CWA COVID-19 Response Update – March 26, 2020
As the COVID-19 crisis spreads and deepens across the world, we know that you are concerned about your health and safety on the job and about the possibility of layoffs and furloughs. The challenges can seem overwhelming.
CWA leaders on every level – elected officers, stewards, health and safety activists, and others – are identifying issues as they arise and working with employers to ensure policies are in place to address those issues and that those policies are enforced.
If you have a problem that needs to be addressed, please reach out, especially if you are being asked to work in unsafe conditions. Stewards and local officers have the most up-to-date information for your worksite. If you are having trouble reaching them, you can submit your question using the form available on cwa.org/covid-19 and we will route it to the proper person for response.
The COVID-19 information page on CWA's website has been updated to include new resources. You can find these at cwa.org/covid-19.
During this time, it is more important than ever that we be able to contact you with information that is specific to your employer or local. Please visit https://cwaunion.wufoo.com/forms/cwa-member-information-update to help us update our records.
In Memoriam – March 26, 2020
CWA has established a memorial page for members who have lost their lives to COVID-19.
This week we honor the memory of Larry Edgeworth, a member of NABET-CWA Local 51011 who worked at NBC News.
We Need To Use The National Defense Production Act NOW
CWA members are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Shortages of N95 respirators, surgical masks, latex gloves, and other protective equipment leave essential workers at risk of infection.
This is especially true for healthcare workers, including 24,000 represented by CWA. Hospitalizations are soaring, and facilities are suffering from extreme shortages of protective equipment, ventilators, tests, and healthcare staff. They face the highest probability of repeat exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 and their lives are at risk.
President Trump has the power to make a difference but has failed to do what needs to be done to keep workers and patients safe. Through the National Defense Production Act (NDPA) the President can mandate the immediate production of all the personal protective equipment, tests, and ventilators we need to respond to the crisis and protect healthcare and other essential workers – but so far he's refused to do so.
Instead, President Trump has announced vague and confusing intentions to "leverage" manufacturers into producing an insufficient amount of supplies.
Sign the petition to tell President Trump that he must use the full force of the Defense Production Act now!
Senate Passes Coronavirus Relief Bill But More Remains to Be Done to Help Working People
CWA legislative activists have been engaging with their members of Congress and Senators to make sure that the coronavirus emergency relief bill addresses the needs of working people, not just CEOs and Wall Street.
The bill passed yesterday by the Senate includes $58 billion in grants and loans for the airline industry. In a major victory, the bill includes a ban on involuntary furloughs and layoffs by those airlines receiving the funds. It also includes restrictions on stock buybacks and executive compensation for airlines accepting assistance, despite objections from the Senate Republican leadership and corporate executives.
The bill would also send checks directly to over 150 million households, boost funds for unemployment insurance, and provide increased support for schools, hospitals, and state and local governments. The House of Representatives is expected to pass the bill later this week. For more information about how the bill affects CWA members, visit https://cwa-union.org/cares-act-summary.
While these gains are important, much work remains to be done to address this crisis.
More must be done quickly to ensure that healthcare workers and other front line workers have the equipment that they need to safely and effectively handle cases of coronavirus.
Regulatory agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that have been weakened by the Trump Administration need to be fully staffed with new standards and increased funds to make sure that employers are not putting workers' lives in jeopardy. More will be needed to ensure that employers keep workers on their payrolls instead of taking recovery money, spending it on stock buybacks and executive compensation, then shipping jobs overseas.
Republican lawmakers must stop standing in the way of requiring paid sick days and family leave for all workers, not just in response to the current coronavirus crisis, but so that those benefits are in place for workers and families to deal with future crises and life events.
To receive updates on legislative issues, visit https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-up-to-the-cwa-collective-briefing.
Last week, the CWA bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with AT&T on a new four-year contract for AT&T West workers. The CWA AT&T West contract covers more than 13,000 technicians, call center customer support workers, and administrative staff in California and Nevada.
The tentative agreement provides for pay raises, affordable healthcare, and increased pension benefits. It also maintains existing job offer guarantee provisions in the event of layoffs.
"I am proud of our CWA bargaining team for negotiating a strong contract, under difficult circumstances, that protects good, family-supporting jobs in California and Nevada,” said CWA District 9 Vice President Frank Arce. "CWA members are out there every day installing, maintaining, and supporting critical communications services so businesses can continue operations and customers can stay in contact with their loved ones. Our member mobilization meant that our bargaining team had the support they needed to win a fair agreement well before the current contract expired."
Details of the proposed contract will be provided to local leadership as soon as practicable based on the current conditions, and a ratification vote will be held once the members have an opportunity to review the details of the agreement. If ratified, the new contract will go into effect on April 5, 2020.
The CWA Local 1103 bargaining committee reached a tentative agreement with Altice/ATS on a three-year agreement that provides real job security, wage increases, and much more!