CWA Members Win Major Victory on Health Care
The decision by the House leadership to pull its health care proposal and not proceed with a vote is a reflection of the power that ordinary Americans have when we speak up.
This bill was misguided from the start. It was a giveaway of more than half a billion dollars to the richest of the 1 percent and big corporations at the expense of health coverage for working families, seniors, and children. It would have harmed millions of Americans as a result of the proposed cuts to hospitals, health care services, Medicaid, and other coverage. It would have hiked premiums for seniors with an "Age Tax" and cut coverage for working families.
CWA members made thousands of phone calls last week, demanding that Congress reject this sham legislation. Friday’s action by the House leadership shows that our voices and the voices of millions of Americans have been heard.
Direct action works. CWAers directly contacted at least 35 House Republicans who then came out against the bill. CWA’s efforts in New Jersey helped turn the tide, as Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), one of the most influential Members of Congress as Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, voiced his opposition to the bill after hearing from hundreds of CWAers. New York CWA members also did a great job, turning out over a hundred calls to Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) to get him to oppose the bill.
CWAers rallied in Trenton, NJ, to protect the Affordable Care Act and to urge Members of Congress to oppose the House Leadership's "Age Tax" health care plan.
Members of CWA Local 7304 in St. Cloud, Minn., are standing strong for a fair contract at New Flyer, the country's largest bus manufacturer. The 570 workers have stepped up mobilization, with rallies, meetings, and a banner drop to get their message out. The current contract expires March 31.
Major issues include excessive forced overtime, health concerns over Chrominum-6 and other chemicals used in the workplace, and a call for management neutrality in union organizing efforts at other New Flyer locations.
Members of CWA Local 7304 are standing strong for a fair contract at New Flyer.
AFA-CWA Flight Attendants at Mesa Airlines voted overwhelmingly for strike authorization. Mesa operates flights for American Airlines (as American Eagle) and United Airlines (as United Express).
"Management has left us with no other choice. Mesa Flight Attendants are prepared to strike if released by the National Mediation Board," said Heather Stevenson, AFA Mesa President. Negotiations, overseen by the NMB, are scheduled to continue on April 5.
"Mesa Flight Attendants will not accept poverty wages," said Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. "Enough is enough. Mesa Flight Attendants have the full backing of the 50,000 members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. We are ready to do whatever it takes to achieve a fair contract."
AFA-CWA Flight Attendants at Mesa Airlines voted overwhelmingly for strike authorization.
CWA Local 1040 in New Jersey trained 37 activists this week for a Rapid Response Team that will ramp up internal organizing to make our union CWA Strong. Learn more here.
Gorsuch Unfit to Serve on Supreme Court
Last week CWA's General Counsel Jody Calemine testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. His message was simple: working people cannot be assured a fair shake from Judge Gorsuch. Gorsuch has demonstrated time and time again an anti-worker bias that puts people's lives at risk, and if he gets on the Supreme Court his decisions could roll back the clock on worker protections.
Eight years ago, on a night with below-zero temperatures, trucker Alphonse Maddin pulled over to the side of the interstate when his trailer’s brakes froze up. His cab’s heater wasn’t working. After more than three hours of waiting for repairs and with hypothermia setting in, Maddin detached his cab and went to warm up.
He chose to save his life rather than follow his supervisor's direction to stay with the broken trailer. He was fired, and last year Judge Gorsuch ruled in favor of TransAm Trucking, the company that would have had Maddin freeze to death rather than leave his truck.
Thankfully, Gorsuch's colleagues on the panel disagreed, and Maddin won his case and got his job back with back pay. But putting Gorsuch on the Supreme Court would allow him to undermine laws and regulations put in place to make sure no one is in Maddin’s position: either lose your life or lose your job.
CWA doesn't represent many truckers, but our workplaces can be just as dangerous. Neil Gorsuch would take a sledgehammer to laws and agency rules that are designed to protect our right to refuse hazardous, life threatening work.
Tell your Senator that Neil Gorsuch's disregard for workers' lives makes him unfit to serve on the Supreme Court. Click here.
U.S.-based Norwegian Flight Attendants voted today to join AFA-CWA. Last month the Executive Board of the Norwegian Cabin Crew Association agreed to join AFA pending a full membership vote. Today the Flight Attendants elected AFA as their collective bargaining representative. Flight Attendants rejected an intense campaign of management interference and union-busting during the vote.
"We are thrilled to welcome the U.S.-based Norwegian Flight Attendants to our Flight Attendant union," stated Sara Nelson, AFA International President. "We congratulate the Executive Board of NCCA on this successful vote. They become the twentieth member-airline in AFA, making us stronger and better than ever. Norwegian has fought the Flight Attendants' right to organize and bargain a contract for nearly two years, but that stops now. We will not allow Norwegian to pit crews against each other. We will support the Flight Attendants to negotiate an agreement that recognizes their commitment to Norwegian's success and maintains the rights of Flight Attendants both in the United States and the European Union."
"We are proud to join the Association of Flight Attendants," said Valentin Lorien, president of the Norwegian Cabin Crew Association. "With the backing of AFA, we now have the resources we need to negotiate a fair contract for our workgroup."
Workers Shut Down Santander Headquarters in Mass Protest
As Santander faces growing scrutiny for discriminatory and predatory lending practices, bank workers from across the country descended on the Boston headquarters on Monday to demonstrate the growing movement of opposition the bank faces over unethical banking practices and poor working conditions.
The Committee for Better Banks, a project of CWA, is mobilizing bank workers nationwide to improve conditions in the banking industry.
"As a teller at Santander, I know firsthand the pressure that low-wages and unreasonable sales goals put on frontline workers," said Juan Rojas, a teller based in New York City. "I've worked at Santander for over 3 years, but I still make less than $13 an hour, and I made about $12.50 when I started. Whenever I ask my manager about why we make so little at one of the world's most profitable companies, he just tells me I have to sell more if I want to make more. Since I won't push products on customers that don’t meet their financial needs, I know that my best hope for real change comes from joining my coworkers and demanding a union."
The protest comes on the heels of a report from the Committee for Better Banks finding discrimination in the bank's mortgage lending practice. In response, eleven Senators—including Sen. Warren, Sen. Booker, and Sen. Gillibrand—sent a letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency demanding further investigation into racial and economic bias at the bank.
As Santander's annual meeting approaches next month, workers and members including CWA activists and the Committee for Better Banks are calling on executives and shareholders to address the failures of Santander operations in the U.S. to meet the same standards of worker and customer protections it does abroad. This weekend, hundreds of bank workers across the Committee for Better Banks met in Boston to plan the next phase of their organizing efforts, expand the network of Santander workers in the U.S. and abroad, and plan the message they intend to send to Santander shareholders ahead of their annual meeting next month.
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Bank workers from across the country descended on the Santander Boston headquarters on Monday to demonstrate the growing movement of opposition the bank faces over unethical banking practices and poor working conditions.