Schneiderman said. A formal proceeding in front of an administrative judge "provides for evidence-gathering, allows for cross-examination and counter-evidence, and concludes with a final order or decision by the PSC," he wrote in the letter. Such a proceeding could develop facts on the issues that are being raised at the hearings:

  • whether there is adequate competition for broadband service throughout the various regions of New York State, and whether there are any areas that are still essentially cable monopolies;
  • whether telecommunications companies are making honest representations about infrastructure build-out;
  • whether consumers are satisfied with the various voice service options available to New York consumers; and
  • whether Verizon is adequately upgrading or repairing its copper wire infrastructure, which is especially critical for New Yorkers who rely solely on landline service (in the absence of other voice options).

Read the letter here.


Bargaining Update

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CWA and IBEW Reach Tentative Agreement on Contract

CWA and the IBEW have each reached a tentative agreement with Johnson Controls Inc., covering more than 140 workers. Details will be released to the membership who will vote on ratification.

About 98 of the workers are CWA members in CWA District 4 locals, and work as facility engineers, facility mechanics and lead and senior engineers doing building maintenance at all AT&T buildings. The CBRE Group is in the process of purchasing GWS from Johnson Controls.

Standing Up to Verizon

Michael Ciancarelli, president of CWA Local 1106 told the Queens Courier, "The company basically wants to eliminate the entire contract. They want to take away things guys have had for 30 years." Read more here.

 

Mobilization and rallies continue!

 

Queens

Nearly 300 New York City activists rallied outside a Queens building owned by Verizon. Make the Road New York, Citizen Action of New York and politicians, including state Senator Toby Stavisky, state Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, joined CWA Locals 1101, 1102, 1103, 1104, 1105, and 1109 last week.

 

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Annapolis

Fred Mason, Jr., president of the Maryland state and District of Columbia AFL-CIO, addressed nearly 200 CWAers at a rally in Annapolis, MD. Members from CWA Locals 2106, 2107, 2108, 2100, 2101, 2105, 2201, 2222, 2204, 2336, and 13000 were there to build support for their fair contract fight.

Members of CWA Local 2204 also held an informational picket at the Luck Avenue work site in Roanoke, Va. Verizon retirees and members of Steelworkers Local 1023 showed their solidarity and joined the action.

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13500 in Philly

In Philadelphia, members of Local 13500 call out 'Verigreedy' for its attacks on good jobs and benefits.

 

AT&T Southeast Workers Hold their Ground

Workers are standing up for what's right: Families, equal treatment, fairness, healthcare and respect.

Get the latest bargaining updates here.

 

3805

CWA Local 3805 activists picketed for a fair contract at their work site along 9733 Parkside Drive in Knoxville, Tenn. Workers told AT&T that they will not accept higher health care costs, unsafe working conditions and other concessions the corporation has been demanding at the bargaining table.

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3310

CWA Local 3310 activists picketed near their work site, the main yard for construction and engineering techs at Bardstown Road in Louisville, Ky. Among the critical issues in negotiations is work schedules for wire technicians, which currently require them to work extremely late, long and excessive hours.

TV Location Department Workers Show their Union Colors

 

Steiner Studios

Location department employees working in film and episodic television gathered outside Stage 3 at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn. Just last month, these workers, who are integral to all New York City shoots, joined CWA Local 1101. Now they're wearing CWA lanyards on set and red on Thursdays to show their unity.


CWA, Media Sector 'Heartsick' Over Journalists' Murders

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CWA issued this statement on the Aug. 26 murder of two Roanoke, Va., journalists:

"This morning's senseless tragedy in Roanoke, Va., struck close to home for the journalists and other news media workers represented by The NewsGuild-CWA and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA).

"We are heartsick over the killings of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. Our thoughts and prayers are with their grieving colleagues, friends and families," said CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens. "We also pray for the recovery of Vicki Garner, the woman the journalists were interviewing, who was badly wounded."

The threats journalists face on the job every day do not normally include attacks from their former coworkers. But tragically, work-related shootings and other violence are not uncommon in the United States. Our members in the media sector and all of the Communications Workers of America are gravely concerned about this issue and committed to helping build safe workplaces.

Whatever the shooter's motive, two young people who were looking forward to long and happy lives are gone today. We join with WDBJ, the Roanoke community and all those who loved Alison and Adam in mourning their loss.


Thousands of Working Ohioans Show Up to Protest a Koch Brothers Summit

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More than 3,500 working people from across Ohio and neighboring states – including hundreds of CWAers – showed up in downtown Columbus, OH, last week. They came to protest a summit funded by the billionaire Koch brothers that was all about how to undermine the collective bargaining rights of American workers.

The Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity had planned a "Defending the American Dream Summit" and Ohioans turned out in force to tell them to stop the attacks on working people.

