Apr 4, 2019 - CWA Secures Settlement with Company on Union Busting Charges

April 4, 2019

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Presidential Candidates Field Questions from CWA Members on How to Fix Our Democracy

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CWA members from across the country this week attended the We the People membership summit, a gathering in Washington, D.C., of progressive organizations focusing on strategies to fight back against attacks on our democracy that aim to limit the participation of working people.
 
As part of the summit, eight Democratic presidential hopefuls answered questions from members of the organizations. The candidates participating included U.S. Senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Governor Jay Inslee, and Reps. Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke.
 
CWA Local 1014 Vice President Amber Pallante, who works for the City of Camden, N.J., talked about how the Supreme Court's recent Janus decision, a direct attack on public sector unions engineered by big corporations and right-wing extremists, illustrates the need for reform of our judicial system. "The Janus decision resulted from decades of right-wing plotting to use the courts to weaken the power of working people," Pallante said. She asked candidates to lay out how they would reclaim the judicial system for the people.

Cherie Terhark, a call center worker for federal contractor Maximus, which handles calls from people who need help with their Medicare or federal ACA health care plans, told the candidates about the challenges she and her coworkers have faced in Maximus workers' fight for a voice on the job. She asked candidates to lay out their plans to extend collective bargaining rights to all workers. "My co-workers and I are fed up, so we've been organizing with CWA," Terhark said. "We want some say in how we are treated. That's what a democracy is supposed to be about—having some rights at work and some control over how you are treated every day on the job. Like most workers who try to organize, we've faced an intense anti-union campaign from management."

Joe Mayhew, a member of CWA Local 1103, called on the candidates to support the creation of a small donor public financing system for all federal elections. "In the current system, money from these bad corporate actors and those that profit from their actions is drowning our democracy," Mayhew said. "There is only one real solution—ending the system of elections being primarily financed by private campaign contributions."

CWA members also participated in a day-long strategy session following the summit. They discussed the key issues facing working families and how CWA members and retirees can help elect candidates for local, state, and federal office who will address these issues.


CWA members from across the country this week attended the We the People membership summit, a gathering in Washington, D.C., of progressive organizations focusing on strategies to fight back against attacks on our democracy that aim to limit the participation of working people. CWA members made their voices heard at the forum, asking candidates questions about how they would address issues of great importance to union members and working people.


Organizing Update

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Wirecutter
 
Nearly 90 percent of newsroom employees at Wirecutter, a product review and recommendation site published by the New York Times Company, announced this week that they are seeking to join NewsGuild of New York/TNG-CWA Local 31003.
 
In a mission statement, Wirecutter staff cited a desire to improve benefits, editorial independence, pay equity, diversity, and job security through collective bargaining.

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Aclara

Forty-one warehouse workers and "door knockers" at Aclara, a contractor for the utility company ConEd that installs Smart Meters on homes that can read meters electronically, have joined CWA Local 1109. These new members will join the existing contract of the Aclara installation techs that organized a union with CWA last year.


Bargaining Update

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Air Wisconsin

AFA-CWA Air Wisconsin Flight Attendants continue to fight for a fair contract with meaningful pay and work rule improvements.

The Flight Attendants will be conducting informational picketing at Chicago O'Hare International Airport next Thursday, April 11, from 1-2 p.m. CDT. The action will take place on the upper level, between Terminals 1 and 2. If you are in the Chicago area, please come out and show your support and send a message to United Airlines and Air Wisconsin that poverty wages for regional Flight Attendants are not OK!


Fighting for Workers in CWA District 7

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CWA District 7 Conference attendees rallied with AT&T Legacy T workers (top) in CWA Locals 7200 and 7250, calling on the company to bargain a fair contract. Attendees also joined Committee for Better Banks members in occupying the Wells Fargo office (bottom) to demand a voice for workers on the job.

At the CWA District 7 Conference this week in Minneapolis, Minn., CWA President Chris Shelton rallied CWA members to organize to build worker power!

Shelton commended eight D7 Locals, 7019, 7050, 7110, 7304, 7401, 7603, 7800, and 27056, for boosting membership since the beginning of the year despite the organizing challenges union members are facing across the district, and urged members to focus their efforts on organizing new members at AT&T Mobility and CenturyLink/Level 3.

