Feb 28, 2019 - AT&T Needs to Explain

February 28, 2019

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Bargaining Update

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AT&T Midwest and AT&T Legacy T

More than 3,000 CWA members from AT&T Midwest and AT&T Legacy T have written personal letters calling on their members of Congress to support an investigation into AT&T's use of its tax cut windfall and its broken promises on jobs. Keeping good, family-supporting jobs in the communities that AT&T serves has been a key issue during bargaining.

Last week, they delivered those handwritten letters to local congressional offices, sharing stories about how AT&T's actions are affecting them and their communities.

"CEO Randall Stephenson stated that [the tax cut] would promote job creation, but there are massive and deep cutting layoffs of loyal employees that helped create and maintain AT&T," wrote a CWA member from Akron, Ohio. "This is not corporate loyalty to the people who maintain this company. It is corporate greed catering to the top shareholders and forsaking those below just trying to earn an honest middle-class living."

"I am writing to ask you to support an investigation into what AT&T really did with its big tax cut," wrote a CWA member from Gardner, Ill. "Why are you laying off thousands of workers instead of creating jobs and raising wages like Randall Stephenson promised?"

"I won't sugar coat this," wrote an AT&T worker from Milan, Mich. "My job as a technician is at stake, my family depends on my income, and I cannot just be silent anymore."

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you and your fellow congressmen pass corporate tax cuts for AT&T to create jobs and increase wages," wrote a service rep from Neenah, Wis., who has worked at AT&T for 17 years. "Our CEO took your money and instead of creating 7,000 jobs as he promised, dismissed over 10,000 jobs. All at the same time outsourcing our jobs to India, the Philippines, and other overseas locations."

"I am a member of the Communications Workers of America and we have been trying in good faith to negotiate a new contract," wrote a member from CWA Local 2201 in Virginia. "AT&T will not commit to preserving and creating good jobs. They are also demanding that employees spend more of their wages on health care. Congress passed these huge corporate tax cuts supposedly so that companies like AT&T would create jobs and raise wages."

Newly-elected Michigan Democratic Congresswomen Elissa Slotkin, Haley Stevens, and Rashida Tlaib appeared in videos expressing their appreciation for CWA members who took the time to speak out about the need to hold AT&T accountable. Slotkin and Stevens won elections to replace Republican members of Congress who had enthusiastically supported the corporate tax cut bill.

AT&T Legacy T bargaining will resume the week of March 11. The CWA Midwest bargaining team met with the company earlier this month and is reviewing the company's position.


More than 3,000 CWA members from AT&T Midwest and AT&T Legacy T have written personal letters calling on their members of Congress to support an investigation into AT&T's use of its tax cut windfall and its broken promises on jobs. Last week, they delivered those handwritten letters to local congressional offices, sharing stories about how AT&T's actions are affecting them and their communities.


Organizing Update

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The Morning Call

Reporters, photographers, copy editors, and other staff at The Morning Call, a newspaper based in Allentown, Pa., are asking parent company Tribune Publishing Company to voluntarily recognize their union with NewsGuild-CWA.

Morning Call employees said in a statement this week that forming a union "will ensure journalists have a voice in the workplace to preserve jobs and advocate for their ability to serve the community." 

Morning Call employees have been concerned about stagnant wages, staff cuts, and increasing workloads since Tribune Publishing acquired the newspaper in 2000. A recent round of buyouts has left the newsroom with even fewer journalists to cover a large and diverse area.


Members of The Morning Call Guild celebrate the announcement of their union organizing campaign.


T-Mobile Workers Raise Concerns about T-Mobile/Sprint Merger to Congress, FCC

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This week, members of T-Mobile Workers United traveled to Washington, D.C., to voice their concerns about the effect of the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger on workers. The CWAers delivered a petition to the Federal Communications Commission demanding that the FCC put workers and consumers ahead of corporations. They also met with regulators and members of Congress.

Analysis from CWA shows that the merger would mean 30,000 lost jobs across the country, higher prices for consumers, and worse rural broadband. 

"I'm worried about keeping my job," said Erick Baca, a T-Mobile retail worker from Houston. "I like my job, so I'm here to deliver this petition to the FCC to represent all my T-Mobile colleagues. We definitely don't want this merger going through, and for all those jobs to be cut."

"We're here to speak to lawmakers about how the T-Mobile/Sprint merger means fewer jobs, there are a lot of retail stores that will close, and it's going to mean higher prices for consumers," said Greg Caron, a T-Mobile call center worker from Colorado Springs.

"Without guarantees that our jobs will be protected, this merger should not go through," said Vanessa Villalta, a T-Mobile retail worker in Houston.

