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CWA e-Newsletter: Nov. 13, 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.

CWAers, Allies Unite Against TPP in Week of Action

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This week has seen CWA members in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, New York, California, Texas and Colorado leafleting work sites and pushing members of Congress to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and "fast track" authority that will make any amendments to this job-killing deal impossible.

There's still time to participate in this week of action and make your voice heard.

Click here to send an email.

At StopFastTrack.com, activists can get information from a broad coalition of organizations determined to stop fast track and TPP.

More than 30 national organizations are participating in the Week of Action, sending email blasts to members, pushing out the "stop fast track" message on social media and joining in 19 separate on-the ground rallies.

CWA Local 9509 members protested outside the San Diego office of Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA), calling on her to stand up against fast track.

At a TPP Community Forum in Sacramento, sponsored by CWA Local 9421, CWA D9, Citizens Trade Campaign, Food & Water Watch, The Sacramento Central Labor Council, Sierra Club, Global Exchange, Alliance for Democracy, and SEIU 1000, a representative of Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) joined the event.

In Washington, D.C., petitions with more than 750,000 signatures opposing "fast track" authority were delivered to the offices of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR).

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, "some of the greatest public skepticism about trade and foreign investment is found in the United States." A growing coalition of small business, labor, environmental, social justice and good government groups – and voters of both parties – oppose fast track and TPP.

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More than two dozen CWAers and coalition partners rally at the office of Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) in Boulder to protest "fast track" trade promotion authority for the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

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In Sacramento, CWAers and allies hold a community forum on TPP.

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CWA Local 9509 members called on Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) at her San Diego office to tell her to stand up against fast track.

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IUE-CWA "mentees" from the union's mentorship program lobby Rep. Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.) on how fast track and TPP will harm working families and communities.


CWA President Larry Cohen Talks TPP on MSNBC

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CWA President Larry Cohen talked about TPP with MSNBC host Ed Schultz. Watch it here.

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Cohen: Our Veterans Deserve Better Than a Trade Deal that Dishonors our Democracy

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CWA President Larry Cohen issued this message on Veterans Day, Nov. 11:

This week, we celebrated Veterans Day as our Executive Board met in Washington. We made sure to honor and recognize the service of so many CWA sisters and brothers, something that rightfully should be done not just on Veterans Day but every day, by ensuring that our veterans have the jobs, opportunities and services they need.

Washington, D.C., was focused on a huge concert on the mall. Our board members however, were focused on our ongoing campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that has Vietnam as a leading "partner."

How can our nation honor our veterans, yet promote the worst trade deal we've seen yet, a deal that undoubtedly will result in jobs leaving the U.S., lower pay for U.S. workers with "tradeable" jobs, and huge gains for the Vietnamese government?

We will remember the service of so many. But we also can honor our veterans by fighting back against TPP during this week of action and in the months ahead. Vietnam has a minimum wage of 28 cents per hour, an average hourly wage of 75 cents and virtually no worker, consumer or environmental rights or protections.

When our veterans come home, we should greet them not only with parades and concerts, but with good jobs and benefits, not trade deals that dishonor our democracy and our rights and those of working families around the world.

So let's double down and do all we can to defeat TPP, for our veterans, and working families everywhere.


Feds Slap Cablevision with Third Labor Complaint in Less than Two Years

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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued another sweeping federal complaint against Cablevision and its CEO James Dolan last Thursday for violations of federal labor law at its Brooklyn unit. Cablevision was charged with illegally firing Jerome Thompson, conducting an illegal sham poll of workers to determine if they wanted to leave their union and illegally implementing changes in working conditions without bargaining with CWA.

This complaint comes on top of charges that two separate NLRB regional offices authorized against the company in April 2013: One in Brooklyn for illegally firing 22 workers, bargaining in bad faith, and spying on workers, and another in the Bronx for illegally intimidating, harassing and essentially bribing workers during a union representation election. Briefs in that case were filed on Feb. 28, and an Administrative Law Judge's decision on those charges is expected soon.

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The NLRB issued another sweeping federal complaint against Cablevision and CEO James Dolan last week for violations of federal labor law.

"The federal government has once again charged James Dolan and Cablevision with shamelessly breaking federal labor laws," said District 1 Vice President Chris Shelton. "This discriminatory and illegal treatment of hard-working men and women is unacceptable, and it's time for public officials to make clear to James Dolan that just because he's a billionaire, he doesn't get to supersede the law or trample on workers' rights. Brooklyn Cablevision workers deserve equal pay, the respect of having their federally-protected labor rights honored, and a fair contract."

The NLRB complaint cites Cablevision, Dolan and the so-called "Honest Ballot Association" (HBA) for violating the National Labor Relations Act in the following ways:

  • Cablevision illegally firing Thompson, an 11-year employee and leader of the union drive, for engaging in a "protected, concerted" effort to demand that Cablevision pay its Brooklyn employees the same as workers elsewhere in Cablevision. Thompson had previously compared the way Cablevision's discriminatory treatment of the Brooklyn workers hurt the company's reputation to the way that slavery stained America's reputation.
  • At an unannounced meeting at a company garage in September, according to the complaint, Dolan illegally threatened workers. If they voted to keep CWA in his sham poll, he implied that they would not get a pay increase, would lose their jobs and would be left behind in training.
  • Dolan illegally offered to pay off the union to "disclaim interest in representing" Cablevision workers.
  • The NLRB also charged Dolan with illegally bypassing the union at the meeting to discuss wages and working conditions directly with the employees.
  • The NLRB cited the HBA for its illegal conduct of the sham election on Sept. 10, saying that the workers were given personal PIN numbers by the HBA prior to the vote that gave workers the impression that their votes were not secret. Furthermore, the HBA illegally "surveilled" workers as they cast their ballots.
  • The NLRB also cited Cablevision for implementing two different work rules changes without bargaining over them as required by the National Labor Relations Act.

