Mar 7, 2019 - Fix the Rigged Tax Code

March 7, 2019

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Bargaining Update

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AT&T Mobility "Green" Contract

CWA's top priorities for the AT&T Mobility "Green" Contract are job security, benefits, and equal treatment for AT&T Mobility workers in Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, AT&T's negotiators have not been willing to work with the union to achieve these goals, so the CWA bargaining team has decided to regroup and resume negotiations with AT&T at a later date. They are keeping the dialogue open with the company during the next few weeks and remain committed to negotiating a fair contract. The CWA bargaining committee urges members to keep mobilizing to let the company know that we are moving forward – not backwards.


AT&T Mobility "Green" CWA members in Puerto Rico are ready for the fight ahead to secure a fair contract that ensures job security, and good benefits and wages.


Organizing Update

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Altice USA

More than 100 workers at Altice Technical Service/Optimum in Westchester, N.Y., voted to join CWA Local 1103. The employer's anti-union campaign was overwhelmed by a strong workers' organizing committee. A majority of workers wore CWA bands every day to work, and took over every single captive audience meeting.

"I've been working for the company for 14 years. I've never seen it this bad," said Mark, who works in Field Service at Altice in Westchester. "I'm so thankful that we're all sticking together and joining a union right now because it's the best thing that could ever happen for all of us."


Workers at Altice Technical Service/Optimum in Westchester, N.Y., voted to join CWA Local 1103.


CWA Members are Working Hard 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! Here are this week's updates on CWA members' hard work to pass state legislation: 

  • A call center bill, HB94, has been introduced in the Alabama House State Government Committee. The House is in a special session for the next two weeks, so CWA members are working to make calls and collect signed postcards in support of the bill.
     
  • A Georgia bill, SB231, was introduced in the Senate late last week. The first fight is in the Economic Development Committee. Georgia CWA members are making calls and getting postcards signed.
     
  • Florida legislators have introduced bills in both the House (HB1149) and Senate (SB1474). The bills will be assigned to committees next week.
     
  • The Arizona bill has bipartisan support in the House, but it's currently stalled in the Commerce and Rule & Regulatory Committees, both chaired by conservative Republicans. Call center workers are making calls and writing postcards, as well as canvassing retirees to make calls in support of the bill. So far they have collected more than 200 postcards!


Above: Members of Texas State Employees Union-CWA Local 6186 and CWA Local 6222 held a day of action last week where they made 149 calls encouraging legislators to pass CWA-backed legislation to protect Texas call center jobs, recently introduced in the Texas House's Business Industry Committee.

Below: Following AT&T's recent announcement that it is closing three long-standing call centers in Connecticut, the Connecticut General Assembly held a hearing today on a bill, SB990, which would protect these positions at big employers. Members of CWA Local 1298 rallied in the State Capitol and testified at the hearing about the devastation that AT&T's job cuts will create for working families and why a legislative fix is crucial.


T&T Members Call for Job Security at AT&T

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This week, hundreds of CWA members from the Telecommunications and Technologies (T&T) sector held an informational picket at AT&T's corporate office in San Antonio to call on the company to keep good, family-supporting jobs in their communities.

"We have 14,000 workers who've been without a contract since April 14th," said Telecommunications and Technologies Vice President Lisa Bolton. "Once the tax cut bill passed, AT&T promised 7,000 jobs. Instead, they laid off 11,000 workers – 11,000 good, middle class jobs. Call centers are closing throughout the country. We have got to keep good jobs in our communities."

CWA has called on Congress to investigate how AT&T and other major corporations are spending the enormous tax cut benefits they received from the 2018 tax bill.

The T&T members were in San Antonio for the 2019 Telecommunications and Technologies Leadership Conference. They were joined by CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens, CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt, CWA District 4 Vice President Linda L. Hinton, CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings, CWA District 7 Vice President Brenda Roberts, CWA District 9 Vice President Tom Runnion, and CWA Public Sector Vice President Brooks Sunkett.


Hundreds of CWA members from the Telecommunications and Technologies (T&T) sector held an informational picket at AT&T's corporate office in San Antonio to call on the company to keep good, family-supporting jobs in their communities.


UAW Joins Fight to Hold Corporations Accountable for Tax Cut Promises

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The United Automobile Workers (UAW) joined CWA this week on a letter to members of the House Ways and Means Committee urging the committee to investigate how AT&T, General Motors, Wells Fargo, and other major corporations are spending the enormous tax cut benefits they received from the 2018 tax bill.
 
CWA President Chris Shelton and UAW President Gary Jones wrote in the letter: "[AT&T CEO] Randall Stephenson, [GM CEO] Mary Barra, [Wells Fargo CEO] Tim Sloan, and other corporate leaders whose corporations have significantly benefited from the tax cut, should be required to explain why the predictions made by the authors and supporters of this major tax policy change were so seriously incorrect when they promised thousands of new American jobs and rising wages...We urge you to hold hearings to examine the impacts of the tax law on corporate profits, wages, job creation, and offshoring."

GM closed its Lordstown, Ohio, plant this week, and has announced layoffs that would directly affect nearly 12,000 workers despite reporting net income of over $8 billion for fiscal year 2018. AT&T has eliminated more than 11,000 jobs since the corporate tax cut took effect. Wells Fargo is expected to benefit more from the tax cuts than any other bank, but has announced plans to lay off up to 26,500 people and is offshoring jobs to the Philippines and India.


Reminder: Apply for the Beirne Foundation Scholarship for 2019-2020

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The CWA Joe Beirne Foundation will award 16 partial college scholarships of $4,000 each for two years for the 2019-2020 academic year. CWA members, their spouses, children, and grandchildren are eligible for the scholarships, including the dependents of retired, laid-off, or deceased members. 

Applications are available only online at the Foundation's website. The final deadline for the 2019-2020 school year is 11:59 p.m., EDT, April 30, 2019.

The Beirne scholarship program is made possible by funding from CWA locals. Read more about the program here.


CWA Supports Wall Street Tax Act to Level Financial Playing Field

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The Wall Street Tax Act, introduced this week by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) in the Senate and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) in the House, would make our tax system fairer and put the brakes on corporate greed.
 
The legislation would implement a small 0.1% tax on transactions of stocks, bonds, and derivatives to discourage speculative financial trading that can harm the economy. Just like most Americans pay a sales tax on the goods and services that we buy every day, Wall Street traders should pay a similar fee. The funds generated by the Wall Street Tax could be used to support national priorities that help working families.
 
CWA President Chris Shelton said, "The Wall Street Tax Act is a good step toward leveling the financial playing field for working families and making sure Wall Street traders and speculators pay their fair share. The bill will put the brakes on Wall Street speculation and excesses by closing the loophole that allows Wall Street traders to avoid the kinds of sales tax that working families pay every day. We're proud to support this bill, which would help address the rigged tax code that rewards the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us."