"Thousands of Ohio working families, which included many from CWA Locals, were on hand to greet the extremist Americans for Prosperity group and let them know that 'right-to-work' is wrong for Ohio and wrong for America," CWA District 4 Vice President Linda Hinton said.

Ohio is again likely to be a huge battleground in 2016 and Cleveland has been chosen to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. There are ongoing battles in the state, too. For instance, Gov. John Kasich and allies in the Statehouse pushed through Senate Bill 5 in 2011, which sought to strip public workers of their bargaining rights. A broad union and progressive coalition gathered more than 1 million signatures to get a referendum on the issue; voters overwhelmingly rejected the bill.

Kasich has stated publicly that refighting the bargaining rights battle is not on his agenda but State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-27 th District) has vowed to re-introduce a "right-to-work" measure in the legislature. The Republican governors of Michigan and Indiana similarly disavowed "right-to-work" agendas only to sign them into laws once passed by their legislatures.

 

Koch

Left: CWAers in Columbus were ready for the Koch Brothers and showed they're ready to turn back any attack on workers' rights. Right: A family affair in the state capital, with the grandchildren of Local 4310 VP Dianne Bailey featured on the newspaper's front page.

Tagged the #DefendTheDream rally, the march to the summit venue at the Greater Columbus Convention Center quickly took on a festive atmosphere. A broad coalition of labor and community groups – including lots of CWAers, the Ohio AFL-CIO, Stand Up for Ohio and We Are Ohio – began planning once news leaked out about the summit. CWA locals were asked to spread the word: come all and bring family and friends. And that is how CWA Local 4310 Vice President Dianne Bailey's grandkids ended up on the front page of the Columbus Dispatch newspaper.

"Virtually every union in Ohio was represented. Just the sheer number of people really impressed me. It was serious but people were joyous. They were there to let the Koch brothers know that every time they come to Ohio to talk about 'right to work,' we'll be right here to let people know it's not going to work," said CWA District 4 Political Director Frank Mathews.


Pride at Work's Triennial Convention

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P@W

CWAers attended the annual Pride at Work Convention in Orlando, FL, this week. With a convention theme of "Out and Organizing," Pride at Work is getting back to its roots. The convention has a renewed focus on growing Pride at Work chapters, educating labor movement allies and expanding benefits and protections for LGBT workers. For more information, click here or email info@prideatwork.org.


Organizing Update

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29 Cricket Retail Workers in Utah Join CWA

A majority of Utah's Cricket Retail employees have signed Consent Authorization cards to join CWA, reported CWA District 7 Administrative Director Al Kogler. The 29 workers in this group will be represented by Local 7704 in Salt Lake City. AT&T Mobility members Jason Schneider from CWA Local 7777 and JJ Vosnos from CWA Local 7704 supported the workers in their campaign to gain a voice on the job. All Cricket retail workers in D-7 are now members of CWA.


Enter the Union Privilege Labor Day Contest

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This Labor Day, while enjoying a picnic or day at the beach, union members also can reflect a bit on union history with a chance to win $500.

Union Plus is the AFL-CIO backed program that offers union members and their families discounts and consumer benefits on a wide range of services and products, from AT&T Mobility wireless service to car rental services to scholarship programs.

Three union members who vote for their favorite historic labor leader and complete the form will be rewarded with $500. The sweepstakes ends Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, so get your entry in now.


The $64,000 Question...

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Are you ready to take the "$64,000 Democracy For All Video Challenge?"

Big money in politics affects all of us. Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United have unleashed an onslaught of spending in our elections, creating a government beholden to wealthy interests, rather than "We the People." The question of how we get our democracy back has become the $64,000 question – the big question – of our day.

Fortunately, taking action to fight the influence of big money just got a lot easier and more fun. CWA is teaming up with more than 130 other groups to offer a video contest, where you can submit a video about money in politics reform and inspire others to take action, too.

Between August 12 and December 2, go to www.DemocracyForAll.com and submit a short video (30-90 seconds) about big money in politics and the need for a constitutional amendment – the Democracy For All Amendment – to overturn Citizens United. You may want to enter early: there's a $1,000 prize every week, plus five category prizes of $5,000 each and a grand prize of $25,000 at the end of the contest.

Even if you've never made a video, it's as simple as picking up your phone and hitting 'record.'

The videos can be funny, serious, creative, dramatic, or musical. You can talk about other issues that are important to you, as long as you tie it back to the influence of money in politics and the need for the Democracy For All amendment.

So take the challenge. Make a video. Maybe win some money. And together, we can spread the word and build our campaign to get big money out of politics.

Learn more at www.democracyforall.com.


Have a Union-Made Labor Day

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It's that time of year again!

 

Union made

When shopping for your Labor Day cookout, keep in mind that these products are made by union brothers and sisters.

Also, here's a list of Back-to-School supplies that are union-made.