Recently, 42 of the New York City Council's 51 members wrote to the Commissioner of New York City's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication to express concerns that Cablevision may not meet city franchisee requirements because of the pending NLRB charges against the company.

For more information, visit www.thecablevision99.org.


CWA: Don't Give a Free Ride to a Handful of Companies at the Expense of All Broadband Users

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CWA issued this comment concerning President Obama's statement this week on net neutrality:

CWA supports strong rules to protect an open Internet: no blocking, full transparency, and no unreasonable discrimination. These were the rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in 2010, and they have worked to promote free expression on the Internet and the virtuous circle of job-creating investment until successfully challenged in court by Verizon.

Jobs and investment matter. The focus of Internet policy must be grounded in the reality that building a truly high-speed Internet will take hundreds of billions of dollars. Policies that tilt the Internet economy in favor of companies like Google, Amazon, and Netflix that make billions of dollars in profits are shortsighted. Such policies won't create the incentives necessary for investment and will cost good-paying jobs that our nation can't afford to lose.

CWA believes that the strongest legal basis to protect an open Internet is to follow the road map provided by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year based on Section 706. As an independent agency, the FCC should move forward with strong open Internet rules based on that road map.


Petition on AT&T Retiree Health Care

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A petition campaign organized by Steve Tisza, president of CWA Local 4250 and head of CWA Retired Members' Chapter 210, is mobilizing CWAers to fight back to safeguard retiree health care.

Be a part of the campaign and sign the petition here.


Remembering the Crew of United Flight 93

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Nick Pino, a United Airlines Flight Attendant and AFA-CWA Local 21062 member, ran his first marathon to honor his colleagues, the heroes of United Flight 93, who perished in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.

Nick Pino, a United Airlines Flight Attendant and member of AFA-CWA Local 21062, had never run a marathon. But when he was selected in a company lottery to run in the NYC Marathon, he jumped on the opportunity to run and honor his colleagues, the heroes of United Flight 93 who perished in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.

Nick dedicated his training and race to those colleagues and raised funds for the Jason Dahl Scholarship fund; Dahl was the captain of United Flight 93.

AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson said, "We're very proud of Nick for this personal memorial to our colleagues, and want to recognize his tremendous effort. We honor our friends and colleagues who lost their lives on Sept. 11 every day, through our work for the safest skies and our vigilance as aviation's first responders."


Bargaining Update

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CWA, IBEW Workers Continue Strike at FairPoint

Dozens of union activists protested yesterday outside a New York City conference attended by officials of Angelo, Gordon & Co., a Wall Street hedge fund that owns the biggest stake in the troubled telecom company FairPoint Communications. CWA and IBEW members in northern New England have been on strike at FairPoint since Oct. 17.

FairPoint negotiators walked away from the bargaining table in late August and imposed a contract that ended restrictions on subcontracting and outsourcing, froze pensions, increased health care costs for active workers, slashed retiree health care, added a two-tier wage plan and more. That move by FairPoint forced 215 members of CWA Local 1400 in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine and 1,500 members of IBEW Locals 2320, 2326 and 2327 to strike.

Angelo, Gordon & Co. owns nearly 20 percent of FairPoint shares. The Wall Street hedge fund also manages a portion of the New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF), the nation's third largest public pension fund.

"The hypocrisy of Angelo, Gordon is appalling," CWA District 1 Vice President Chris Shelton said. "They want to make huge profits by investing public employees' pensions, and then they stand by while FairPoint tries to gut workers' pensions and end retiree health care. This is a betrayal of their investors and the public and we will expose it at every opportunity."

CWA and the IBEW have filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board over FairPoint's illegally imposing contract proposals before the impasse was reached.

FairPoint bought Verizon's northern New England landlines in 2007 and filed for bankruptcy protection 18 months later. CWA and IBEW led a campaign fighting the sale at the time.


Organizing Update

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AT&T Mobility Technicians in Ohio

Eight AT&T Mobility Network technicians in Ohio have joined CWA Local 4320. The entire unit of former Alltel technicians signed up for union representation.

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Cricket Wireless

A strong majority of Cricket retail employees in both Oklahoma and Arkansas have joined CWA; the results were certified by the American Arbitration Association.

Helping make this happen were:

Local 6012 – President Chad Barnhill, Secretary-Treasurer Dave Ratcliff, VPs Shelley Mims and LareRonita Ratcliff, and Chief Steward Roger Waldrup.
Local 6016 – President Monica Eason and VP Jay Albertson.
Local 6502 – President Mary Ann Hopkins, EVP Jim Murray, and Stewards Will Wooten and Todd Seaman.
Local 6505 – President Michael Richmond and Secretary-Treasurer Joe Grubbs.
Local 6507 – President Gerald Murray and VP Carolyn Williams.

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Elko County, Nevada Deputy Sheriffs

The Elko County Deputy Sheriffs Association, representing 44 deputies, voted to affiliate with CWA Local 9110/Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers.


Next CWA Telephone Town Hall Call on Nov. 20

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Sign up now for the next CWA town hall call on Thursday, Nov. 20, starting at 7:30 pm ET. The call will last half an hour.

Register at http://cwa-union.org/cwacall and pick up the phone when you get the call.