Jul 2, 2020 - Payroll Support Extension Will Save Jobs

July 2, 2020

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Without Extension of CARES Act Payroll Support, Mass Layoffs are Inevitable

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Last week, labor leaders including CWA President Chris Shelton and AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson sent an urgent letter to Congressional leadership calling for the Payroll Support Program (PSP) in the CARES Act to be extended through March 31, 2021. The leaders warned Congress that if the program is not extended, mass layoffs in the aviation industry are inevitable as airlines continue to struggle amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The program, which allocated grants to commercial airlines and airline contractors for the exclusive purpose of keeping employees on payroll with wages and benefits, is set to expire on September 30. PSP funding has kept hundreds of thousands of airline workers employed and covered under their healthcare plans during the pandemic.

"Not only will hundreds of thousands of workers lose their jobs and health insurance, but the industry would lose a large portion of the experienced and credentialed workforce that will be critical to bringing the sector and the broader economy back to prosperity once the COVID-19 crisis is over. Airline industry employment cannot simply be put back together overnight, and mass layoffs will do great damage to the sector, with potentially irrevocable consequences," the labor leaders wrote.


Bargaining Update

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AT&T Southwest

CWA District 6 announced this week that it has reached a contract extension agreement with AT&T Southwest in early contract negotiations. The four-year extension agreement covers 17,000 wireline employees in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The agreement includes general wage increases in each year of the contract and preserves the health care plan without additional employee cost sharing. The agreement allows employees who retire or will retire during the life of the 2017 AT&T Southwest collective bargaining agreement to continue to receive active employee health care benefits with the same cost sharing percentage until 2025.

"This agreement provides stability for CWA-represented employees at AT&T Southwest as the country faces the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis," said CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings, Jr.


House Democrats Pass Infrastructure Bill Containing Strong Broadband Provisions

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This Wednesday, the House passed an infrastructure bill, the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), containing strong provisions to expand broadband access, make it more affordable, and create and protect good jobs across the country.

"The only thing that can keep us connected to our families, friends, and communities while staying safe during a pandemic is an internet connection," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "For working people, a reliable internet connection is not optional – it's an absolute necessity. It's past time for Mitch McConnell and the Senate to act on this key issue. If they don't, we must hold them accountable – and make sure that the Moving Forward Act becomes the new baseline for expanding broadband access across the country."

Read more about the bill here.


CWA Secures Healthcare Refunds for Nokia Retirees

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Due to the diligence of CWA Local 1060 President Brian Reilly, some Nokia retirees will be receiving a refund check in the mail! After learning from Reilly that a retiree suspected that there was an error in how much he was being charged for health care, the T&T office requested that Nokia conduct an audit. The audit revealed that some retirees were overpaying for their health care. Refunds for the affected individuals ranged from as little as $38 to as much as $4,300. The underlying issue which created the problem has been corrected.


NewsGuild-CWA Members at Tribune Publishing Launch Campaigns Seeking New Ownership

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NewsGuild-CWA journalists representing 10 Tribune Publishing Co. publications across the country are launching a campaign to return these institutions to local ownership.

The campaigns, including at The Capital Gazette, The Chicago Tribune, The Hartford Courant, The Morning Call, The Orlando Sentinel, and The Virginian-Pilot are aimed at finding investors to buy the papers and building relationships with those interested in saving local news through new ownership models. These campaigns run parallel to The Baltimore Sun Guild’s Save Our Sun campaign, which launched in April.

"We hope our actions will encourage an end to an industry consolidation that has left our country's newspapers in the hands of a few large corporations and hedge funds," the journalists said in a press statement.

"These cities will be better served by local ownership, including not-for-profit models, who share our vision of serving our communities with a vibrant newspaper," said Phil Davis, a reporter for The Baltimore Sun and a Washington-Baltimore News Guild-CWA Local 32035 steward. "We hope to build a future in which profits are reinvested back into the newsroom."


Beirne Scholarships Awarded for 2020-2021

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The CWA Joe Beirne Foundation was established in October 1974 by the CWA Executive Board to honor the name and memory of the founding President of CWA, who served for more than 30 years.

Sixteen partial college scholarships of $4,000 each are being awarded for the 2020-2021 school year. Winners, selected in a lottery drawing, also will receive second-year scholarships of the same amount contingent upon satisfactory academic accomplishment. Part-time students, taking fewer than 12 credits, will receive half of the scholarship amount.

