Jan 23, 2020 - CWA President Chris Shelton to Mitch McConnell: Do Your Job

January 23, 2020

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CWA President Chris Shelton to Mitch McConnell: Do Your Job and Put For the People Act Up for a Vote

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As part of a coalition of more than 145 groups working together to fix our broken democracy, CWA President Chris Shelton called on Mitch McConnell to put the For the People Act up for a vote. The sweeping pro-democracy bill was passed by the House of Representatives last March and contains reforms essential to fixing our political system, including voting rights, money-in-politics, redistricting, and government ethics reforms.

"You can see the harm that Citizens United has done to our country every time you turn on your TV and see the wall-to-wall ads of corporations trying to buy your votes," said Shelton. "If corporations have unlimited power to choose the most favorable politicians for their bank account while people work, suffer, and struggle, day after day – then our democracy is a sham. It's time to fundamentally reform our political system by passing the For the People Act. It's time for Mitch McConnell to do his job and put this bill up for a vote."


NewsGuild Joins Groups Denouncing Restrictions on Journalists Covering Impeachment

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The NewsGuild-CWA has joined the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 57 other media organizations in denouncing restrictions on the press during the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

The Senate implemented rules this week limiting reporters' access to lawmakers walking to and from the chamber during the impeachment trial, confining them to pens, limiting video access to a single pool camera with no audio, and adding an extra layer of restrictions on electronics.

The Guild's Executive Council signed a letter opposing the severe limits on journalists' ability to report on the proceedings. The statement echoes concerns raised by the Standing Committee of Correspondents in a letter and tweet on Tuesday.

"The NewsGuild is proud to fight for more access for reporters and for the public's right to know, including in the Senate during an impeachment of the president," said Jon Schleuss, president of the NewsGuild.


Organizing Update

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Miami New Times and Phoenix New Times

Reporters, editors, and designers at the Miami New Times and Phoenix New Times took a major step Tuesday, signing cards indicating their desire to be represented by the Voice Media Guild, a unit of The NewsGuild-CWA.

Both publications are owned by Voice Media Group, a Denver-based corporation that was founded in 2012 when executives of Village Voice Media, the parent company for 13 alt-weeklies, bought the company. After acquiring the properties, Voice Media Group began selling them off, Vice reported, and now they own just six.

In recent years, Voice Media Group journalists have experienced sudden layoffs, extensive turnover, and other obstacles to producing the groundbreaking news and culture coverage they are known for. They believe that a union is the best path forward for the publications, the people who work for them, and the cities they serve.

Read more here.


Workers at the Miami New Times and Phoenix New Times took a major step Tuesday, signing cards indicating their desire to be represented by the Voice Media Guild, a unit of The NewsGuild-CWA.

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Q Center

The workers of Q Center, a nonprofit in Portland, Ore., that provides safe space to support and celebrate LGBTQ diversity, have won voluntary recognition to join CWA Local 7901. With 100 percent union support, QU went public and requested voluntary recognition on December 16th. On January 14th, the Q Center's Board of Directors voted unanimously to voluntarily recognize QU.


Bargaining Update

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Last month, CWA Local 1180 reached a tentative agreement on a new contract covering more than 8,100 administrative employees and supervisors who work for New York City. The previous contract had expired in May 2018.

In a statement to the Amsterdam News, CWA Local 1180 President Gloria Middleton said, "We are happy to have finally reached an agreement on this contract that will better the lives of our members in New York City and allow them to start the new year with more money in their pockets. This tentative agreement continues the forward momentum we as a union have established thanks to the support and solidarity of our membership."


Save the Date - 2020 CWA Human Rights Conference and LP Activist Convening

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The 2020 CWA Human Rights Conference and Legislative-Political Activist Convening will be held from July 26-29, 2020, at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix, Ariz. For the first time ever, the CWA Human Rights Conference will be combined with the LP Activist Convening, allowing CWA members to combine efforts in our fight for social justice and political power – especially as we head into such a critical election year.

Additional information for registration, hotel arrangements, and the agenda will be released soon.


CWA Members win Call Center Job Protections in New Jersey!

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Thanks to four years of hard work and dedication from CWA members in New Jersey, this week Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation to protect New Jersey call center jobs. CWA members worked alongside members of the state AFL-CIO and IBEW Local 827 to get the bill across the finish line. The bill was sponsored by Senators Shirley Turner and Patrick Diegnan in the State Senate, and Assemblymembers Daniel Benson, Shavonda Sumter, and Eric Houghtaling in the State Assembly. 


New Jersey CWA members held numerous lobby days to push state elected officials to pass legislation protecting call center jobs.


Two Groups Unite to Form Canadian Freelance Guild under CWA Canada

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Two groups of independent freelancers are coming together to form a new organization within CWA Canada! Members of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) resoundingly voted on Tuesday to join colleagues from the Freelance Branch of the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), CWA Canada's largest Local, in forming the Canadian Freelance Guild.

CWA Canada President Martin O'Hanlon welcomed the new group, saying it will revitalize the campaign for freelancer rights. "This is a new chapter in our years-long effort to organize freelancers and other precarious workers," said O'Hanlon. "The union of the two groups into a bigger organization will strengthen the fight for freelancer rights. Standing together is the only way freelancers can ensure better contracts and respect for the valuable work they do."

When officially constituted in April, members of the Canadian Freelance Guild will include writers, photographers, podcasters, videographers, graphic designers, and more.


CWA Urges FCC to Deny Sale of AT&T Mobility Units to Liberty Latin America

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In comments filed this week, CWA called on the FCC to deny the sale of AT&T Mobility operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to Liberty Latin America Ltd. (LLA). 

Because of LLA's strained financial position and track record of opposing workers' rights, including the offshoring of jobs to countries with lower labor standards, the deal, as currently structured, endangers jobs, harms workers, and threatens service quality.

"Puerto Rico has seen its telecommunications infrastructure destroyed by numerous natural disasters in recent years," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "AT&T's plans to dump its mobility operations in both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands appeases Elliott Management and boosts AT&T's stock price with complete disregard for the public interest, the company's workers, and the health of AT&T's network. The FCC should deny this transaction unless there are clear and enforceable commitments by Liberty Latin America to honor collective bargaining agreements, protect jobs in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, and invest in quality service for its customers, including a robust 5G network."


CWA Human Rights Activists Across the Country Take Action

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CWA Human Rights Activists were very busy last weekend! From participating in the empowering Women's March to the celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., CWA members across the country stood proudly on the front lines to ensure all working people are treated with dignity and respect.

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Members of CWA Local 3902 attended the MLK Unity Breakfast in Birmingham, Ala.

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Members of CWA Local 3806 in Memphis, Tenn., marched to the historic Lorraine Hotel with Teamsters members to celebrate MLK Day.

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Activists from CWA Local 7050 in Phoenix, Ariz., headed to the Women's March.

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CWA members from multiple locals across the country marched in Washington, D.C., with thousands of activists advocating for expanding women's rights. CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens (bottom right) joined the marchers along with Public, Healthcare and Education Workers Sector Vice President Margaret Cook, District 9 Vice President Frank Arce, and Telecommunications and Technologies Sector Vice President Lisa Bolton.

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Members of CWA Local 4250 attended the Women's March in Chicago, Ill.

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Members of CWA Local 3871 in Johnson City, Tenn., stand for justice at the Women's March.