CWAers at AT&T West picketed locations throughout California and Nevada on March 22, walking off the job in a grievance strike to protest the company's change in working conditions for technicians.
To end the strike, AT&T agreed that it would no longer require technicians to perform work assignments outside their areas of expertise and classification.
"We went on strike to demonstrate to the country that we will not do more work for less pay, especially when it puts us in a position not to deliver the best possible service," said Robert Longer, an AT&T technician in Sacramento and a member of Local 9421.
CWAers at AT&T West set up pickets throughout California and Nevada. Clockwise, from top left: Local 9416, Bakersfield; Local 9414, Chico; Local 9509, San Diego call center; Local 9413, Reno, Nev.; Local 9511, Escondido; Local 9413, Carson City, Nev.; Local 9412, Hayward central office; Local 9510 Tustin call center; Local 9412, Hayward; Local 9404, Vallejo; Local 9432, Diamond Springs.
URGENT: Tell Your Member of Congress to Vote No on GOP's "Age Tax" Health Care Plan
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The House is scheduled to vote tonight on the Republican leadership health care plan. Make your voice heard! Call your member of Congress now to tell him or her to vote NO on health care repeal at 1-855-980-2231.
Thousands of CWA members joined a town hall call with CWA President Chris Shelton, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), President of CWA Local 1168 Cory Gambini, and CWA Legislative Director Shane Larson to discuss ways to mobilize to defeat the GOP leadership's health care bill. The legislation gives tax breaks to corporations and the top 1% while hiking premiums for seniors and cutting coverage for working families.
"It's absolutely critical that all CWA members get engaged," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "Republican leadership is trying to steamroll this legislation through Congress. This legislation is not about health care – it's about cutting taxes for hedge fund managers, corporate executives, and drug companies."
"With this bill, 24 million Americans, including children and working people, will lose health care coverage," said Schakowsky. "The more we learn about what the Republicans want to do, the more it is clear their plan is to have businesses, families, and individuals pay more and get less. And the damage would be economy-wide. Three million jobs would be lost. In many areas, hospitals are the major employer, and when you cut that, the entire community suffers."
Shelton spoke about the direct harm that CWA members would face under this health care proposal. "It keeps the 'Cadillac tax' in place, which would penalize many CWA members because the costs will be passed on to us. The tax will hit more than 40% of employers. And tens of thousands of CWA members in the public sector and in the health care fields are at great risk of losing their jobs if this bill passes."
"These devastating cuts have hospital officials terrified," said Gambini. "We're very afraid that if this goes through that there will be massive layoffs. We really need to fight this repeal, because this is going to be devastating for all Americans. There's not one person who's not going to be touched by this."
Schakowsky said that CWAers are well-positioned to make a difference. "This is a fight we can win, but it is a fight that is likely to be determined by a handful of votes in the House and a couple of votes in the Senate. One action or 20 phone calls can make the difference. If we win this fight, we will be in a much better position to protect Medicare. We will have shown our power. This moment was made for us, for action, and there's nobody better than CWA to make this happen."
The bill is scheduled to come to a vote tonight – Thursday, March 23 – in the House of Representatives. Call your member of Congress now to tell him or her to vote no on health care repeal at 1-855-980-2231.
Public Workers Moving Forward Together
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CWA public, healthcare, and education members met in Orlando, Fla., to turn back the attack on public worker bargaining rights and make our union CWA STRONG.
At the conference, panels and workshops were held on fighting privatization, internal organizing, CWA's Take on Wall Street campaign, and labor and racial justice, using online tools to run better campaigns, and other issues. CWA Secretary Treasurer Sara Steffens and CWA Vice Presidents Richard Honeycutt of District 3, Linda Hinton of District 4, and Brenda Roberts of District 7 were in attendance.
A panel on making CWA STRONG through internal organizing was led by Judy Graves, CWA District 6 Organizing Director, with Carolyn Wade, President, CWA Local 1040 and CWA At-Large Executive Board member; Judy Lugo, President, TSEU-CWA Local 6186; Jelger Kalmijn, President, CWA-UPTE Local 9119; and Donald Alire, President, CWA Local 7076.
Hundreds of CWAers and allies from organizations including Central Florida AFL-CIO, Central Florida Jobs with Justice, the National Nurses Union, and Planned Parenthood held a rally outside the Orlando office of Senator Marco Rubio to call on Rubio to back off his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. After initially refusing to let a CWA delegation into the office, a staff person finally came out to speak with them about repealing the ACA, which Rubio still supports.
At the rally, Brooks Sunkett, Vice President of CWA's Public, Health Care, and Education Workers Sector, said, "Senator Rubio and his Republican colleagues should back off their efforts to repeal the ACA. Repeal would mean tax cuts for the wealthy elite and unaffordable health care costs for millions across Florida, as well as layoffs and cutbacks for health care workers who provide essential care across Florida. Meanwhile, the Republicans' proposed alternative health care plan would increase health costs, especially for retirees and older Americans."
