The nomination of Secretary Hillary Clinton for President of the United States at the Democratic National Convention this week is a historic step forward for our nation, and the Communications Workers of America and I are proud to stand with her to build an America that works for working families.
Hillary Clinton is smart, thoughtful, and experienced. She brings decades of commitment on behalf of working families, and for economic and social justice for all.
She doesn't just talk, she delivers. Her record of public service shows a leader who stands up for workers' bargaining and organizing rights, for family and medical leave, and other programs that help working families.
Secretary Clinton has pledged that she will "do everything in [her] power to defend American jobs and American workers. Any trade deal must meet three tests to earn my support: It must create good American jobs, raise wages, and advance our national security. I do not believe that the Trans-Pacific Partnership meets this high standard. That’s why I oppose the TPP — and that means before and after the election."
Clinton walked our picket line at Verizon. She was the first Senate sponsor of legislation to expand FMLA benefits for Flight Attendants. She supports comprehensive immigration reform, overturning Citizens United, and establishing a public campaign finance system. Hillary was an original sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act, and she supports creating a $250 billion infrastructure investment program that would create hundreds of thousands of good jobs. She strongly supports expanding Medicare access to those between 55 and 65, and she has called for greater Wall Street accountability. She has called for expanding voting rights and ending the school to prison pipeline.
In contrast, the GOP has nominated Donald Trump, a dangerous phony who would be funny if he weren't so scary. Trump makes his money by cheating workers of overtime pay and fair wages, cheating contractors out of their fair earnings, and cheating students who signed up for "Trump University."
He talks a good game about bad trade deals, but manufactures his fancy ties and suits in China, Bangladesh, and Mexico. Trump thinks that American wages are "too high," he "loves" right-to-work (for less), and brags about fighting unions. "I fight the unions very hard," he told a South Carolina radio station.
The contrast couldn’t be clearer. CWA has a large number of members and retirees in all the battleground states, and as union members and as Americans, we will put our full efforts into electing Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States.
TU Opens First Nationwide Field Office in Wichita
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T-Mobile Workers United (TU) opened its first field office in Wichita, Kan., on Monday to support the growing momentum and energy of the union's organizing campaign at T-Mobile US and MetroPCS. The new office will be a place where workers can learn more about TU and members can ramp up their efforts to improve call centers, retail stores, and other facilities.
Lothar Schröder, George Kohl and Angela Melvin cut the ribbon on the new field office.
"T-Mobile workers in Wichita are ready for a seat at the table, and the opening of this Local office is proof of the momentum of our campaign to come together as workers and collectively bargain with our employer," said Angela Melvin, a customer service representative at T-Mobile's call center in Wichita. "We have come such a long way in building our union at T-Mobile, and I know there is much work to be done. I cannot wait to see what the building of this union has in store for us!"
Germany's largest union, ver.di, represents workers at T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsche Telekom. In a great show of support, ver.di leaders traveled to Kansas to join TU Chief Stewards from across the country, TU Local 6457 members, Wichita politicians, community leaders and CWA activists attending the ribbon cutting.
"Ver.di and CWA have been working in solidarity and friendship together for many years," said Lothar Schröder, a ver.di union leader and vice-chairman of the Deutsche Telekom Supervisory Board. "Forming TU in 2008, we made an important and unique step for the global labor movement in furthering our international union cooperation. Now with the opening of the TU field office in Wichita, we continue on this path. Ver.di and I are committed to do what it takes so that T-Mobile workers can freely decide whether they want to join a union to have a voice in the workplace."
TU members and allies celebrate the grand opening in Wichita.
CWA President Chris Shelton Calls on Policymakers to Raise Minimum Wage
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At an event at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, CWA President Chris Shelton called on policymakers and businesses to ensure all working people earn a living wage. Also speaking at the event were Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry, Pennsylvania Senate Democratic candidate Katie McGinty, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Working Families Party National Director Dan Cantor, Bishop Dwayne Royster, and airport worker Onetha McKnight.
CWA President Chris Shelton urged lawmakers to raise the minimum wage.
"Here in Philly, someone working full-time making minimum wage would earn about $15,000 per year, putting them well below anything resembling a living wage," President Shelton said. "It's been almost a decade since the federal minimum wage has been raised. Meanwhile, the cost of living has gone up drastically since then. But we've seen total inaction both at the federal level and here in Pennsylvania."
Coming on the heels of the most divisive and anti-worker Republican National Convention ever, more than 100 advocacy groups, including Center for American Progress, Center for Popular Democracy, Economic Policy Institute, the Fairness Project, National Employment Law Project, the Working Families Party held a national day of action on the anniversary of the last increase in the federal minimum wage, currently at $7.25 an hour. The last increase to the minimum wage was signed into law in 2007.
Shelton said, "Airline workers, call center workers, and bank workers are among those who work hard, and for some of our wealthiest corporations, but still earn poverty level wages. That has to stop now. It's time for an economy that works for working families and especially for the people who work hard but who earn poverty level wages. Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do. Let's do it now."
