CWA e-Newsletter: Mar. 6, 2014 | Communications Workers of America

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CWA e-Newsletter: Mar. 6, 2014

CWA e-Newsletter

Want to be in next week's CWA Newsletter? Send your stories and photos to blog@cwa-union.org or @CWANews. Follow the latest developments at www.resistancegrowing.org.

Building a Movement

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Ethical Thursdays

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CWA Local 3570's Brenda Rice-Scott calls for a pay raise for state workers.

Below: Several organizations and state employee groups turned out for the rally.

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"Ethical Thursdays" are bringing thousands of Mississippi activists to the state capitol in Jackson to stand up for economic justice and democracy.

Inspired by Moral Monday actions that have spread from North Carolina to Georgia to Florida, Ethical Thursdays are protesting the attack on working people in Mississippi by Tea Party Republicans and outside groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), said Brenda Rice-Scott, president of CWA Local 3570-Mississippi Alliance of State Employees.

The Mississippi legislature has attacked workers' pensions, refused to support health care for the state's poorest citizens and are looking to do away with due process for state workers, reinstating a decades-old system of favoritism, Rice-Scott said.

Last Thursday, workers and allies gathered at the Capitol, ready to "wake up Mississippians to vote for people who represent their interests," Rice-Scott said. Speakers talked about what activists need to do to move forward on education, health care, fixing the criminal justice system and workers' rights.

Today, protesters are again rallying on the south steps of the capitol and wearing black to highlight the dire consequences if the legislature fails to act now.

"We believe that by uniting together, it will go a long way to building and sustaining a Mississippi movement to counter those whose agenda is to set our state on a return to economic and moral dishonesty," Rice-Scott wrote. "The progressive members of the legislature need our continuing presence and support as they attempt to fight the mean-spirited legislation aimed at furthering the divide in our state. Let's create a determined movement with our leadership and the people we serve and advance the gains we've made together over the years."

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Moral Mondays in Tallahassee

This week, CWAers joined members of the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and others in a Moral Monday rally that called on the Florida legislature to "have some morals and raise their standards when it comes to enacting laws."

The rally focused on voting rights, equal justice, education and other issues.

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Lobby Day in Albany

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CWAers from New York, with a big contingent from Local 1180, rally before heading to legislators' offices.

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About 250 CWAers were a big part of Lobby Day at the state capitol in Albany, N.Y., with CWA Local 1180 leading the way with 150 activists. CWAers pushed members of the state legislature to get big money out of politics by adopting a plan for public financing of elections, and to fairly fund universal pre-kindergarten programs for all New York children.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has included funding for public financing of elections in his budget, now it's up to the State Assembly and Senate to include the measure in their proposed budgets. Public financing of elections would limit the sway and influence of big money corporate interests and lobbyists in our political process, and would restore the voice of small donors.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has made universal pre-kindergarten a key part of his program and has proposed a tax on the wealthiest 1 percent to fully fund it on a year-to-year basis. Almost 75,000 kids need high-quality pre-kindergarten in New York City alone, and fewer than 20,000 now receive full-day, quality instruction.


Stand Up, Fight Back!

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The labor movement is uniting behind the UAW as it appeals to the National Labor Relations Board, contesting the failed representation election at Volkswagen's Tennessee plant.

Together we are stronger. And together, we can fight back against the blatant outside interference of Sen. Bob Corker and other Republican politicians in Tennessee who made outrageous, false claims about the UAW in the run up to the election. Corker, who opposed the auto bailout, even went so far as to say a "no" union vote would lead to a Volkswagen expansion in the state – an outright lie. Since union members sit in half of the seats on the Volkswagen board of supervisors, it's certain that Corker wasn't telling the truth.

Collective bargaining is good for workers and good for the economy. UAW President Bob King pointed out this week that collective bargaining and collaboration actually saved nearly 2,400 jobs of Tennesseans and created more than $350 million in investments for workers and communities in Tennessee.

He wrote:

The UAW is working with many domestic manufacturing companies, making sure they are efficient and profitable. In auto and other manufacturing sectors, UAW members have been sharing in the success of their employers through collectively bargained, transparent and rewarding profit sharing plans.

While some politicians have put ideology and their personal interests above those of citizens facing high unemployment and good jobs being shipped overseas, the UAW has helped create more middle-class paying jobs in Tennessee than any other entity.


US Airways Flight Attendants Ratify Bargaining Agreement with APFA

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US Airways Flight Attendants, members of AFA-CWA, ratified an agreement on bargaining and representation negotiated by AFA-CWA and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA). APFA represents Flight Attendants at American Airlines.

US Airways Flight Attendants also ratified an agreement with American Airlines management that establishes a joint negotiations protocol for a single contract at the New American Airlines. This ensures that the US Airways contract will be included in negotiations and a new economic standard for improvements will be part of the expedited negotiations process. AFA-CWA elected leaders will work in full partnership with APFA throughout the negotiations.

"Our work together continues. US Airways AFA-CWA members have helped build our union and have negotiated many of the protections that Flight Attendants have today, including the industry's gold standard for seniority integration. We will bring these experiences to this partnership with AFPA," said AFA-CWA International President Veda Shook.

"US Airways Flight Attendants are eager to take full advantage of the benefits of the US Airways-American merger. We are making history by partnering AFA and APFA to use the combined strength and resources of our two unions to negotiate the best contract at the world's biggest airline. US Airways Flight Attendants bring 65 years of bargaining experience with AFA to this merger and we proudly stand in solidarity with our new flying partners at American to honor histories and launch our promising future as American Flight Attendants working together – 24,000 strong," said Roger Holmin, AFA US Airways President.

AFA-CWA and APFA are forming a joint negotiating team with an equal number of representatives and professional advisors; they will prepare contract proposals based on the best of both contracts and input from all Flight Attendants at the New American.


Check It Out!

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Check out this new comic book explaining the Trans-Pacific Partnership by writer Michael Goodwin and artist Dan E. Burr at http://economixcomix.com/home/tpp/.