In challenging times for our union, CWA Local 6327 is accomplishing big things.
The local represents employees of AT&T Core; AT&T Mobility; YP Holdings and Cricket Wireless in Kansas City and surrounding areas as well as the AT&T DIRECTV Call Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The local has been ramping up its efforts on internal organizing. Every other Thursday, DIRECTV CWAers in Tulsa hold a CWA Red Union Day, talking to and signing up new members. In just the last two months, they've signed up well over 100 new members!
Chief Steward Lloyd Colvin signs up a new member at a CWA Red Union Day membership drive.
"We are strengthening our union by signing up new members and getting people involved in improving their workplace and lives, and we're having fun doing it," said Local 6327 President and at-large member of CWA's Executive Board Anetra Session. "People are not only signing up, but they're also coming to us eager to get engaged right away. They see their CWA coworkers in action, wearing red, and they want to be part of what we’re doing."
Session says that issues like the House Republicans' recent vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are on workers' minds as they get involved with the local. There’s been an influx of new members joining the local's legislative committee and signing up to become stewards and activists.
"Through direct conversations with coworkers, we’re organizing to become stronger in both our collective bargaining and on legislative issues that directly affect us, our families, and our communities."
The local is planning mobilizing events as well as organizing trainings in the coming weeks.
Every other Thursday, DIRECTV CWAers in Tulsa hold a CWA Red Union Day, talking to and signing up new members.
CWA members of Local 7304 ratified a five-year contract with New Flyer in St. Cloud, Minn.
Among the agreement's improvements: wage increases over the contract term of 17.4 percent, strict limits on mandatory overtime, improvements in vacation scheduling and other benefits, improvements in the grievance procedure, and other gains. The 570 workers rallied and mobilized to get their message out.
Mobilization made the difference for CWAers at New Flyer in St. Cloud.
Frontier West Virginia
Bargaining got underway on May 8 for a new contract covering 1,600 CWA telecom workers at Frontier Communications in West Virginia and Ashburn, Va. The current contract expires Aug. 5.
CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney said, "It's essential that Frontier Communications acknowledges the critical role that CWA members play in providing customers with the quality service they expect and deserve. That means negotiating a fair contract that maintains good jobs in our communities."
CWA members at Frontier elected their bargaining committee and set bargaining goals earlier this year. Committee members are President Ken William, Local 2001; President Rick McKinney, Local 2007; President Shannon Fink, Local 2009, and CWA staff Linda Miller, Elaine Harris, and Letha Perry, chair of the committee.
From left, Kelly Dorsey, Jennifer Jamerson, and Tania Mundy, retail workers at CenturyLink in Killeen, TX are "Standing Strong."
CenturyLink – Texas
Bargaining continues for a first contract for CenturyLink retail store workers in Texas, members of CWA Local 6174.
The bargaining committee includes Mike Tippie, vice president, Local 6174; Tania Mundy, Local 6174; and CWA District 6 staff Stephanie Collier, bargaining chair.
CenturyLink – Florida
CenturyLink workers in Florida, members of Local 3176, will vote on Friday on what the company is calling their "Last, Best, and Final" offer. The union bargaining committee is not recommending the settlement, as it does little to address the working condition concerns that the union raised.
CenturyLink workers in Florida are unified and mobilizing for a fair contract.
The CWA bargaining team continues to meet with management, and members are showing their support in actions and mobilization nationwide.
Mobility members are telling CEO Randall Stephenson exactly what they're fighting for. Pictured below are members of CWA Local 1298.
Throughout D9, CWA AT&T members at Mobility, DIRECTV, and Core are signing petitions and presenting them to front-line managers. DIRECTV members are pointing out, "While we watch our take home pay fall, we continue to see AT&T take in $1.3 billion in profits each month, and we see our CEO getting a 13 percent pay hike. This is unacceptable."
Mobility members of CWA Local 9408 updated front-line managers with the latest from the bargaining table.
Attacks on Your Health Care in the Republican Repeal Bill
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Last week, House Republicans passed an Affordable Care Act (ACA) health care repeal bill. Now, those House members — on recess this week — are hearing exactly what their constituents think. In Willingboro, N.J., more than 500 people turned out for a town hall meeting held by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R), who led House efforts to get the bill passed.
The first question to MacArthur: "What will happen to people with pre-existing conditions?" And the questions didn't get any easier.
That's because this bill isn't about fixing health care, it's a $700 billion tax cut for millionaires, insurers, and drug companies. At least 24 million people will lose their health care and Americans age 50 and older will see their costs skyrocket under the "age tax" the bill institutes – all to provide a big tax break for corporations and the wealthy. Billionaire Warren Buffett says the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is "a huge tax cut for guys like me."
Here's what this outrageous bill does:
Takes health coverage away from 24 million Americans, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Allows insurance companies to charge seniors five times more for coverage based only on age.
Allows the states to do away with coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, affecting 130 million, or one in every four Americans.
Undermines funding for Medicare by cutting $117 billion in funding.
Makes drastic changes to Medicaid that would jeopardize care for poor children, seniors in nursing homes, and the disabled.
Keeps the tax on so-called "Cadillac" employer health plans.
Click here or dial 1-855-980-2231 and tell your Senator to oppose the ACA repeal bill.
Legislative Action Update
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More than 300 CWAers, including nurses, public workers, grad students, and telecommunications workers descended on the New York State Capitol in Albany to advocate for labor rights and tax fairness.
