Nov 21, 2019 - CWA Members Win Back Collective Bargaining Rights!

November 21, 2019

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CWA President Chris Shelton Calls for Stronger Labor Standards in Trump's New NAFTA

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CWA President Chris Shelton joined Congressman Chuy García at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol to call for stronger labor standards in President Trump's revised NAFTA bill, and to demand justice for the Media Luna gold mine unionists in Mexico who were assassinated or disappeared.

Quintin Salgado, Marcelino Sahuanitla Peña, and Víctor Sahuanitla Peña were murdered by anti-union vigilantes last year and the crimes remain unsolved. Their colleague, labor and environmental activist Oscar Hernández Romero, has been missing since September 23.

"As we are negotiating a deal to replace NAFTA, we must use this opportunity to secure rights and justice for our brothers and sisters in Mexico," said Shelton. He also called for a strong enforcement mechanism in the new NAFTA that covers all workers, works quickly, and includes strong penalties for violators.


CWA President Chris Shelton joined Congressman Chuy García at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol to call for stronger labor standards in President Trump's revised NAFTA bill.


Bargaining and Mobilization Update

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Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines Flight Attendants, members of AFA-CWA, voted Wednesday by an overwhelming 99.9 percent to authorize a strike, with more than 95 percent participation.

"This historic strike vote takes our contract fight to an entirely new level. Hawaiian Flight Attendants are sending an emphatic message to management: Delay is not acceptable; we demand the contract we deserve because we earn it every day," said AFA-CWA Hawaiian President Sharon Soper. 

Negotiations began in January 2017 and are overseen by the National Mediation Board (NMB). Lack of progress could lead to the NMB declaring the negotiations deadlocked and releasing both parties into a 30-day "cooling off" period leading to a strike deadline.


9-1-1 Bill to Restore CWA Members' Collective Bargaining Rights Approved in Puerto Rico

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After more than a year of intensive lobbying and solidarity from CWA Local 3010 members, the Puerto Rico Senate and House unanimously approved bipartisan legislation supported by CWA which will protect public 9-1-1 funds and restore CWA members' collective bargaining that has been suspended since 2014.

"CWA is proud of this achievement. Since 2017, our 9-1-1 dispatcher and administrative personnel have suffered the consequences of the fiscal crisis. This law will restore collective bargaining rights and wages, while making sure that 9-1-1 funds will be used exclusively to handle call emergencies, in accordance with federal law and regulations," said Aramis Cruz, CWA Local 3010 President.

The law, now awaiting the signature of Governor Wanda Vazquez, was created in response to a funding crisis that 9-1-1 in Puerto Rico has been experiencing that has led to an increase in response time, a massive personnel shortage, and has placed lives and property of those who live in or visit Puerto Rico in danger. The bill will guarantee that 9-1-1 centers in Puerto Rico are properly funded.

"Now CWA members will fight to make sure the governor understands the importance of this measure and signs it promptly," said Cruz.


CWA Local 3010 members supported legislation to protect public 9-1-1 funds and restore CWA members' collective bargaining.


CWAers Protest Paul Singer and Call for Billionaires to Pay Taxes

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CWAers joined progressive activists on Wednesday in Manhattan to expose the role of vulture capitalist Paul Singer and the Manhattan Institute in blocking stronger protections for tenants and promoting corporate stock buybacks at the expense of investment in jobs and our communities.

The protest took place ahead of a Manhattan Institute panel discussion Wednesday at noon on how the richest New Yorkers can fight new laws which would expand tenant protections. The protesters' message was simple: It's time to #MakeBillionairesPay. 

Singer's Elliott Management recently announced that it had taken a small stake in AT&T. The hedge fund made proposals that put 30,000 family-supporting jobs at risk in order to further enrich Singer and other wealthy corporate shareholders. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson capitulated to some of Singer's demands, announcing a massive stock buyback and the addition of two additional Singer-approved seats to the AT&T Board of Directors.


CWAers joined progressive activists on Wednesday in Manhattan to expose the role of vulture capitalist Paul Singer and the Manhattan Institute in blocking stronger protections for tenants and promoting corporate stock buybacks at the expense of investment in jobs and our communities.


New Mexico Adopts Strong Service Quality and Consumer Protections for CenturyLink

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The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission adopted strong service quality and consumer protection rules for CenturyLink on October 31st. CWA members attended the hearing on the rules and CWA provided bad plant photos, playing a major role in the decision. CWA's role is cited in the Order.
 
The Commission mostly rejected CenturyLink's attempts to water down the Commission's proposed rules (e.g. eliminating the customer service response time requirements), and it also agreed to strengthen some requirements that were proposed by CWA or the other parties. For example, they lowered the trouble report rate from 18% to 12% and added additional data that the Commission is required to collect when customers file complaints.
 
The NMPRC Order states: "CenturyLink admits that some of the photographs provided by the CWA indicate 'substandard repairs' and 'unacceptable work.' CenturyLink does not explain how lower levels of quality of service regulation will remedy such deficiencies. The Commission finds that robust quality of service regulation is more likely to encourage CenturyLink to maintain and repair its wireline infrastructure."


Organizing Update

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Miami Herald
 
Journalists at the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, and Miami.com won union recognition in an NLRB election to join NewsGuild-CWA.
 
"The effort to unionize has already made El Nuevo Herald and the Miami Herald stronger by bringing reporters, copy editors, and producers together in support of journalism and each other," said David Smiley, senior political reporter for the Miami Herald. "With today's results, we can continue that work in cooperation with management."


Journalists at the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, and Miami.com won union recognition in an NLRB election to join NewsGuild-CWA.


CWA Next Generation is Fired Up and Ready to Go in District 7!

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Last week, CWA's Next Generation program and District 7 held a Next Gen Activist Training in Denver. Twenty-one participants from nine different states spent two days exploring working-class struggles and how to fight back against the agenda of the 1%. Participants honed their political and organizing skills and developed plans to get fellow young members involved in their states with support from CWA Local and District mentors. They'll immediately get to work on organizing and putting pressure on Congress to pass the PRO Act to build worker power.

"This group of young union activists gives me tremendous hope for our future as a movement," said Carissa Hahn, CWA District 7 Next Gen Lead Activist and lead trainer. "With the skills and experience that our trainers brought to the table, and the ongoing support of our mentors, we are building a formidable cadre of young organizers to strengthen our movement. We are fired up and ready to go!"


Last week, CWA's Next Generation program and District 7 held a Next Gen Activist Training in Denver, spending two days exploring working-class struggles and how to fight back against the agenda of the 1%.


Private Equity is Destroying Local News and Putting AT&T Jobs at Risk

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NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer submitted written testimony to the House Financial Services Committee for a hearing Tuesday on private equity. The testimony exposes the destructive role of vulture fund Alden Global Capital, which controls Digital First Media.

"The hollowing out of local news is no mere inconvenience," Lunzer notes. "Recent research from the University of Illinois–Chicago and the University of Notre Dame found that communities that have become 'news deserts' pay higher taxes and bond rates and are at greater risk of political corruption. Other studies show lower voter turnout and increased partisanship. In other words, when the watchdogs are gone, democracy dies. Private equity has helped kill the watchdogs."

Read the full testimony here.

A panelist at the hearing, Eileen Appelbaum, Ph.D., Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, shared in her testimony how Paul Singer's Elliott Management has taken a 1% stake in AT&T and is using it to demand short run profits from the company, putting 30,000 jobs at risk.


Happy Thanksgiving!

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There will be no CWA e-Newsletter next week due to Thanksgiving, but we will be back to our regular schedule after that. Happy Thanksgiving to all!