Building a Union Wireless Industry

"We are one industry" was the message as CWA members came together in San Antonio, Tex., for the Wireless Worker conference. The session included CWAers from AT&T Mobility, Verizon and Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, DIRECTV, Cricket and others. Together, participants talked about how they're taking on the challenges facing workers and how we can fight back.

The 300 participants strategized about organizing in the wireless industry to build power, and panels of workers from different companies talked about their work to build our union and bargain good contracts.

"The wireless industry is the future," CWA President Chris Shelton said. He called organizing Verizon Wireless workers a major CWA priority, because to bargain good contracts, we must build a strong union presence in wireless. 

A panel of Verizon and Verizon Wireless workers talked about the 49-day strike that produced the first ever Verizon Wireless retail store contracts. T-Mobile Workers United members outlined the latest in the campaign to grow their union at T-Mobile US. Joining them were representatives from ver.di, the German union that represents T-Mobile workers and has supported the fight by U.S. workers for a voice on the job.

Stella Morales, a Cricket wireless worker, talked about the value of a CWA contract, telling participants that before Cricket workers had CWA representation, they received no raises. After getting their union voice, in less than two years workers were earning $3.72 per hour more.

CWAers walked the walk with actions outside a Verizon Wireless store and an AT&T Mobility "authorized dealer." CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor criticized AT&T for cutting union workers and corporate stores while sending jobs to resellers. He said AT&T Mobility workers, who will be bargaining a new "orange" contract early next year, are going into negotiations with a clear message for AT&T: "We want good jobs in our communities and in this country. We want jobs at AT&T."

Outside the Verizon store, wireless workers called out Verizon Wireless for union busting and for sending good jobs to the Philippines and other countries.

CWA Vice Presidents Claude Cummings, Brenda Roberts, Tom Runnion and At-Large Executive Board Member Anetra Session also participated in the conference.

CWAers gathered in San Antonio for the Wireless Worker Conference.