Hundreds of CWAers gathered at Emmanuel Baptist in Albany to prepare for a lobby day at the State Capitol.
Members from eight different CWA locals participated in the Colorado AFL-CIO Labor Lobby Corps, a 3-day program to bring union members to the Colorado Assembly to directly advocate on issues important to working families.
Tammi John of Pueblo, Co., an AT&T Mobility employee, said, "It was an amazing group of people and a great learning experience for me. I would love to come again."
Adrienne Prince of Denver, Co., a Frontier Airlines employee, said, "I really learned so much. I wish this program was longer than 3 days. I feel like now we have information and some confidence – now we need to utilize it. I would really like to get more involved and do more lobbying on a regular basis."
CWAers visited the Colorado Assembly to directly advocate on issues important to working families.
New Report: CEOs Making 347 Times More than Average Workers
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CEO pay for major U.S. companies has risen nearly 6 percent, as income inequality and outsourcing of good-paying American jobs have increased. According to the new AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch report, the average CEO of an S&P 500 company made $13.1 million per year in 2016 – 347 times more money than the average rank-and-file worker.
The Executive PayWatch website, a comprehensive searchable online database tracking CEO pay, shows that in 2016, the average production and nonsupervisory worker earned approximately $37,600 per year. When adjusted for inflation, the average wage has remained stagnant for 50 years.
According to the report, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson made over $28 million in 2016 – 755 times more than the average rank-and-file worker. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, pulling in almost $18 million in 2016, made 469 times the salary of an average worker. CenturyLink CEO Glen F. Post made almost $14 million in 2016 – 371 times more than an average worker.
Jamone Ross, a former call center worker at T-Mobile who lost his job in 2012 when T-Mobile shipped his job overseas, wrote a piece for The Hill about the impact of offshoring on American workers:
Back in 2011, I was a call center worker with T-Mobile in Brownsville, Texas. It wasn’t an easy job — customer service never is — but I made good money, $18.25 an hour. I had just gotten married, and my wife and I had bought a brand-new house. It felt like we were well on our way toward building our own American dream.
Unfortunately, what seems like a dream can sometimes turn into a nightmare.
My colleagues and I knew something was up. First, T-Mobile started cutting our hours. Then we started getting strange calls in which customers were complaining that they’d been connected to foreign customer service representatives who couldn’t answer their questions. The company sent us memos telling us how to respond to the influx of calls from angry customers.
That was bad enough, but it got worse when T-Mobile started firing workers in droves for small infractions that in the past would never have caused someone to lose their job. We went from 900 to 500 people in my call center in a short period of time. Those of us who were left were walking on eggshells. Every day, we were wondering who would be next out the door.
We got the answer in 2012: all of us.
T-Mobile shut down seven call centers across the country and laid off 3,300 workers, including me. Suddenly, those strange calls made sense. It seemed T-Mobile, which gets millions of dollars in contracts from the U.S. government, had decided that U.S. workers were simply too expensive.
Members of Congress Urge Santander to Remain Neutral
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) led a letter with 50 Members of Congress urging Santander Bank to remain neutral as their employees decide whether they want union representation. Santander already has 150,000 unionized workers throughout Europe and South America.
In the letter, the Members wrote, "We were disappointed to hear that, to date, Santander's U.S. management has not responded to the workers' requests and has continued to discourage employees from participating in union activities, even on their own time. We hope the company's unwillingness to have a conversation with its employees about neutrality is not a harbinger of management's opposition to their unionizing efforts."
The Government Wouldn't Rein In the Banks' Predatory Practices—Until These Tellers Stepped In
The Nation ran a feature story about the extraordinary efforts of the Committee for Better Banks:
As with the toppling of any Goliath, the elevation of Wells Fargo's fraudulent scheme into a high-profile national scandal didn't happen by accident. Rather, a growing national coalition called the Committee for Better Banks, or CBB, spread the word—and then ratcheted up the pressure.
Since 2013, at least, the CBB has labored assiduously to turn bank workers and consumers into a force capable of combating Wall Street's predatory practices. A project of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and numerous community organizations, the group was born from a recognition that front-line bank workers—tellers, personal bankers, and other branch-level employees—have an enormous potential to change the consumer-banking industry in this country. As the people who deal with customers directly, these workers can see and sympathize with the real-life impact of abusive lending and retail tactics. Moreover, as people who are themselves exploited by the banks—while Stumpf made as much as $19.3 million a year during his time as CEO, bank tellers earn a median wage of $12.44 an hour, according to the National Employment Law Project—they and their customers have a common cause.
In a message to CWA's passenger service members at Piedmont, Envoy, and American Airlines, CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt outlined what CWA is doing to support passenger service agents who increasingly are facing attacks and assaults on the job from passengers.
Earlier this year, as a result of CWA members' work delivering petitions, holding meetings, and pressing elected representatives and the administration to address this serious and growing problem, the Departments of Justice and Transportation confirmed that the Aviation and Transportation Security Act covers "airport rage." That law sets federal penalties for interfering with airport and airline personnel who have security duties, clearly including agents.
"This was an important step, but we want to be certain that airlines, law enforcement, and government do everything possible to safeguard agents," said Honeycutt, who heads CWA's airline bargaining council. CWA is sending passenger service members a wallet card to keep with them on the job that provides specific information on what agents' rights are and what to do when assaulted by a passenger. More information also is being provided for workplace bulletin boards.