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Apr 30, 2020 - NLRB Issues Complaint against Verizon for Violating Federal Labor Law

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Tips on Selecting and Wearing Non-Medical Face Masks

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In many locations across the country, non-medical face masks or other face coverings are now required to be worn in public when it is not possible to maintain social distancing, such as when shopping at a grocery store.

Wearing masks is encouraged to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, but is not a substitute for social distancing, frequent hand washing, and other public health measures. CWA expects employers to provide N95 masks and other personal protective equipment in workplaces where members may be exposed to COVID-19.

CWA's Health and Safety Department has compiled information to help you understand the different kinds of masks that are available and what to look for when choosing a non-medical face mask. You can find information about masks and other resources to address common questions and concerns that CWA members have about the COVID-19 pandemic on the COVID-19 resource page at

Your local leadership will have the most up-to-date information on policies in place at your work location to address the COVID-19 pandemic and what action you should take if you believe you are being asked to work under unsafe conditions.

Remember, if you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms consistent with infection, contact your healthcare provider immediately and follow reporting procedures established by your employer. Also notify your CWA Local or District as soon as possible.

Trump Administration Exempts Worker Pay Requirements in CARES Act

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This week, CWA President Chris Shelton joined with six other labor union leaders to raise the alarm about procedures that the Trump Administration has put in place that waives the requirement for large businesses to use federal aid from the CARES Act to keep 90% of their employees on payroll. In addition, the program for mid-sized businesses fails to include anti-outsourcing provisions or any provisions protecting workers' right to organize.

"Given the extraordinary nature of the support that the federal government is providing for the private sector through the CARES Act, the intent of the CARES Act to protect good jobs as a condition of receiving aid were a completely reasonable effort to ensure that taxpayers' money is used well," wrote the union leaders in letters to Senators Chuck Schumer and Sherrod Brown and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "We have been highly disappointed that the Trump Administration has, once again, shown complete disregard for the well-being of working families and failed to implement any requirements that would benefit workers."

To fight back against the Trump Administration's attack on working families, the unions are asking Sens. Schumer and Brown and Speaker Pelosi to ensure that companies and corporations receiving federal aid through the CARES Act adhere to worker protections in the legislation and that future legislation related to COVID-19 does not include similar loopholes.

President Trump signed the CARES Act into law at the end of March. The legislation allocates more than $2 trillion in federal spending to support working families, businesses, and hospitals dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizing Update

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Staff of the largest newsroom in Vermont, VTDigger, achieved recognition for their union this week, with nearly 90% support to form the VTDigger Guild.

"It has never been more important for rank-and-file newsroom employees to have a voice in the workplace," said education reporter Lola Duffort. "These are extraordinarily difficult times, and we want to partner with VTDigger's board and management as we navigate our way out of this crisis."

Eighteen full and part-time reporters, photographers, interns, and columnists are a part of the only Vermont-based newsroom with union representation.

Staff of the largest newsroom in Vermont, VTDigger, achieved recognition for their union this week, with nearly 90% support to form the VTDigger Guild.


Idaho Statesman

Journalists at the Idaho Statesman spoke with a unanimous voice, voting 18-0 to to form a union. The election caps a two-month process to formalize the newsroom’s union. Workers went public with unanimous support on March 2nd.

McClatchy, the Statesman's parent company, refused to voluntarily recognize the union, creating the drawn-out process that saw two delays because of the coronavirus pandemic. The vote was conducted via a mail ballot at the Denver NLRB regional office.

"We are fighting to preserve local news in Idaho," union member Kate Talerico said. "We look forward to working with management toward a fair contract that ensures a strong future for the Statesman's essential journalism."

Journalists at the Idaho Statesman spoke with a unanimous voice, voting 18-0 to to form a union.

NLRB Issues Complaint against Verizon for Violating Federal Labor Law

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The National Labor Relations Board's Phoenix, Ariz., regional office has issued a complaint against Verizon Wireless for violating federal labor law. The complaint stems from a charge filed by CWA after an HR representative interrogated employees at a Verizon Wireless call center in Chandler, Ariz., in October. The employees targeted for interrogation had signed a petition calling on Verizon to implement in-person anti-racism training across the entire company.

"Working people are putting their lives on the line every day as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, we need to be able to join together, without fear of retaliation from our employer," said Laura Wentz, who works at the call center in Chandler. "It's time for Verizon Wireless to stop its union busting activities and listen to the concerns of its workers."

CWA Endorses Texas State Senator Royce West for U.S. Senate

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On a video town hall this week, CWA announced its endorsement of State Senator Royce West to represent Texas in the U.S Senate. For almost 30 years, Senator West has worked side-by-side with CWA to protect and defend the rights of workers to organize for better wages, benefits, and working conditions in the state of Texas. Senator West has also been a relentless advocate for better pay and benefits for Texas state employees, increased funding to improve state services, and helped stop attacks on public sector unions' rights to organize.

"On behalf of the more than 38,000 CWA members in Texas, we are proud to announce our endorsement of Royce West for U.S. Senate," said Claude Cummings, Jr., CWA District 6 Vice President. "It has been an honor to have worked with Senator West over the years in the Texas Legislature on important labor issues and we are excited to extend our relationship to the U.S. Senate."

"I am honored to receive the endorsement of Communications Workers of America," said Senator West. "For 27 years, I have worked with CWA and organized labor to help make life better for working Texans, and I look forward to doing the same in the United States Senate. Labor unions for too long have been squeezed. It has become more difficult for American workers to join labor unions, especially here in Texas and other so-called 'right-to-work' states. As your U.S. Senator, I will support legislation to protect and enhance the right to organize."

Join Us to Discuss Essential Work During the COVID-19 Crisis

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Join CWA President Chris Shelton, CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens, Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, and CWA frontline workers tomorrow, May 1, at 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT for a Facebook Live discussion about the impact of COVID-19 on essential workers, poor communities, and communities of color and how we should respond to this crisis.

Millions of workers are on the front lines doing essential work during the COVID-19 crisis. The crisis has also made it clear that it is essential that we join together to fight to change a system that values corporate profit more than the lives of working people.

This special International Workers’ Day event will be streamed on the CWA Facebook page at 7:30PM ET/4:30PM PT. Click here to get a reminder.

In Memoriam – April 30, 2020

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CWA has established a memorial page for members who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

This week we honor the memory of Ernie Chiu, a member of CWA Local 1106 who worked for Verizon and Mohammed Ahsan, a member of CWA Local 1181 who worked for the New York City Police Department Traffic Enforcement District.