May 16, 2019 - Worker Confronts Verizon CEO on Union Busting

May 16, 2019

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Bargaining Update

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Frontier Airlines

Flight Attendants at Frontier Airlines, represented by AFA-CWA, ratified a new five-year contract this week covering more than 2,200 Flight Attendants, with 94% voting to ratify the agreement.

Frontier Flight Attendants will immediately receive an average 24% wage increase. The agreement also includes better pay protections, schedule flexibility and protections, improvements for reserves, better vacation, quality of work life enhancements, and many more benefits.

"This contract provides immediate economic gains and locks in important work rules and protections for Flight Attendants. This shows our power when we stand together and fight for the contract we deserve," said Jennifer Sala, AFA-CWA Frontier President.

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Air Wisconsin

AFA-CWA has petitioned the National Mediation Board (NMB) on behalf of its Flight Attendant members at United Express carrier Air Wisconsin for a release from mediation, which could start the clock for a potential strike 30 days later.

"Enough! Flight Attendants are living in poverty while airlines are making billions off their backs," said AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson. "The aviation scam of the century is undervaluing Flight Attendants and other workers at regionals who provide the backbone service of mainline networks."

AFA-CWA has a trademarked strike strategy known as CHAOS or Create Havoc Around Our System™. With CHAOS, a strike could affect the entire system, a single airport, or a single flight. The union decides when, where, and how to strike without notice to management or passengers. Flight Attendants at Air Wisconsin have voted by 99% to strike if necessary.


Last week, Air Wisconsin Flight Attendants demonstrated at Washington Dulles International Airport, joined by AFA-CWA Flight Attendants from across the system, and members of several other unions.

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Nokia

To avoid a hearing that was set for April 30, Nokia agreed to settle NLRB charges filed by CWA's Telecommunications & Technologies sector and CWA Local 4390 for failing and refusing to provide the union with information requested and for bargaining in bad faith.

By the terms of the agreement, the company is now required to supply the union with the information it has been withholding by May 31. Once CWA has had time to review the requested information, Nokia is required to meet with the CWA bargaining team and CWA's research economist so that the union can perform its own cost analysis. This process will take some time, but will go a long way in helping the bargaining committee craft proposals that will help Nokia CWA members achieve a collective bargaining agreement that will provide job and retirement security.  Nokia is also required to physically post, mail, email, and post on the intranet a notice affirming that the company will bargain collectively and in good faith with CWA.
 


Worker Gets CEO to Agree that Verizon Wireless Workers Have a Right to Join Unions

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At Verizon's annual shareholder meeting earlier this month in Orlando, Fla., Jennifer Womack, a Verizon Wireless call center worker in Irving, Texas, took a brave stand to confront Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg and ask him point blank, once and for all: why is Verizon so scared of workers joining a union?

Jennifer detailed the struggles faced by Verizon Wireless workers, including the intense pressure put on them by the company to hit unattainable goals and being thrown into new responsibilities with little or no training.

"Inadequate training, scheduled work days being changed with little notice at all, medical leave not being paid. And then also retaliation. We've had some meetings [with management] about not meeting with the union, not talking to the union, and we feel like we're being harassed and bullied."

Mr. Vestburg responded by noting that, "We're all here to make the company better," and went on to commit that, "Employees have all the right to [join unions]. And of course we are supporting whatever decision you're making."

In addition to Jennifer and other Verizon Wireless workers who attended the meeting, CWA presented a shareholder proposal calling for an independent board chair, highlighting the need for oversight and accountability as the company undertakes risky new business strategies and internal restructuring.

Watch the video of Jennifer confronting the Verizon CEO here.


Presidential Candidates Must Support Comprehensive Democracy Reform

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CWA signed an open letter sent this week to all 2020 presidential candidates urging them to make comprehensive democracy reform a centerpiece of their campaign platforms. The letter was written and signed by a coalition of more than 100 labor, democracy, environmental, religion, good government, civil rights, and other groups from the Declaration For American Democracy Coalition

In the letter, the groups call on the presidential candidates to stand with Americans across the country by committing to build on the foundation of the For the People Act, H.R. 1, passed this year in the House of Representatives and its Senate companion, S. 949.

