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May 21, 2020 - Republicans are Blocking Premium Pay for Essential Workers

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Heroes Act Would Protect and Compensate Essential Workers, but Republicans Are Going to Block It

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The Heroes Act, a COVID-19 relief bill, introduced by Congressional Democrats and passed by the House last week, would provide compensation and critical health and safety protections for workers. But Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are likely to block it and not even put it up for a vote in the Senate.

"Donald Trump quickly declared he would veto the bill, alarmed that it closes loopholes that provide tax breaks to the super-rich. He needs to get his priorities straight and stop acting like the best way to recover from this pandemic is to pretend like it doesn't exist," said CWA President Chris Shelton.

The bill contains provisions that would support employment for CWA members and allow them to continue to serve their communities, including funding for state and local public services, internet access for schools and families, access for local news outlets to the Paycheck Protection Program, premium pay for essential workers, improved access to paid leave for millions of workers, new payments to individuals to offset lost pay, and would extend unemployment insurance and help prevent foreclosures and evictions.

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CWA/NETT Training Scholarships for CWA Members

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CWA/NETT Academy is funding more than $50,000 in training scholarships for CWA members. CWA recognizes the need to assist members in a variety of ways, including in their personal and professional development. Each award will permit the member to participate in an online course from our catalog of courses.

To qualify, you must be a CWA member in good standing or currently furloughed. You must enroll in a class within one month of receiving notification of your scholarship award and complete the course. Each course is 6 weeks in length.

Apply online anytime between now and July 31, 2020. Learn more at

New York CWAers Call for Corporations and Elected Officials to #ProtectAllWorkers

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Members of CWA Local 1102 in New York participated in a car procession this week alongside workers and members of the community to demand corporations and elected officials #ProtectALLWorkers regardless of citizenship status, and deliver the message that everyone deserves safety, sufficient pay, paid family and sick leave, and adequate safety nets if they have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

NewsGuild Launches "Save The News" Campaign

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On Monday, the NewsGuild-CWA launched a new advocacy campaign called Save The News to make the case that local newsrooms must be included in future federal recovery efforts to support essential industries.

Although journalists are covering the biggest story of their lives, the news industry is fighting for survival. Local news outlets have been damaged for years by tech giants that have siphoned away advertising revenue and by private equity owners that have hollowed out the industry with extreme cost-cutting measures.

Since 2004, the U.S. has lost approximately 1,800 newspapers, many of them small papers outside of major cities. Each of these losses hurts communities deeply, taking away the important functions local news plays in residents' lives.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the devastation. Advertising revenue has dried up as businesses shuttered to combat the virus. This has led to layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts for tens of thousands of journalists. At the same time, readers are turning to local news outlets in record numbers in search of accurate, up-to-the-minute information about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting their communities.

The Save The News campaign calls for recovery measures that will keep reporters on the streets, ad representatives working the phones, digital production staff posting online, press operators churning out papers, and drivers delivering them to readers' doors.

"I am humbled to see so many members of our industry unite under one cause: protecting local journalism," said NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss. "Americans need access to information about their local communities more than ever, and yet layoffs and furloughs are only increasing as this pandemic continues. Congress needs to act to save the news before it's too late."


Flight Attendants Are Essential Workers

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Even with schedules at 10-20% of normal levels, Flight Attendants are still working and providing essential service to our nation. Flight Attendants have been on the frontlines of COVID-19 since the beginning, and many studies show they are the most likely exposed workers after healthcare. Flight Attendants are continuing to advocate for proper PPE, cleaning, and social distancing in airports and on our planes and are also promoting hazard pay, and sick pay or minimum pay for those who do not have it.

Watch AFA-CWA's new video here.

AFL-CIO Sues OSHA for Emergency Temporary Standard to Protect Workers

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The AFL-CIO has filed a petition to compel the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an emergency temporary standard to protect U.S. workers against the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

The petition demonstrates that thousands of workers have been infected on the job through exposure to infected patients, co-workers, and unscreened members of the public.

Even with overwhelming evidence that additional protection is needed, President Trump's Secretary of Labor, Eugene Scalia, has insisted that a standard specifically addressing the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic is not necessary.

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COVID-19 Health and Safety Resources and Benefits Information

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Wondering about recommended health and safety protocols at your workplace? Looking for information on state and federal benefits for workers affected by the pandemic? Check CWA's COVID-19 resource page for answers.

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.

In Memoriam – May 21, 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 Johnny Joyner, a member of CWA Local 1183 who worked for the New York City Board of Elections; Sharon Miles, a member of CWA Local 1037 who worked for the State of New Jersey Department of Children and Families; William Hayes, a member of CWA Local 1182 who worked for the New York City Police Department Traffic Enforcement District; Walter Ford, a member of CWA Local 1037 who worked at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center; John Poleon, a member of CWA Local 1168 who worked for Kaleida Health, Buffalo General Hospital; Dennis Bradt, a member of CWA Local 1101 who worked at Conifer Park; Michael W. Herron, a member of NABET-CWA Local 51011 who worked for NBC News; and Heidy Wilcox, a member of CWA Local 1183 who worked for the New York City Board of Elections.