May 9, 2019 - CWAers walk off the job!

May 9, 2019

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Democrats Unveil Legislation to Strengthen Workers' Rights

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Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate introduced groundbreaking new legislation this week, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, to strengthen workers' rights.

The bill, supported by CWA, contains provisions to protect workers' right to strike for basic workplace improvements, strengthen remedies for workers who face illegal retaliation, prevent the misclassification of workers as independent contractors, protect the integrity of union elections, ensure that workers and employers are able to reach fair deals for a first contract, and more.
 
Over the past quarter-century, income has skyrocketed for CEOs and the wealthiest 1%, while wages have stagnated for workers and union density has declined substantially. Workers who join unions not only earn higher wages, but also have stronger protections against discrimination and retaliation, enhanced job security, better retirement benefits, and more effective ways of combating practices that jeopardize their health and safety on the job. 

"The PRO Act would ensure that workers' right to a voice on the job would be protected," wrote CWA's Director of Legislation, Politics, and International Affairs Shane Larson in a letter urging legislators to support the bill. "In doing so, it would help combat skyrocketing economic inequality and strengthen the middle class."

Make sure your member of Congress has signed on to this important bill. Click here or dial 1-888-966-9836 to make your voice heard! 


CWAers on the Verge of New Protections for Call Center Workers

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CWAers across the country continue to make progress on passing legislation to protect call center jobs from offshoring! Here are the new updates on CWA members' hard work to pass this critical legislation:

Maine

Maine workers scored a huge victory last week with the passage of a bill that will require businesses to give more advance notice before any closures and layoffs. The bill, which began as a call center bill only and was later expanded to include all businesses with more than 100 employees, was approved by the State House on April 30th by a count of 78-50, and then moved to the Senate where it passed 21-14.

"It would add a lot of comfort to know that I have another four weeks of paychecks if the company were to close," said Pat Bureau, a call center worker and CWA Local 1400 member who was at the State Capitol in Augusta on April 30th to lobby for the bill.

The bill was sponsored by Maine House Rep. Michelle Dunphy, a former call center worker and CWA member, along with State Senator Shenna Bellows.


CWA members and Maine workers scored a huge victory last week with the passage of a bill that will require businesses to give more advance notice before any closures and layoffs.

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New York

After years of advocating for legislation to protect call center workers in New York, CWAers are closer than ever to victory!

Since the State Senate passed the NY Call Center Jobs Act on March 12th, CWAers have turned their attention to the Assembly, holding three Weeks of Action to pressure them to pass the bill – which the Assembly did by overwhelming majority votes in 2017 and 2018.


Despite Promises on Jobs, AT&T Announces California Layoffs

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Sacramento, Calif. — Despite promises to use its enormous tax savings to create “7,000 high-paying, really good jobs,” AT&T this week announced additional layoffs across California.

“What AT&T has been doing in communities across California and across the country is inexcusable,” said Thomas Runnion, vice president of Communications Workers of America District 9. “The company has received over $21 billion in tax cuts, but has eliminated over 20,000 jobs since the tax cut passed. They hide behind words like ‘geographic rationalization,’ but they are causing real hardship to California’s working families in order to squeeze every last penny of profit out of their customers.”

A report in Motherboard earlier this year noted that California was one of the states targeted for layoffs. The latest layoffs affect 368 technicians represented by CWA. While the cuts impact locations across the state, they are concentrated in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas.

CWA has been calling for a Congressional investigation into how AT&T has been using its tax cut since it has not fulfilled its promise to create jobs and invest in the United States. While AT&T responds to criticism of its massive job cuts with boasts about hiring, hiring to address turnover is not the same as job creation.


Making District 6 CWA STRONG

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At the CWA District 6 conference in St. Louis this week, CWAers heard from CWA President Chris Shelton and District 6 Vice President and head of CWA's Human Rights Program Claude Cummings, Jr., who both urged members and activists to stay focused on moving our agenda for working families forward.

Shelton recognized CWA Local 6311 for becoming one of the first locals to reach all of the CWA STRONG goals for member engagement and organizing. He also noted the importance of elections and the need to double down on political efforts heading into the crucial 2020 elections to protect our union and standard of living.

"What's become clear over the past two years is that the change we got [from Donald Trump] is policies that serve corporations, Wall Street, and the one percent, and they hurt working families," Shelton said. "He showered billions on corporations and the wealthiest Americans, but we saw barely a trickle for our members. And he encouraged offshoring by giving lower tax rates for overseas operations than operations at home, and that's why offshoring by employers, including ours, gets worse and worse."

CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens, Telecommunications and Technologies Vice President Lisa Bolton, Public Sector Vice President Brooks Sunkett, District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt, and District 4 Vice President Linda L. Hinton were also in attendance.


CWA District 6 conference attendees rallied with workers at Dex Yellow Pages to call on the company to negotiate a fair contract.


Bargaining Update

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Endeavor Air

This week, Endeavor Air Flight Attendants, represented by AFA-CWA, agreed to terms on a collective bargaining agreement with the company for more than 1,300 Flight Attendants.

Elected Endeavor Air Flight Attendant leaders will meet next week to vote to send the agreement to the members for ratification.


CWA Local 4009 Members Walk Out!

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After raising multiple issues that went unresolved by management, CWA Local 4009 members employed at an AT&T Sales Call Center in Southfield, Mich., walked off the job this week, taking to the streets and remaining steadfast for two days in cold, rainy weather. Management was finally forced to listen to the workers' concerns, and participating members have now returned to work with no disciplinary action.


CWA Activists Boost Pro-Worker Candidates in Philly Primary

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CWA political activists from Locals 13000, 13301, 13500, and 13500 are building worker power for the upcoming 2019 Primary Election in Philadelphia! Activists are engaging their fellow union members at worksites, making phone calls, and engaging volunteers to help elect pro-worker candidates on May 21.


Fighting Back against Runaway Inequality in North Carolina

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North Carolina CWAers attended and participated in a series of talks across the state this week featuring labor activist Les Leopold, whose book, Runaway Inequality: An Activist's Guide to Economic Justice, provides the basis for CWA's acclaimed Reversing Runaway Inequality training program. CWA's trainings focus on the growing gap between the super-rich and ordinary workers, how the 1% uses race to divide working people, and how we can fight back against inequality and level the economic playing field.


Register for the 2019 CWA Health, Safety and Environment Conference

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The 2019 CWA Health, Safety and Environment Conference will be held September 9-13 at the Westin Convention Center and Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pa. The conference, held with the Steelworkers Union, brings local union occupational health and safety activists together to develop strategies to improve member working conditions, and increase knowledge and skills. Workshops will cover a Union Approach to Health and Safety Committees, Industrial Hygiene, Ergonomics, Heat Stress, Lead, and Labor and the Environment, and other topics.

Get more information and register here.