As members of CWA, most of us are covered by a union contract that we negotiate with our employer.
Our contract establishes rights, wages and benefits that cannot be changed by management without negotiating with us and our elected union representatives.
CWA members determine the bargaining priorities.
CWA contracts typically guarantee:
- Pay levels and increases.
- Employment security with layoff protections.
- Fair treatment on the job.
- Due process during disciplinary actions.
- Retirement benefits.
- Paid time off for vacations and holidays.
- Medical coverage and sick pay.
- Protection against health and safety hazards.
- Training opportunities to help us develop skills for the future.
Some of us work for state, county or municipal governments that prohibit workers from having collective bargaining rights. In that case, our membership in CWA provides us with the ability — through collective action — to address issues where we work and to make a difference in the workplace.
Protection from Unfair Treatment
Our CWA contracts spell out grievance procedures that protect us from unfair firings, arbitrary treatment, and favoritism in the handling of promotions, layoffs, scheduling, work assignments, and other issues.
We are entitled to a hearing with representation from CWA if we are unfairly treated.
If the employer and grievant are unable to reach a resolution, our case can be decided by a neutral, third-party arbitrator. Arbitration provisions help guarantee due process and fair treatment — and it prevents employers from having the final say.
CWA Stewards: Leaders in Our Workplace
CWA stewards are co-workers who keep us connected with our union. They are trained to provide representation and to keep us informed about workplace issues and actions.
Your steward is someone to turn to with questions or concerns.
Stewards and local union officers are supported by CWA’s professional staff of negotiators, researchers, lawyers, field representatives, communications specialists, and organizers.
WHAT WE CAN DO
- Know our rights. Read and familiarize ourselves with our union contract so we know our rights. Contact our steward if we don’t understand something.
- Insist on fair treatment. If we have a dispute with management, we should let our steward know. CWA may already have addressed the same or similar issue.
- Help others. When a coworker has a problem with management and needs support, we back them up. Get involved whenever stewards need help in mobilizing.
- Help maintain our standard of living. During contract negotiations, provide input on issues and participate in mobilization activities to support our bargaining committee.
- Become a CWA steward/mobilizer. We encourage members to join our stewards’ or mobilizers’ network. If interested, please contact your local union.