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Mar 10, 2016 - Tentative Contracts in Cable, Telecom

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NJ State Workers Vote Dues Increase to Fund Campaign for Secure Pensions

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CWA state workers in the executive branch in New Jersey voted overwhelmingly to finance a constitutional amendment campaign to secure public workers' pensions and hold elected officials accountable. Members in the judicial branch will vote separately.

By 80.65 percent to 19.35 percent, CWA state workers voted to increase their dues by 50 cents per week so that they could successfully fight back against the attack on pensions and health care by Governor Chris Christie (R).

The campaign will include an unprecedented, statewide member education campaign, aimed at mobilizing some 800,000 active employees and retirees. CWA volunteers will go door-to-door to talk with other union members, and a media/public communications campaign will make the case to New Jersey's nearly 4 million voting residents. More than 500 CWA job stewards and activists already have joined mobilization training. The amendment will be on the November ballot.

Bargaining Update

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Solidarity in Halifax, Strike Enters Seventh Week

CWA Canada President Martin O'Hanlon, right, with HTU member Stephen Forest, on the Chronicle Herald picket line.

CWA Canada Locals across the country are gathering donations and messages of support for workers at the Halifax (Nova Scotia) Chronicle Herald who have been on strike for nearly seven weeks.

The 61 newsroom workers are members of Halifax Typographical Union, Local 30130, CWA Canada.

Last week, members of the government and general employees' union, postal workers, longshoremen and other unions joined the picket line to show their solidarity.

Workers Gain Tentative Agreement at Comcast

The CWA District 2-13 bargaining team reached a tentative four-year agreement with Comcast covering about 300 technicians and other workers in Pittsburgh. The agreement provides for retroactive pay, starting from May 21, 2015, and calls for an across-the-board wage increase of 2 percent, plus additional wage adjustments.

Other improvements were reached covering overtime, workload, holiday schedule, the grievance and arbitration procedures and other issues. CWA members will vote on ratification on March 13 at the CWA District 2-13 office in Bridgeville, Pa.

District 6 Mobility Workers to Vote on Tentative Agreement

AT&T Mobility members in District 6 tuned in to a video/telephone town hall with the bargaining team and District 6 staff on March 7, to get details and ask questions about the tentative agreement.

The agreement covers about 9,400 workers in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas; a mail ratification vote will conclude on April 14.

Sanders Wins Michigan Primary

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Strong and consistent opposition to free trade deals that offshore workers' jobs and destroy their communities was how Senator Bernie Sanders overcame misleading polls to win the Michigan Democratic primary on March 8.

Exit polls conducted by all the campaigns showed broad and deep opposition to business-as-usual trade policy shared by Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

Exit polls showed three-fifths of voters believed trade deals were more likely to take away jobs, and those Michiganders supported Sanders by a margin of more than 10 points.

Sanders's victory builds on recent wins in Kansas, Maine and Nebraska.

CWA members will continue to support Sanders as he challenges Wall Street and bad trade deals that have rigged our economy in favor of corporate interests and the 1 percent. In upcoming primary contests – particularly in our member-heavy states of Ohio, New York, New Jersey and California – CWA activists will be canvassing neighborhoods, organizing worksite actions, staffing phone banks and rallying around this amazing grassroots revolution.

Clockwise, from top left:

CWA Local 4309 President Erica Dismukes, CWA District 4 Counsel Matt Harris and CWA Local 4340 President Gary Kundrat with Senator Sanders at a press conference in Cleveland, OH.

CWA District Vice President Linda Hinton and CWA activists mobilize for Sanders in Cleveland, OH.

Josh Coleman, interim chair of TU-CWA Local 6547, caucuses for Sanders in Wichita, KS.

CWA Local 1400 chief steward Krystal Talbot caucuses for Sanders in Portland, ME.

CWA Local 4108 Executive Vice President Marty Szeliga introduces Sanders at a rally in Traverse City, MI.

CWA activists and former CWA President Larry Cohen rally for Sanders in River Rouge, MI. There, Cohen and actor Danny Glover led a forum on economic justice and highlighted the senator's call for a political revolution that puts working families first.

CWA Local 1400 steward Kirsten Shonle (middle) joins door-knocking in Portland, ME.

CWA Local 4103 President Jake Vick, CWA Local 4103 Secretary-Treasurer Cecil Miller and CWA Local 4123 Legislative Political Chair Sue Mure attend the Democratic debate in Flint, MI.

Democracy Update

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More on the Democracy Awakening Events in Washington, D.C. April 16-18.

Saturday, April 16 will feature teach-ins, workshops and direct action trainings by leaders from the 180 groups that have signed on to this fight.

On Sunday, April 17, activists will rally for Democracy and march around the U.S. Capitol. The rally begins at 1 pm at 3rd St. NW in front of the Capitol reflecting pool. After the march, participants will hold a faith rally and prayer vigil in front of Union Station, beginning at 4:30.

Monday, April 18 is a day of mass civil disobedience to save our democracy, along with advocacy and lobbying on Capitol Hill. Together we're pushing for a Congress of Conscience – one that stands up for our democracy rather than stands in its way.

Click here to sign up for updates from CWA.