CWA public, health care, and education members rallied outside the Orlando, Fla., office of Sen. Marco Rubio, calling on Rubio to listen to his constituents and keep quality health care. The conference included sessions on internal organizing and fighting back against Wall Street greed, with VP Brooks Sunkett introducing a video message from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). CWA Sec.-Treas. Sara Steffens, bottom right, next to Sunkett, outlined the CWA Strong plan.
Flight Attendants Rally for Rest on Capitol Hill
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Flight Attendants rallied at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday in support of 10 hours of minimum rest for all Flight Attendants and stopping the outsourcing of jobs, followed by visiting the offices of numerous Members of Congress to discuss these important issues on Capitol Hill. Representatives Michael E. Capuano (D-MA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and Rick Larsen (D-WA) joined the rally before office visits.
Flight Attendants are entrusted with the safety, health, and security of our passengers on a daily basis. Studies commissioned by Congress make it clear that more rest should be mandated for Flight Attendants to combat fatigue. Current federal regulation "rest" rules provide only 8 hours after a 14 hour day. But that "rest" time includes passenger deplaning, travel to and check in at their hotel, preparing for the next day, travel back to the airport, transiting security, crew briefing and safety checks, passenger boarding and finally the aircraft release from the gate. This likely means 4-5 hours of sleep before another long day, if all else goes well.
Seven Flight Attendant fatigue studies commissioned by Congress have concluded that the best way to combat fatigue is to get more rest. That's why Flight Attendants are leading the Fight for 10.
Flight Attendants also pressed Congress to enforce our Open Skies agreements. Right now, Gulf carriers (Emirates, Eithad, Qatar) are heavily subsidized by their countries’ treasuries. 1.2 million U.S. jobs are at risk if Gulf carrier cheating continues. We're calling on Congress and President Trump to stand up for U.S. workers.
Standing with Nabisco Workers
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One year ago today, 600 dedicated Nabisco workers in Chicago were given pink slips by Mondelēz/Nabisco and told their jobs were being sent to Mexico. The entire union movement is standing in solidarity with the Nabisco 600 workers, members of the Bakery, Confectionary and Tobacco Workers Union, and has pledged to join their fight.
Join the campaign and take the pledge to only buy Nabisco products made in America and to boycott Nabisco products made in Mexico! Watch and SHARE this video and help fight the offshoring and outsourcing of American jobs.
CWA Urges Senate to Reject Gorsuch for Supreme Court
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CWA General Counsel Jody Calemine testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of a panel in the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch, urging the Senate to reject the nomination, saying, "Our concern regarding Judge Gorsuch's nomination is grave and simple: Working people cannot be assured a fair shake from a Justice Gorsuch."
"CWA members face health and safety risks on the job every day. At times, telecommunications workers have died from electrocution or suffered from asbestos or lead exposure. Health care workers confront infectious disease risks, including the danger that they might take these diseases home to their families. Workers in our manufacturing sector deal with exposures to toxic substances."
"[Gorsuch's] TransAm Trucking dissent demonstrates a bias against workers and their efforts to win health and safety protections – but it is just the prime example of what we expect will be a broader assault by a Justice Gorsuch against worker protections. For the sake of workers who deserve to come home safe and sound, and for their families waiting on them to return, we respectfully urge the Committee and the Senate to reject this nomination."
CWA General Counsel Jody Calemine (far right) testified as part of a panel in the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch, urging the Senate to reject the nomination.
Remembering CWAers Who Died on the Job
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CWA President Chris Shelton called on CWA members to join Workers' Memorial Day events on April 28 and to remember the five CWA members lost to workplace fatalities over the past year.
"As we remember those who have been killed on the job, we will also renew our fight for strong workplace safety and health protections," he said.
This year, CWA mourns the deaths of:
Doug Dornback, 64, a member of CWA Local 6171. Employed by Frontier Communications as a construction splicer, Doug fell from a ladder while performing aerial work on May 10, 2016.
Robert Hernandez, 61, a member of CWA local 9003. Employed by AT&T as a splicing technician, Doug was found hanging upside down on a utility pole on May 14, 2016.
Heath Janssen, 41, a member of CWA Local 13101. Employed by Verizon as a splicing technician, Heath was loading equipment in the back of the company truck when a passing vehicle struck and killed him on June 8, 2016.
Lloyd Windbigler, 66, a member of CWA local 7704. Employed by CenturyLink as a lineman, Lloyd was killed on Sept. 12, 2016, when his truck was hit by a train at an uncontrolled crossing.
David Jur, 46, a member of Local 6132. Employed by AT&T as a Premises Technician, David was killed on Dec. 9, 2016, when a construction vehicle overturned and crushed him while he was performing telecommunications pedestal work.
Many CWA members have suffered work-related injuries and illnesses and near misses.
This year, the theme for Workers' Memorial Day is "Safe Jobs: Every Worker’s Right." CWA will be on the front lines in the fight to protect safety and health standards and ensure that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducts the inspections and oversight that workers deserve.
"I urge you to get involved on April 28 and organize actions to highlight the toll of work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities," Shelton said. There are many allies in this fight, including environmental activists, civil rights and community activists, worker center, and justice allies.
Contact David LeGrande, CWA Occupational Safety and Heatlh Director at email@example.com for assistance in planning an event and to report on events.