Raising the wage is popular with the American public: 63 percent of Americans support a $15 an hour minimum wage by 2020, and a September 2015 poll found that, by a 3-1 margin, voters are more likely to support political candidates who favor raising the minimum wage.
Before the start of the Democratic Convention on Monday, hundreds of activists and allies who have fought against the Trans-Pacific Partnership rallied to make it clear that there can be no TPP now and no TPP during a lame duck session of Congress.
CWA President Chris Shelton told the crowd, "Our mission now is to get the officials of the Democratic Party to take their implicit rejection of the TPP and make it an explicit rejection. I urge all of you to take action. Hold your members of Congress accountable." He brought the crowd to its feet, asking, "Are you ready to stand up and fight back?"
Joining Shelton was Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.); Gustavo Torres, executive director of Casa in Action; Lori Wallach, director of Global Trade Watch; former CWA President Larry Cohen, and other speakers pushing delegates to raise the issue at their state meetings and put the 41 senators and representatives who voted for Fast Track on notice: "The TPP has got to go!"
At the opening night of the convention, delegates waved signs and chanted "No TPP, No TPP, No TPP." About 38 CWAers were delegates to the DNC.
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Members of CWA Local 6143 in San Antonio hit the streets for informational picketing to protest AT&T Internet Services' continuing demand for givebacks. Workers are standing strong for dignity and respect.
AT&T National Internet Contract
The strike authorization process is underway at AT&T Internet, with CWA members determined to fight back against AT&T's corporate greed and to stand strong for a fair contract. There are about 2,000 workers covered by the NIC. The contract, which expired on July 23, has been extended while mobilization heats up.
More than 100 CWAers gathered at AT&T Park in San Francisco during a big two-day Tech Expo sponsored by the company. CWA locals were there to show solidarity and support for bargaining, and to spotlight public attention on AT&T’s refusal to negotiate a fair contract for the workers who have made the company so successful.
Negotiations covering 15,000 AT&T CWA members in California and Nevada are continuing.
CWA members from California locals were a big part of the action at AT&T's Tech Expo, held at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Digital First Media
In nationally coordinated bargaining, NewsGuild leaders at 12 newspaper bargaining units reached a tentative agreement with Digital First Media covering 870 workers.
The tentative agreement will be presented to members with separate ratification votes held in each of these bargaining units: The Denver Post, The Mercury News, East Bay Times, Monterey Herald, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Macomb Daily and The Daily Tribune, Kingston Daily Freeman, Pottstown Mercury, Norristown Times-Herald, The Delaware County Times, and The Trentonian.
The tentative three-year contract provides for a 3 percent pay increase for all bargaining unit members in the first year of the agreement, among other gains.
DFM owner Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund group, has been squeezing revenues at the newspapers and pushing for job cuts. Earlier this year, TNG-CWA activists launched a national campaign to demand investor transparency by Alden, known as a vulture fund, for its action that were affecting local and community coverage and newsroom and editorial diversity.
This week, 209 administrative and program staff at the Open Society Foundation voted for representation by CWA Local 1180. The workers are located in New York and Baltimore. The workers' organizing committee was energized and engaged, pushing for majority signup recognition but agreeing to an expedited American Arbitration Association election to end a string of management delaying tactics. CWA Local 1180 local organizer Ryan Bruckenthal led the campaign.
Rock Against the TPP!
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Rock Against the TPP, a nationwide road show sponsored by CWA, Fight for the Future, and other groups, to raise awareness about the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, kicked off last week in Denver, Col.
Just Announced: A San Francisco concert on Sept. 9 at the Regency Ballroom.
Click here for more details about upcoming tour dates.
West Coast stops will feature Jolie Holland, rising East LA Chicano band Las Cafeteras, renowned rock cellist Bonfire Madigan (Kill Rockstars, K Records), bell's roar, Puerto Rican vocalist Taina Asili, and Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer, the tour’s lead organizer. Golden Globe nominated actress Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit, Ant-Man) will emcee all of the events.
CWA Members Receive Advanced Training
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NABET-CWA Local 51011 Broadcast Technician Eddie Ayala participated in fiber optics training.
A group of NABET-CWA Local 51011 daily hires are participating in CWA/NETT Academy training funded by the Strategic Industry Fund, taking advanced training and getting certified in fiber optics.
"These technicians will be able to conduct the work at NBC, receive more pay and keep the work in the union, as opposed to the company using outside non-union contractors. This is a great example of making SIF funding work for the union," said NABET-CWA Local 51011 President Lou Marinaro.
More than 30 members are participating in the classes this week. For more information, visit www.cwanett.org.
Cohen Named to Commission to Reform DNC Nominating Process
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The Rules Committee of the Democratic National Convention has established a unity reform commission to look at ways to make the nominating process fairer.
Former CWA President Larry Cohen was named vice chair of the commission by Senator Bernie Sanders. The group will develop rules to reduce the number of superdelegates by about two-thirds, and will recommend reforms to make the Democratic Party even more responsive to grassroots voters.