Jan 17, 2019 - Verizon Wireless Exposed for Union-Busting

January 17, 2019

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New Report Reveals Safety Hazards at American Airlines

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A new CWA report drawing from a nationwide survey of 800 CWA-represented passenger service agents at American Airlines subsidiary Envoy Air reveals dangerous conditions affecting agents at the airline that should raise red flags for the flying public. Envoy agents reported serious safety hazards on the job due to unreasonable time pressures, high turnover and chronic understaffing, low wages and long hours, and a management culture that forces workers to cut corners to maintain an on-time schedule and avoid discipline and puts them at risk of injury.

"Pressure for on-time departures is so immense that being a nervous wreck and questioning safety is a constant, daily thing," said an agent at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport in Texas.

The report also shows how Envoy and American Airlines' approach to safety is resulting in many preventable injuries. In November, an Envoy employee in Miami suffered a fatal heart attack in the employee break room. Excessive overtime can increase the risk of heart attacks, with one study showing the risk was increased for those working more than 11 hours per day or more than 60 hours per week in the month before the attack. The week before his death, the employee had clocked in 66 hours over just six days.

"My station is understaffed to a point of insanity," said an agent at Dane County Regional Airport in Wisconsin. "We are overworked and over-exhausted, which makes for a very dangerous combination."

CWA is making recommendations for Envoy Air to address these safety concerns including ensuring adequate staffing so agents can get the job done safely and on time; allowing workers to report unsafe conditions with no fear of retaliation; ensuring timely repair of defective equipment and availability of protective gear; providing adequate training to all agents; and paying a living wage that would enable agents to work reasonable hours and help lower employee turnover.

Workers at Envoy have been trying to negotiate a contract with fair, family-sustaining wages and improved safety standards for more than two years. The next bargaining session is set for January 22.


Verizon Wireless Exposed for Union-Busting

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As wireless workers build power in their industry, Verizon Wireless is showing that it's terrified at the idea of workers joining together to have a voice in the workplace. A new report from The Guardian exposes Verizon's union-busting tactics, including internal documents the company has been circulating to encourage anti-union rhetoric and disparage unions.

Workers at Verizon Wireless have recently gathered momentum in their organizing efforts, with store employees in Hazleton, Pa., overcoming an aggressive anti-union campaign to join CWA last July. In August, Brooklyn wireless workers successfully beat back a vicious decertification attempt from Verizon.

"Verizon Wireless continues to try to intimidate workers with its anti-union tactics," said Dennis Trainor, Vice President of CWA District 1 and chair of CWA's Wireless Workers United network. "But as we recently saw in Brooklyn and Hazleton, Pa., Verizon Wireless workers understand that joining together in a union gives them real power at work. Working people all over the country, like those at Verizon Wireless, are standing up for themselves and their communities, and CWA is proud to help them fight against corporate greed and for fairness in their workplaces."


Tell Congress: It's Time for a Fair and Functioning Democracy

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Today is a National Day of Action to push for the passage of the For the People Act to remake our democracy!

Corporate CEOs and the wealthiest 1% have spent decades rigging the system to reduce our power. The same corporate interests that fight us at the bargaining table are stacking the rules against us when it comes to political participation. They have put restrictions in place that make it harder for people to vote, flooded elections with money, and weakened the rules that prevent elected officials from profiting from their public service.

To address this crisis, Congressional Democrats have introduced the For the People Act (H.R.1), a comprehensive bill sponsored by Representative John Sarbanes (D-Md.) to restore our democracy and end corruption. The bill contains reforms essential to fixing our political system including voting rights, money-in-politics, redistricting, and government ethics reforms.

The bill has gotten support from many Democrats in the House of Representatives, but corporate lobbyists are working hard to water it down, so we need to make our voices heard loud and clear in every district! Click here to ask your member of Congress to support the For the People Act to ensure a fair and functioning democracy for us all: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-congress-its-time-for-a-fair-and-functioning-democracy/.


Texas CWA Members Urge Legislators to Protect Call Center Jobs

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CWA members are getting a jump start on protecting Texas call center jobs in 2019! On the opening day of the new Texas legislative session, CWA members from across the state came to the Texas Capitol to build support for a bill to help stop businesses from outsourcing Texas call center jobs.

If passed, HB 701, introduced by State Representative Eddie Lucio, III (D-Brownsville), will create a publicly available list of companies that make a practice of offshoring Texas call center jobs, and make those companies ineligible for any state subsidies or financial assistance. The bill also gives Texas consumers the option to be transferred to an in-state telephone customer service representative. 

The Texas bill is part of a larger CWA legislative campaign to protect U.S. call center jobs by passing similar call center legislation at the federal level and in many different states.


On the opening day of the new Texas Legislative Session, CWA members from across the state came to the Texas Capitol to build support for legislation to help stop businesses from outsourcing Texas call center jobs, and to talk to legislators about the need to protect payroll union dues deduction for public employees.


CWA Urges California Public Utilities Commission to Reject T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

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At a series of public hearings on the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger held by the California Public Utilities Commission this week in Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego, CWA members and allies have been highlighting how the merger would hurt California workers and consumers.

"The merger will lead to significant job loss and depressed wages for wireless workers," said CWA District 9 Vice President Tom Runnion at a widely-covered press conference prior to the Fresno hearing. "After the merger, the new T-Mobile will close an estimated 902 duplicative stores in California, resulting in the loss of more than 3,300 jobs."

In addition to participating in the hearings, CWA filed official testimony to the CPUC detailing the harmful effects the proposed merger would have on Californians and urging the Commission to reject the merger as it is currently structured.


CWA members and allies showed up to California Public Utilities Commission hearings to make sure the public knows how the T-Mobile/Sprint merger would hurt California workers and consumers.


UCW Members Make Major Progress towards Living Wages

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After seven years of advocating for a living wage that would ensure that full-time employees could make ends meet, members of United Campus Workers-CWA Local 3865 at the University of Memphis are making progress on seeing a substantial pay raise. Last week, U of M President M. David Rudd sent out an email to faculty and staff in support of a joint resolution passed by the Faculty Senate and the Staff Senate to raise the minimum wage at the university to $15 per hour. 

Now, UCW members are turning the fight towards making sure the university takes immediate action on President Rudd's words.

"We know incremental raises for the lowest paid employees will not help them keep up with inflation or keep up with other institutions that are now providing a living wage. UCW has done the math and we know there are immediate solutions to this problem and welcome a conversation with decision-makers to make this happen next budget cycle," said Ed McDaniel, President of UCW-CWA Local 3865.


Bargaining Update

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KPFA 94.1 FM


The CWA Local 9415 union bargaining committee is ready to advocate for a fair contract as they head into bargaining with KPFA 94.1 FM in Berkeley, Calif.


If You're a New Yorker, It's Now Easier to Vote!

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New York has had some of the most restrictive, antiquated voting laws in the country. But now, thanks to the hard work of CWA members and retirees during last year's election to bring new leadership in the state legislative chambers, legislators passed a much-needed wave of voting reforms. The new legislation includes early voting, same-day voting registration, pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds, portable registration, only one primary day, and no-excuse absentee voting.


CWAers in District 1 led the way along with other labor unions and activists, calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to make voting reform a top priority.


CWA Supports Teachers on Strike in Los Angeles

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CWA members in District 9 are showing strong support for the 32,000 teachers across Los Angeles who are on strike in the nation's second-largest school district. The strike by members of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) comes after almost two years of negotiating on wages, class sizes, and more money for counselors, school nurses, and librarians.


Members of CWA Local 9003 were out in force showing support for striking teachers at three Los Angeles schools.