This week, CWA members in Puerto Rico who work at AT&T Mobility ratified a four-year agreement covering 900 workers. The new agreement provides wage increases, maintains existing pension plan and health care benefits, restricts subcontracting, and contains a guarantee that customer calls will continue to be handled on the island. The contract also adds protections against discrimination based on marital status, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression.
"When working people join together in unions, they have the power to protect their jobs and strengthen their communities," said CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt. "This contract ensures that AT&T will keep family-supporting jobs with fair compensation and good benefits in Puerto Rico."
During negotiations, CWA members' efforts to raise awareness of the need for AT&T to commit to keeping jobs in Puerto Rico drew broad public support. Members of Congress, led by Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.), weighed in with a letter expressing concern that AT&T continue to provide good jobs as Puerto Rico recovers from the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
After months of negotiations with management, the union bargaining committee secured a three-year Tentative Agreement with Kaleida Health covering 7,200 union members from CWA Local 1168, IUOE Local 17, and 1199SEIU. Details of the Tentative Agreement will be made available at an upcoming membership meeting.
At an all-staff meeting this week, StoryCorps workers, members of CWA Local 1180, announced to a roomful of colleagues and managers that they were walking out and attending the rest of the meeting remotely to send a message that after nearly two years of bargaining, management needs to come to the table now and negotiate a fair agreement on wages and healthcare.
This Summer, CWA Members are Taking on Offshoring of U.S. Jobs
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More than 1,200 CWAers from across the country joined a CWA town hall call this week to hear from CWA President Chris Shelton and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) about how to take action in CWA's Summer of #NoMoreOffshoring campaign and what CWA members are doing to urge Congress to fight back against the offshoring of U.S. jobs.
"You really are the backbone of the labor movement," Senator Brown told CWA members on the call. "I know how personal these policies are for you. I'm out all the time in Ohio and I meet CWA members. I know the threat of outsourcing hangs over call center workers constantly — especially those who aren't lucky enough to have a CWA union card. I've been to call centers that are organized by CWA and call centers that aren't organized. The difference in quality of work, in turnover, productivity, wages, and benefits is stark. It's why last month I introduced, working with CWA, the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act."
CWAers have been making phone calls to urge Congress to support Brown's call center legislation, as well as the No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act, which would stop rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas and reverse the offshoring tax cuts embedded in the GOP tax scam.
If you haven't yet signed the petition to keep call center jobs in our communities, sign today.
"We need you to spend the rest of the summer making sure that all CWA members recognize that we can fight back against the offshoring of U.S. jobs," President Shelton said. "We need you to hand out leaflets at the workplaces and urge your friends and family to call their elected representatives. So get out there, make sure your brothers and sisters know what's at stake."
Eighty-three percent of members polled on the call said that addressing offshoring jobs is a top three issue for them when considering who to vote for in the 2020 elections.
This week, employees of Woodstown Township in Salem County, N.J., gained union representation with CWA Local 1085. The group is composed of 17 workers in public works as well as clerical workers and crossing guards.
Members of Congress Introduce Bipartisan Fair and Open Skies Act
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This week, a bipartisan group of Congressmembers, led by Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), introduced legislation supported by AFA-CWA to prohibit the Department of Transportation (DOT) from issuing permits to "flag of convenience" airlines – an airline that is established in a country other than its home country to avoid the regulations of its home country, including labor standards.
The bill also requires DOT to ensure that any new foreign air carrier permit issued to a European airline is consistent with the fair labor standards and fair competition requirements of the U.S.-E.U.-Norway-Iceland Air Transport Agreement.
Last Congress, DeFazio introduced a similar bill after DOT, in December 2016, issued a foreign air carrier permit to Norwegian Air International (NAI). NAI is "Norwegian" in name only, having established itself in Ireland to avoid Norway's strong labor protections and employing crews on cheap short-term contracts governed under Singapore law. DOT's controversial decision to grant NAI a permit will encourage future opportunistic airlines to continue this race to the bottom in international civil aviation, threatening U.S. carriers' ability to compete in critical international markets.
"U.S. aviation makes it possible to connect us to the rest of the world, and each of our communities at home from big cities to small town America," said AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson. "Our economy, our military, and 12 million U.S. jobs depend on U.S. aviation. It only makes sense then that we codify opening access to foreign airlines only if everyone plays by the rules that makes Open Skies fair."