Senators Join House Members in Introducing Bill to Stop Human Trafficking on Planes

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An intense campaign by AFA-CWA has resulted in the Senate introduction of the Stop Trafficking On Planes (STOP) Act, to fight human trafficking with proper training for aviation workers. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the bill this week. Similar bipartisan legislation, the Secure Our Skies Act, was introduced in the House last month by U.S. Representatives Dina Titus (D-NV-01) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10).

"Everyone recognizes the horror of human trafficking, but we must turn our outrage into action," said AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson. "We commend Senator Klobuchar and Senator Warner for introducing this legislation that will allow us to stop traffickers from using our skyways as a means to transport innocents to a life of slavery. Trained Flight Attendants can serve as 100,000 eyes in the skies to save lives by recognizing and reporting signs of trafficking."

The bill requires training for Flight Attendants and pilots of air carriers to identify and report human trafficking.

Read more here.

TPP Update

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Connecting the Dots Between Voters and Unfair Trade

In a press statement, CWA pointed out that working families are clear in their rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

The March 8 presidential primary results are the latest evidence that the American people will not accept the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Voters rightly see the TPP as another trade deal in a string of many that would enrich big corporations at the expense of working families and their communities.

The TPP's chance of passing Congress was already on life support, and last night's primary results are another sharp lesson to elected officials, if they are paying attention. As exit polls showed, opposition to business-as-usual trade policy is broad and deep and shared by Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

The message to elected officials and candidates is clear: if you want to stand with the American people, you must take a stand against the TPP.


EPI Study: TPP Will Make Current Trade Deficit Worse

A new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute found that the United States already is running a rapidly increasing trade deficit with the 11 other countries that would form the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

In 2015, the U.S. deficit with TPP countries translated into 2 million U.S. jobs lost, more than half, or 1.1 million, in manufacturing, EPI said. Job losses occurred in every state. Other industries that lost jobs are: health care and social assistance (204,200 jobs, 10.1 percent); retail trade (142,800 jobs, 7 percent); accommodation and food services (101,800 jobs, 5 percent); finance and insurance (42,700 jobs, 2.1 percent); agricultural industries (41,600 jobs, 2.1 percent), and education services (37,300 jobs, 1.8 percent).

A driving force behind this growing trade gap is the lack of measures to address the currency manipulation of U.S. trading partners. The TPP has no language to deal with currency manipulation, which occurs when a country artificially depresses the value of its currency to boost its exports and make imports from the U.S. and other countries more expensive, EPI said.

Malaysia, Singapore and Japan are known currency manipulators, and Vietnam looks to be following suit. Other countries that engage in currency manipulation, like China, are looking to join the TPP.

Read more here.

CWA Applauds FCC Action to Modernize Lifeline for Broadband

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CWA commended the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for taking the next step in modernizing the Lifeline program to include broadband. CWA has long advocated for the expansion of the Lifeline program to support broadband service.

Broadband is essential to full participation in today's economy and society. Students need home broadband to do their homework, and job applications are now online. While 92 percent of households with incomes over $100,000 have broadband service, only 47 percent of households with incomes below $25,000 subscribe to broadband. Updating the Lifeline program to include broadband will help close the digital divide and foster digital equality.

To be eligible for the subsidy, carriers must provide broadband service at a minimum speed of 10 megabits download and 1 megabit upload. The FCC will issue its final rule on March 29.

Mark Your Calendar: April 28 is Workers' Memorial Day

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On Workers' Memorial Day, union members and allies remember those who have been killed, injured and sickened on the job, and focus on what needs to be done to make our jobs safer.

The AFL-CIO is spearheading the fight this year, calling for work that is safe and healthy, and that pays fair wages.

Here are some ways to observe Workers' Memorial Day:

  • Hold a candlelight vigil, memorial service or moment of silence to remember those who have died on the job and to highlight safety and health issues in your community.
  • Conduct training and workshops for workers and the community on reporting job hazards and knowing their workplace rights.
  • Create a memorial at a workplace or in the community where workers have been killed on the job.

Click here for more information and materials.

T-Mobile Workers Celebrate International Women's Day

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German workers at T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom, members of ver.di, joined their U.S. colleagues in marking International Women's Day on March 8 and standing up for workers' rights.

The ver.di members held up signs of support, while TU members in the U.S. dressed as Rosie the Riveter, sharing their photos and messages on social media.

T-Mobile Workers United (TU) is the local union for T-Mobile and Metro PCS workers to gain a voice and fair treatment on the job.

TU members have been fighting back against T-Mobile's illegal "gag orders" that tried to stop the company's 46,000 workers from talking to each other about workplace issues. Last year, the National Labor Relations Board found that T-Mobile illegally prohibits its employees from discussing the terms and conditions of employment with their co-workers and others. At locations in at least South Carolina and Maine, the company had been requiring employees to sign a confidentiality agreement whenever it conducted an internal investigation, including incidents of sexual harassment.

Read more here.

Check out more photos here.

From Brühl, Augsburg and other CWA partner locations in Germany to Wichita, Kans., Albuquerque and Springfield, Mo., T-Mobile workers marked International Women's Day by putting the company on notice: 'We have the right to speak out!"