Jan 31, 2019 - Worker Power Ends Government Shutdown

January 31, 2019

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Bargaining Update

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Envoy Air

Last week, the CWA bargaining team reached a Tentative Agreement with American Airlines subsidiary Envoy Air that would, for the first time, provide Envoy agents with wage and benefits guarantees for the 7-year duration of the contract and would protect them from arbitrary changes in company policies by management. The agreement contains wage increases, establishes work rules, and improves benefits and job security for Envoy agents.

"Passenger service agents at Envoy joined together to stand up for good jobs with family-supporting wages," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "It's been a long, tough fight, but thanks to their hard work, determination, and mobilization in support of their bargaining team they have an agreement they can be proud of."

Read more about the agreement here.

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DIRECTV


Members of NABET-CWA Local 59053 at DIRECTV in Burbank, Calif., are currently bargaining a first contract with the company. Members in the bargaining unit are primarily responsible for distribution of sports programming across dozens of DIRECTV satellite channels, so they demonstrated their union solidarity by wearing their favorite NFL team football jerseys – branded with "NABET-CWA #53." Negotiations are scheduled to continue next week in California.


Organizing Update

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Big Ten Network
 
This week, Big Ten Network (BTN) employees voted to join NABET-CWA.The unit consists of 35 BTN employees who perform work as camera operators, jib operators, replay operators, as well as production control operators and floor directors.


Worker Power Ends Government Shutdown

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After 35 days of a federal government shutdown that left many people hungry and at risk of foreclosure and eviction, and threatened the safety of our food and our transportation systems, it was the power of workers joining together that finally led President Trump to abandon his attempt to use federal workers as political pawns.

Just days before the end of the shutdown, AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson, along with National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi and Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) President Joe DePete, issued a statement highlighting the grave safety issues that their members were facing during the shutdown and calling for Congress and the White House to take action.

Last Friday, serious safety concerns and a lack of staffing of air traffic controllers caused a slowdown at the busiest airports in the U.S. The disruption in air travel led Trump to back down and make a deal with congressional leadership to end the shutdown. Air traffic controllers were among hundreds of thousands of workers affected by missing two paychecks due to the shutdown.

"If there is anything this shutdown has taught us, it should be that labor rights matter," said Nelson. "We must work together to improve rights for working Americans. Our democracy depends on it."


Throughout the shutdown, CWA members across the country made calls and took part in solidarity actions.


Building Worker Power in CWA District 9

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At the CWA District 9 Leadership Conference this week in Oakland, Calif., CWA President Chris Shelton rallied CWAers to channel the energy from the 2018 Midterm Elections into passing pro-worker legislation, successfully organizing and growing our union, and winning in 2020.

Recognizing last year's incredible electoral successes across D9, including picking up congressional seats for pro-worker candidates across the district, Shelton talked about the importance of continuing the same tireless work to deliver concrete results for working families.

"We need to take the incredible momentum from November and turn it into even more positive change – to enact policies that will create good jobs, raise wages, make it easier to join a union, and erase big money from politics," Shelton said.

Shelton commended CWA Local 9415 for increasing their AT&T Mobility membership rate to over 90 percent, CWA Local 9510 for pushing its AT&T Mobility membership rate to 95%, UPTE-CWA Local 9119 for adding almost 1,000 new members since the start of CWA STRONG, CWA Local 9509 for their outstanding work on maximizing contributions to CWA's Political Action Fund (PAF), and the staff of the Los Angeles Times for successfully forming a union despite pressure from a vulture fund Wall Street owner and inspiring other Tribune-owned papers to organize with NewsGuild-CWA.

CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens, CWA District 9 Vice President Thomas Runnion, AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson, Public Sector Vice President Brooks Sunkett, NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf also attended the conference.


At the District 9 Leadership Conference this week in Oakland, Calif., CWA President Chris Shelton (left) rallied CWAers to channel the energy from the 2018 Midterm Elections into passing pro-worker legislation, successfully organizing and growing our union, and winning in 2020.


A Wave of Union Organizing is Sweeping through the News Industry

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An upsurge in union organizing among journalists and other news industry employees was the focus of the NewsGuild-CWA Sector Conference last week in Orlando, Fla. Workers at more than 20 news outlets – 1,426 news industry employees – joined the NewsGuild in 2018.

A panel discussion and a question-and-answer session at the conference shined a spotlight on NewsGuild organizing wins across the country and strategies to continue to successfully organize the news industry as it faces upheaval.

When workers at the Omaha World Herald learned in June 2018 that BH Media had turned over management of the paper to Lee Enterprises, it was "the unifying factor" that prompted them to take action, said Kiley Cruse, a journalist at the Omaha World Herald.

The weekend after the announcement, a few workers got together to decide what to do. A friend at the Casper Star-Tribune, where workers had formed a NewsGuild unit four months earlier, said they should build a chapter, too. The group began meeting regularly at the library across the street from paper's office for "book club," Cruse said. When the votes were counted, the results were overwhelming: 71-5.

The panel also highlighted the resounding vote in favor of forming a NewsGuild unit at the Los Angeles Times in January 2018 that gave confidence to staff at other publications to launch union drives, the hard-fought win in bargaining with Law360 for a strong first contract, organizing success at the Florida Times-Union, and more.

Read about it here.


At the NewsGuild conference, a panel discussion at the conference shined a spotlight on NewsGuild organizing wins across the country and strategies to continue to successfully organize the news industry as it faces upheaval.


As CWAers Highlight Potential Tennessee Job Loss, U.S. Senators Call for a Hearing to Examine Consequences of T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

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CWAers' hard work across the country to raise concerns about the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger with their elected officials is paying off! Last week, U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), all members of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, called on Chairman Roger Wicker (R- Miss.) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) to schedule a Senate hearing on the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger. A hearing in the House of Representatives is scheduled for February 13.

"The potential consequences of this merger are too great for the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee to ignore," wrote the Senators. "We should examine the impact of combining these two disruptors into one mega company."

Also last week, workers and local community leaders held a press conference outside a T-Mobile call center in Nashville, Tenn., to highlight how the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger would harm Tennessee workers and consumers.
 
According to a detailed CWA analysis, the T-Mobile/Sprint merger would result in 126 store closures in Tennessee, eliminating hundreds of jobs. The merger would mean increased prices for consumers – especially low-income and senior residents of the state. The proposed merger also would threaten call center jobs, as T-Mobile currently operates call centers in Chattanooga and Nashville, employing approximately 850 workers.

CWA analysis of the merger shows that it would result in the loss of approximately 30,000 jobs across the country – 25,500 job cuts from the elimination of duplicate retail stores and another 4,500 job cuts due to duplicate headquarters functions.

CWA has launched a website with information about the effects of the merger, including detailed state-by-state information about job loss. You can also stay up to date by following @TMSprintFacts on Twitter.


Workers and local community leaders held a press conference outside a T-Mobile call center in Nashville, Tenn., to highlight how the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger would harm Tennessee workers and consumers.


How Medicare for All Could Increase Workers' Leverage at the Bargaining Table

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Health insurance premiums have increased by more than 200% over the past 20 years, with costs pushed onto workers. Meanwhile, healthcare bargaining has become the biggest cause of strikes, lockouts, and concession bargaining for union members. CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney joined labor leaders at a town hall in Philadelphia to discuss how Medicare for All could help improve working people's leverage at the bargaining table. Watch the town hall by clicking here.