Eligible for the awards are CWA members and their spouses, children, and grandchildren, including those of retired or deceased members.

2020-2021 Winners:

Francine Gomes, daughter of Elizabeth Gomes, CWA Local 1031
Julian Nieves, son of Antonio Nieves, CWA Local 1037
Julian LeFlore, son of E’Lisha Walker-LaFlore, CWA Local 1085
Ethan Michael Gentile, son of Jonathon Gentile, CWA Local 1123
Autumn Tewksbury, daughter of Mark Tewksbury, CWA Local 1298
Jordan Brittingham, son of Tiffany Gladden, CWA Local 2108
Erika Icabalzeta, daughter of William Castro, CWA Local 3102
Darius Carraway, son of Dennis Carraway, CWA Local 3603
Aidyn Yaeger, daughter of Michael Yaeger, CWA Local 4008
Richard Wynn, grandson of Brian Douglass, CWA Local 4773
Deven Bruner, son of Dayna Bruner, CWA Local 6016
Miranda Smith, daughter of Adam Smith, CWA Local 6137
Josue Herrada, son of Josue Herrada, CWA Local 7777
Shane Louriano, grandson of Shirley Hope, CWA Local 9400
Kyra Payton, daughter of Donna Payton, CWA Local 9509
Rhiannon Hoffman, daughter of Kent Hoffman, CWA/SCA Canada Local 30213


CWA District 3 Retirees are Ready for Action in November

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Retiree Jacob McClain of Macon, Ga., completed four volunteer shifts and recruited six additional retirees on his own to support the effort over multiple shifts.

Leading up to Georgia's June 9th primary, CWA retirees went into high gear to phonebank, knowing the high stakes in this year's elections for retirees and working people. Eleven retirees performed 19 multi-hour volunteer shifts calling through member and retiree rolls. Retiree Jacob McClain of Macon, Ga., completed four volunteer shifts and recruited six additional retirees on his own to support the effort over multiple shifts. In all, these CWA retirees made nearly a thousand calls. This massive effort was only a start as Jacob and other CWA Retired Members Council volunteers stand ready to amplify efforts in a November election where two Senate seats, the presidency, and the future of our nation will be decided.

For more information about the Retired Members Council, visit cwa-union.org/for-members/retired-members-council.


Calling All Artists and Activists – Help #ProtectOurVote

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While COVID-19 cases continue to rise in states across the country, too many states lack the resources to ensure safe and accessible voting this fall. The disastrous primary elections in Wisconsin and Georgia demonstrate the urgent need for Congress to act now to #ProtectOurVote.

That's why the Declaration for American Democracy is calling on activists, artists, and creators across the country to make your voice heard by participating in a "Democracy Open Mic."

Participation can take many forms. Some examples:

Record a video: Get your message to millions of people across the country.

Take a Selfie with a sign: Post it on your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! Make sure to tag #DemocracyOpenMic, #ProtectOurVote, and @DFADCoalition in your tweet/post!

Compose a poem: Poems have a profound effect – let's use it to protect our democracy!

Design a graphic: Fire up that Canva or Adobe Illustrator and show us what you've got!

Draw or paint a picture: Get your paint brushes, your pencils, your charcoals, and draw a pro-democracy picture to share with the world on social media.

Check out more ideas at https://declarationforamericandemocracy.org/openmic. Post your creation on social media by August 1 using the hashtags #DemocracyOpenMic and #ProtectOurVote, and tag @DFADCoalition. Together, we can win the funding and reforms to ensure that no person will have to choose between their health and their vote.


As COVID-19 Cases Soar, Follow Safety Precautions

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As COVID-19 cases continue to soar in many states, it is important to follow basic precautions – on and off the job – to keep yourself, your family members, and your co-workers safe.

  • Wash your hands often. Washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is ideal, but when soap and water are not available, you should use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Stay 6 feet apart. Whenever possible, put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household even when you are wearing a mask.
  • Wear a mask. You should wear a mask in public settings and when you are around people who don’t live in your household, unless you have an underlying condition that would make it dangerous to do so. While masks are particularly important when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, you should wear a mask even when you are able to put more than 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.


If you are at high risk for exposure at work, your employer should be providing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.

If you have concerns about COVID-19 protocols in your workplace, contact your shop steward or a local officer.

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.

For more information about COVID-19 safety and resources for those in need, visit cwa.org/covid-19