CWA District 9 members voted last week to ratify a new four-year contract with AT&T West. The CWA AT&T West contract covers technicians, call center customer support workers, and administrative staff in California and Nevada. The contract includes 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.
Statement from the CWA Executive Board on the Need to Dismantle the Racism that Plagues Our Communities
"The CWA Executive Board is committed to moving beyond an endless string of reaction statements and demonstrating our continued commitment to justice for Black people through our organizing, representation, political, and movement building work," the Board wrote. "We commit to creating dedicated spaces for open dialogue on race for our members and leaders to determine outcomes and clear steps the union must take to fight racism in the union, within the industries we represent, and the community at-large.
"There is no in-between. There is no neutral option. The only real way to dismantle racism and build the working-class power we seek is for every worker to take on the struggle for justice for Black people in this country as their own and to embrace the actions that 'an injury to one is an injury to all' demands of us."
Watch this powerful video of CWA members demanding justice.
NABET-CWA and NewsGuild-CWA Condemn Arrests of CNN Crew While Covering Minneapolis Protests
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The Presidents of NABET-CWA and the NewsGuild-CWA released a joint statement and video condemning the arrests of CNN reporter Omar Jimenez, producer Bill Kirkos, and photojournalist Leonel Mendez while they were covering protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
"Arresting a CNN correspondent and crew while they were doing their jobs to inform the American public about the protests in Minneapolis is completely unacceptable," said NABET-CWA President Charlie Braico. "The crew did everything properly, including identifying themselves, presenting proper press credentials, and asking for guidance from law enforcement. We must demand answers for why this happened and make sure it doesn't happen again."
"The arrest of CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew is an absolute outrage," said NewsGuild-CWA President Jon Schleuss. "As journalists, we support the free speech rights of everyone. This morning's events sent a chilling, public reminder that in America today, journalists are being targeted for doing their jobs. Without a free press, there are no free people."
The NewsGuild-CWA also issued a statement condemning the deliberate targeting of journalists who are covering protests against police brutality. "Attacks against members of the press, violence against Black communities, and brutality against peaceful protesters have no place in our democracy," said Schleuss.
IUE-CWA Members Across the Country Demand Essential Worker Pay
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In the wake of the pandemic, IUE-CWA members have found themselves on the frontlines of this crisis, keeping our economy moving and providing essential supplies and services. Many IUE-CWA locals have started campaigns to demand pay that rewards their work during the pandemic:
The presidents of IUE-CWA Locals 86821, 82160, 84913, and 81495 jointly drafted a letter requesting essential worker pay at Hubbell Inc. for their members. Thanks to strong pressure from local presidents and members, the union won wage increases for the whole 2nd quarter of 2020.
IUE-CWA Local 84848 in Evansville, Ind., put pressure on Escalade Sports to get them to implement a two week paid shut down to make safety changes, and workers were awarded essential worker pay when they returned to the shop.
Joining forces with other ABB unions, including UE and UAW, IUE-CWA Local 83799 and every other ABB local issued a joint letter to ABB's national management demanding essential worker pay.
At IUE-CWA Local 84725 in Sidney, Ohio, members at Emerson Climate Controls have demanded hazard pay by submitting a written petition to their employer. They submitted over 700 signatures – getting nearly 100% participation in the petition from their membership!
Through organizing around essential worker pay, IUE-CWA members across the country are building workplace power. The best way to build power and to win is to organize! For ideas on how to organize around important issues in your workplace, visit the Mobilization Toolbox at www.iue-cwa.org/covid19.
As Colleges and Universities Brace for Reopening, United Campus Workers Mobilize for Workers and Students
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From possible budget cuts to the problems of safely reopening, COVID-19 presents enormous challenges for campus workers. In response, members of CWA District 3's United Campus Workers (UCW) locals are mobilizing to protect workers and students.
In Kentucky, members are using an open letter campaign to call for a more just higher education system. "Ultimately, institutions are only as strong as their most vulnerable members," the letter reads. Already, their work has forced the president of the University to take a 10% pay cut, in line with the local's demands that any and all cuts come from the top.
In Louisiana, UCW members are fighting for a better deal for their students by circulating a petition to extend the deadline to apply for CARES Act support. Louisiana State University had a deadline that was much earlier than most schools in the country, and members are worried this unnecessarily prevented many of their graduate student members and the students they teach from accessing critical funds.
Union Presidents: Congress Must Make Broadband Access a Top Priority
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In an op-ed published in The Hill this week, CWA President Chris Shelton, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry wrote about the need for Congress to prioritize universal broadband access in the COVID-19 response.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has made something clear that the members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have known for a long time: millions of families in the United States do not have access to affordable, reliable broadband internet connections," the union presidents wrote. "The frontline workers that our unions represent have done a heroic job responding to this crisis. Every day they are out there keeping people connected, teaching our children, and providing health care and essential public services.
"But technicians can't install high-speed internet service for households without fiber optic cable in their neighborhoods. Teachers can't keep children who cannot access online materials engaged and learning. Health care workers can't provide telemedicine services to patients who lack broadband or can't get a reliable cell phone connection. Any plan for reopening our society and keeping it functional as we navigate life in a post-COVID-19 world will require increased connectivity for students, working people and first responders alike.
"We are calling on Congress to support these workers, their families, and our communities by making affordable, universal access to high-speed broadband a priority in our response to this pandemic."
CWA has established a memorial page for members who have lost their lives to COVID-19.
This week we honor the memory of Joan Johnson, a member of CWA Local 1180 who worked for the City of New York.
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As areas across the country begin to implement phased reopening plans, it's important to stay informed about health and safety protocols and 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.