"Corporate CEOs and the wealthiest 1% have spent decades rigging the political process against working people by making it harder for them to vote, stacking the courts with activist judges who have allowed our elections to be flooded with massive amounts of unreported corporate money, and weakening ethics rules," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "The next president of the United States must restore power to working people by committing to comprehensive democracy reform."
 
The letter asks candidates to work to expand the right to vote, strengthen government ethics laws, end the dominance of big money in our political system, create more transparency over campaign finance donations and federal influence, limit the revolving door and create stronger guidelines for the Washington influence industry, and strengthen the checks and balances system to protect against bad actors.


New York CWA Members Lobby in Albany for Safe Staffing and Protecting Call Center Jobs

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CWAers flooded the New York capitol building with red this week for a huge lobby day! Members across the state made the trip to Albany to talk with elected officials about safe staffing legislation for healthcare workers, protecting New York call center jobs, and ensuring that Verizon builds out FiOS in all of our communities.


Getting out the Vote in Pennsylvania!

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CWA political activists from Locals 13000, 13500, and 13301 are knocking on doors, making phone calls, and talking to members at work sites to get out the vote for candidates who support CWA, labor, and worker rights in Pennsylvania in next week's primary election.

Last week, activists met with At-Large Philadelphia City Council candidate Isaiah Thomas and Pittsburgh District 7 Councilwoman Deb Gross to talk about building power for working people in this election and beyond.


CWA Local 7476 Gears Up for Contract Negotiations

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On May 4, CWA Local 7476 officers and division reps held their annual meeting in North Platte, Neb., to strategize as members at Black Hills Energy in Nebraska and Wyoming gear up for contract negotiations later this year.


CWA Calls on Congress to Invest in Infrastructure and Broadband

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CWA, along with a coalition of some of the nation's largest unions and environmental groups, is calling on leaders of the U.S. House and Senate to move forward swiftly with a robust and ambitious plan to rebuild and transform America's infrastructure, including broadband. If done right, this plan would boost the U.S. economy and create millions of jobs, while reducing pollution, combating climate change, and strengthening communities.

The letter from the BlueGreen Alliance puts good jobs and protecting the freedom of working people to join unions to improve their working conditions front and center. Any comprehensive infrastructure plan must include using project labor agreements (PLAs), and include provisions and practices that prioritize collective bargaining agreements and workers' organizing rights like neutrality, majority sign-up, and first contract arbitration. It also asks Congress to include Davis-Bacon provisions that ensure workers are paid prevailing wages.

In addition to the letter, CWA recently released a separate infrastructure proposal to Congress urging legislators to invest strongly in broadband, which should be considered essential infrastructure of the 21st century. High-speed internet connections provide a gateway to economic growth, jobs, education, healthcare, public safety, energy efficiency, civic participation, and communication among friends and family. CWA called on legislators to implement broadband infrastructure solutions that will best serve working people in order to help guarantee universal access to high-speed broadband, close the digital divide, and promote good jobs in the telecommunications industry.


As Wildfire Season Approaches, It's Time to Protect Outdoor Workers from Smoke Exposure

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CWA District 9 has submitted comments to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) urging them to strengthen proposed emergency standards to protect outdoor workers from wildfire smoke exposure as California wildfire season approaches.

CWA D9 represents more than 10,000 workers employed as technicians at companies including AT&T, Frontier, and Verizon, many of whom are assigned work that includes performing job functions in an outdoor environment throughout California.  

In the comments, CWA D9 urges Cal/OSHA to remove any exemption for utility workers, increase worker training obligations for employers, and require fit-testing of respirators to provide workers enough protection to reduce exposures in areas of high fire risk.