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.


This week, members of T-Mobile Workers United traveled to Washington, D.C., to voice their concerns about the effect of the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger on workers, delivering a petition to the Federal Communications Commission demanding that the FCC put workers and consumers ahead of corporations, and meeting with regulators and members of Congress.


CWAers Make Strides to Protect Call Center Jobs

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CWAers across the country are making progress on passing legislation to protect call center jobs from offshoring!


Top: CWA Local 1400 members are fighting for call center jobs in Maine. Speakers at a hearing on February 20th on legislation to protect call center jobs included the bill's sponsor, Maine State Rep. Michelle Dunphy, a CWA member who works in a call center.
Middle: A call center bill was introduced last week in Oklahoma. CWA Local 6222 member Nancy Barrios led a mini lobby day with Oklahoma CWA activists to encourage their state legislators to support the bill.
Bottom: Last week, CWA members gathered at the Colorado state capitol to lobby lawmakers to pass legislation to protect call center jobs. CWA members also advocated for the passage of other pro-worker legislation including bills on pay equity, safe contracting in schools, and guaranteeing paid family and medical leave for all Colorado workers.


Reversing Runaway Inequality in Pennsylvania and Arizona

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Top photo: CWA members from Locals 13000 and 13500 came together for a Reversing Runaway Inequality training in Pittsburgh last week. Members ramped up efforts to help elect Pam Iovino in the Pennsylvania Senate District 37 Special Election on April 2 and to continue the fight for a pro-democracy bill, the For The People Act, in Congress. CWA members Bill Scott and Jennifer Szpara led the training.

Bottom photo: CWA members from Locals 7019 and 7050 gathered in Phoenix for a Reversing Runaway Inequality training last week. In addition to discussing ways to level the economic playing field, participants signed postcards in support of an Arizona state bill HB 2530 to protect call center jobs and made calls to members of Congress supporting the For the People Act. CWA members Ginger Lane and Yolanda Bejarano from Local 7019 led the training.


Why is AT&T Closing Call Centers after Getting $20 Billion in Tax Breaks?

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AT&T workers in Connecticut were joined on Monday by Sen. Richard Blumenthal and other labor allies to speak out about AT&T's planned closure of several call centers in Connecticut in the coming months.

Despite pulling in nearly $20 billion in tax breaks last year, AT&T has rolled out plans to close a number of call centers in recent weeks. After announcing last month that a call center in Syracuse, N.Y., would be closing, the company informed workers at three call centers in Meriden, Conn., on February 22nd that their jobs would be going to Tennessee and Georgia. The workers, many of whom have been with AT&T for more than 30 years, were told that they would have to move or end their careers with AT&T. 

"AT&T should have to explain why it's rolling out closure after closure, and upending lives of workers who've given the company so much," said David Weidlich, President of CWA Local 1298. "To be out in front of the tax bill making promises about jobs and then pushing workers to relocate far away—there is simply no excuse. AT&T is profitable, there's plenty of work to do in the company and no good reason why these jobs need to be moved out of Connecticut."

WATCH the press conference here.


NLRB Accuses Nokia of Violating Federal Labor Laws

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As Nokia attempts to implement a plan to ship jobs out of the U.S. to low paid workers in India and Romania, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a complaint against the company for violations of federal labor law, setting the case for trial in Cincinnati on April 30, 2019.

CWA Local 4390 in Columbus, Ohio, represents Nokia's union workforce, one of the oldest bargaining units in CWA. The unit, mainly field and remote equipment installers, has more than 100 years of history, originally as Western Electric, then AT&T Technologies, Lucent Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent, and now Nokia.

The NLRB accuses Nokia of refusing to bargain in good faith over the closure of a remote installation and support facility in Dublin, Ohio, then transferring these operations to subcontractors. 

"Nokia is turning its back on U.S. workers and their communities and putting the bargained healthcare of 40,000 retirees at risk," said Art Plas, President of CWA Local 4390. "The company's goals will eliminate the U.S. workforce and replace what is left of our union jobs with low-paid subcontractors and the non-union employees of Nokia's wholly-owned subsidiary, SAC Wireless, Inc. Nokia's plans are a direct threat to the families, retirees, and communities that created the historical success acquired by this company."


As Windstream Declares Bankruptcy, CWA Works to Protect Members and Retirees

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As telecommunications service provider Windstream this week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, CWA, which represents approximately 1,200 active members at Windstream locations across the country, vowed to protect workers and retirees at the company.

"CWA plans to take an active part in the Windstream bankruptcy process," CWA said in a statement. "We are assessing the details as they emerge and have retained an experienced law firm to help protect the interests of our members and retirees."