"Internal organizing—expanding the union in our workplaces—is only the first step on the way to making our whole country union again," Shelton said. "Just like we're going to organize all of CenturyLink, including Level 3, we are on a path to make the whole wireless industry union!"

CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens, CWA District 7 Vice President Brenda Roberts, Telecommunications & Technologies Vice President Lisa Bolton, NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz also attended the conference.

Conference attendees participated in two rallies in Minneapolis. Attendees showed their support for AT&T Legacy T workers in CWA Locals 7200 and 7250, who have been working without a contract for nearly a year, calling on the company to bargain a fair contract. Attendees also joined frontline bank workers and Committee for Better Banks members in occupying the Wells Fargo office to demand a voice on the job and to tell the company that the only way to reform the bank is for workers to have a seat at the table. Workers delivered a petition with 16,000 signatures urging Wells Fargo leadership to meet with workers to talk about low pay, unfair metrics, and offshoring.


CWA Secures Settlement with GDIT on Union Busting Charges

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In a victory for workers at federal contractor General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. (GDIT), CWA has agreed to settle its charges that GDIT engaged in unlawful union-busting activity at call centers handling Medicare and Federal ACA Marketplace inquiries in Bogalusa, La., and Hattiesburg, Miss.
 
The settlement agreement ensures that the call center workers know their rights under federal labor law, including the right to join together in a union to negotiate with their employer to get higher wages and better benefits. 

In November 2018, GDIT sold its Federal Citizen Engagement Centers—including the Bogalusa and Hattiesburg call centers—to Maximus, Inc.
 
"This settlement with GDIT is a big victory for call center workers, and a great reminder that companies—especially federal contractors—must respect workers' rights to join together to improve working conditions," said Kathleen Flick, a worker at the Bogalusa call center. "But our work here isn't done. This win for workers only adds to our determination to organize Maximus call center workers to make positive changes in our workplaces and communities."

The U.S. Department of Labor is currently investigating allegations of massive wage theft at the call centers Maximus acquired from GDIT.


Journalists Fight for Equal Pay in Newsrooms

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On Equal Pay Day, NewsGuild-CWA members stood up for equal pay by posting on social media, putting up table tents, and talking with their colleagues about how unions can address pay discrimination directly.

On Equal Pay Day, April 2, which symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year, NewsGuild-CWA members stood up for equal pay by posting on social media, putting up table tents, and talking with their colleagues about how unions can address pay discrimination directly.

The NewsGuild-CWA also launched a website, newsguildequalpay.org, to help journalists join together to address pay discrimination and improve working conditions by continuing the wave of union organizing that has been sweeping through newsrooms across the country.

"Reporters, editors, photographers, and other news industry employees have learned that one of the best ways to fight for equal pay is to join a union," the NewsGuild said in a statement. "Collective bargaining gives workers a way to stand together, share information, and address inequality in their workplace."


CWA Members Urge Lawmakers to Protect Georgia Call Center Jobs

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CWA members in Georgia from Locals 3212, 3218, and 3250 met with lawmakers last week at the state capitol in Atlanta and urged them to support S.B. 231, a CWA-supported bill to protect Georgia call center jobs. The bill would require call center employers to notify the state if they intend to relocate at least 30% of call volume in a year, and those companies would lose all grants, loans, tax benefits, and state contracts for the next five years.


CWA Local 7777 Members Push for Higher Standards for Colorado Students

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Last week, CWA Local 7777 member Sandra Parker Murray presented the testimony of Local 7777 Vice President Marlene Jimenez in support of H.B. 1249 (Safety and Accountability in School Contracting) at a Colorado House Education Committee hearing.

"For many of us, the schools we clean are our community and like a family," Jimenez's testimony said. "We take care of them as if our own kids are attending. I strongly urge this committee to support House Bill 1249 and make sure we are maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness, effectiveness, and safety for our students."

The bill is still under consideration, but there is organized, powerful pushback from the business community, along with some school leaders that fear transparency and higher labor standards.

Coloradans can support the bill by calling their state lawmakers and asking them to support H.B. 1249 for safety and accountability in school contracting.


Last week, CWA Local 7777 member Sandra Parker Murray presented the testimony of Local 7777 Vice President Marlene Jimenez in support of H.B. 1249 (Safety and Accountability in School Contracting) at a Colorado House Education Committee hearing.