Jul 16, 2020 - On Monday, Join the Strike for Black Lives

July 16, 2020

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Act Now: Save Aviation Jobs

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CWA members, including passenger service agents and Flight Attendants, are on the front lines of an unprecedented crisis for the airline industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

After airline and other front line workers mobilized in March, Congress passed the CARES Act to keep employees on payroll with wages and benefits. Now the program is set to expire in October, even though the crisis isn't over. If Congress doesn't take action soon, mass layoffs in the aviation industry are inevitable. Every aviation worker must make their voices heard to save our jobs.

It will only take a minute to make your voice heard:

  • If you're a passenger service agent, click here to send a letter to Congress telling them to extend the CARES Act Payroll Support Program through March 2021 to protect hundreds of thousands of aviation jobs.
  • If you're a Flight Attendant, click here to urge Congress to act now.


On Monday, Join the Strike for Black Lives

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On Monday, July 20th, CWA members will join with other union members at SEIU, the Teamsters, AFT, and community-based organizations to hold a National Strike/Day of Action for Black Lives.

The National Strike/Day of Action is a worker-driven action to demand that bosses and elected officials address the systemic racism that drives economic inequality in this country. We are demanding guaranteed sick pay, affordable health care, strengthened health and safety protections for essential workers, and stronger organizing rights for all workers.

For the Day of Action, we are asking all members and locals to find ways to participate that work best for you. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Hold a socially-distanced picket line at lunchtime or before or after work, with signs declaring "CWA Supports Black Lives" (available for download here) or with your own similar message of support and solidarity. Check with your local union for the plan in your area.
  • If you can't get to your local's main events, stop work at some point during the day and take a selfie or a video holding a CWA sign to show your solidarity using the hashtag #CWAForBlackLives.
  • Wear red as a sign of CWA solidarity with the National Day of Action.


CWA Local 1102 Pushes for NY HERO Executive Order

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Workers like Hope Gilmore from CWA Local 1102 in Staten Island are pushing for legislators to act to protect all workers during the pandemic.

"We can't leave it up to each individual employer to do it – they're not going to," Gilmore told NBC News at a rally this week.

At the rally, Gilmore spoke out about the need for NY HERO, an Executive Order that Gov. Andrew Cuomo could issue that would create clear, enforceable standards to protect all workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including ensuring PPE, disinfection, and deep cleaning of workplaces, along with a prohibition on retaliation.

Read more about the executive order here.


CWA members including Hope Gilmore from CWA Local 1102 in Staten Island are pushing for legislators to act to protect all workers during the pandemic.


Virginia Issues Landmark Emergency Temporary Workplace Standard to Protect Workers from COVID-19

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When workers are protected, communities are protected! Thanks to the efforts of CWAers, Virginia has now become the first state in the nation to issue a comprehensive workplace standard to protect all workers from COVID-19. The Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board overwhelmingly voted on July 15 to pass an enforceable, emergency temporary standard that will go into effect later this month.

This emergency standard will require employers to develop infectious disease preparedness and response plans specific to their workplace, and to train workers about COVID-19 risks and prevention measures. The standard also gives workers a clear and enforceable protection from retaliation for exercising their rights to demand a safe workplace.

Despite these state efforts, there is still no federal OSHA Infectious Disease Standard. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia and the Trump Administration have rejected all attempts to pass a National Emergency Temporary Standard and have abandoned millions of American workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. CWA members will continue to fight for strong COVID-19 standards at the state and federal level.


Organizing Update

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TDS Metrocom

In June, a unit of nine employees at TDS Metrocom in Schofield, Wis., voted overwhelmingly to join CWA in an NLRB election, despite facing many obstacles to win representation. The company held three captive audience meetings, with the first one lasting more than four hours! The committee fought back during each meeting and let the company know they wanted to be represented by CWA and have a voice.


U.S. Banks Earn Failing Grades on COVID-19 Response

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The Committee for Better Banks (CBB), a CWA project, this week released a new analysis of the nation's 12 largest retail banks' COVID-19 response, finding major shortcomings in how the nation's wealthiest industry has handled the pandemic. These 12 banks have combined total assets of $8.5 trillion and made more than $155 billion in profits last year.

The CBB scorecard ranks banks by their main street lending policies, consumer protections, worker protections, and charitable contributions amid the pandemic.

"In 2008, taxpayers ended up footing the bill for bailing out Wall Street and big banks for malfeasance perpetrated on millions of homeowners, while working people lost their homes and were left struggling," CBB Lead Organizer Nick Weiner said. "With 30 percent of Americans missing their housing payments in June and experts warning of a looming housing apocalypse, we cannot afford to make that same mistake again."

Wells Fargo, US Bank, Chase, PNC, and Santander all received Fs on the scorecard. Learn more about the bank scorecards here: http://BankAccountability.org.


MN Attorney General Keith Ellison Secures Settlement with Frontier Communications

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This week, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that his office has settled an investigation into possible deceptive billing and sales practices at Frontier Communications and will require the company to invest at least $10 million over four years to improve its broadband network and pay $750,000 in restitution to Frontier customers. The company also agreed to fully disclose its prices for internet service to new customers.

Frontier provides telephone and internet service to about 90,000 customers in Minnesota, many of whom live outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and have limited options for high-speed internet service. Ellison's office began its investigation in 2018 after receiving numerous complaints from Frontier customers. Based on its investigation, Ellison's office alleged that Frontier used deceptive and misleading practices to overcharge its customers.

"CWA members are grateful to Attorney General Ellison for securing this settlement to ensure that Frontier meets its commitment to providing improved broadband services to customers in Minnesota," said CWA District 7 Vice President Brenda Roberts.


VICTORY! CWA Helps Get Harmful ICE Decision Rescinded

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In a victory for CWA members and all workers, the harmful decision by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to revoke visas of degree-seeking international students if their institutions move to online instruction during COVID-19 was rescinded in court on Tuesday. The lawsuit that got the decision overturned was filed by Harvard and MIT and supported by CWA, AFT, and other labor unions with an amicus brief. CWA members in higher education shared information, circulated petitions, and mobilized members to provide testimonials for the brief.

Serving no other purpose than to forward Trump's radical isolationist agenda, the move created critical uncertainty for more than one million students who are living, working, and studying in the U.S., including many CWA members.

"Playing political games with international students' visa statuses in a cynical attempt to force campuses to reopen in person in the fall, despite clear evidence that indoor activity and proximity is a leading cause of COVID-19 spread, is both dangerous and xenophobic – par for the Trump course," said CWA Public, Healthcare, and Education Workers Vice President Margaret Cook.

Following the hearing, students will be able to follow guidance issued earlier this spring that allows them to retain their visas, regardless of whether their campuses offer their program online or not.


COVID-19 Resources

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, all CWA members should practice appropriate protocols for avoiding infection. If you are at high risk for exposure at work, your employer should be providing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment. For more information, visit the CWA COVID-19 resource page at cwa-union.org/covid-19.

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.