Aug 6, 2020 - Demand Senators Extend Payroll Protection

August 6, 2020

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CODE-CWA Game Workers Win Groundbreaking Strike

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Writers for Lovestruck, a mobile game produced by Voltage Entertainment USA, will return to work after a groundbreaking strike that ended this week after Voltage management agreed to pay increases averaging 78% and increased transparency at work. The strike was the first successful game worker strike in the history of the game development industry.

The workers approached CODE-CWA for help improving their working conditions and chose to strike even though, as independent contractors, their action was not protected under U.S. labor law. Despite the risk, they prevailed through a strategic organizing effort that united the writers behind a shared set of concerns.

"This group of writers at Voltage showed incredible courage by deciding to go on strike, and their unity during the 21 days they withheld their work led to unprecedented success," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "CWA members understand the power of going on strike, and we are proud that the Voltage workers are part of the CWA family. Joining together to address the issues they face is the best way for working people to improve their lives. The writers' bold action is a model for others who are ready to fight to improve working conditions in the video games industry and beyond."

"My wage increase is substantial and I'm very pleased with it," Frances Maples, one of the writers who went on strike, told VICE. "But beyond that, this means everything to me. It got to a point with our union where I felt like I wasn't fighting for my own wages but for the wages of my fellow writers. In the games industry, it feels really historic."

During the strike, over 4,000 fans signed a petition to demand that Voltage provide fair pay to the Lovestruck game writers. In a further illustration of the incredible support for the writers, fans raised a total of $7,723 for the Voltage Organized Workers Support Fund.


Senators: Extend the Payroll Support Program in the CARES Act to Save Our Jobs

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The CARES Act provision that saved 950,000 aviation jobs in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19 – the Payroll Support Program (PSP) – is set to expire in October, even though the aviation industry's crisis is far from over.

If the Senate does not take action soon, mass layoffs in the aviation industry are inevitable. The loss of the PSP will be devastating to all aviation workers, including passenger service agents, AFA-CWA members, their families, and our communities. Senators need to hear from all of us now.

Click here to send a message to your Senators telling them to extend the CARES Act Payroll Support Program through March 2021 to protect hundreds of thousands of aviation jobs.


CWA members like Yasmeen Alston, a member of Local 3640 in Winston-Salem, are urging their Senators to extend the PSP program. Watch the video here.


CWAers Put Pressure on Senators to Pass the HEROES Act

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This week, CWAers in District 1 held a virtual phonebank to make phone calls to Senators to urge them to support the HEROES Act to provide relief to state and local government, premium pay for essential workers, paid leave, strengthened OSHA protections, and funding for safer voting in the 2020 elections.

This crucial bill passed the House in May, but has stalled in the Senate thanks to GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, who opposes core provisions of the bill like extended unemployment protections and aid for state and local governments.

CWA members have made thousands of calls and sent thousands of emails in support of the bill, but we need to ramp up now. Call your Senators now and urge them to support the HEROES Act: 1-877-775-9294.


CWAers in District 1 held a virtual phonebank to call on Senators to support the HEROES Act.


On 55th Anniversary of Voting Rights Act, We Must Be Vigilant

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Today marks the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act being signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. The Act removes obstacles and restrictions that made it harder for African-Americans to vote.

As we mark this historic achievement, we are facing the most important election of our lifetimes. The COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging our country, and Americans are demanding justice for Black lives and for stronger rights to join a union, but the Republican politicians in power are failing to act to provide relief to Americans who are struggling.

We need to make sure that everyone is able to vote safely. Many states are implementing plans to make voting by mail more accessible. In response, GOP politicians see this as an opportunity to gut the USPS to try to rig these elections.

We must honor the distinguished memory of Congressman John Lewis and the values he fought so bravely for by making sure that our country has safe and accessible elections in 2020. Nobody should have to choose between their health and casting their vote. Congress must allocate funding for safe elections to ensure that every American can safely vote this year.


Check Out CWA's Panels at Next Week's Netroots Nation Virtual Conference

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Netroots Nation is the biggest annual progressive conference in the United States. It enables thousands of people, including many union members, to connect, learn, and be inspired.

This year, the conference will be online, and CWA's work will be featured during several panels. District 7 Vice President Brenda Roberts will discuss the offshoring of customer service work and what kinds of trade policies are needed to keep customer service jobs in the United States, while raising standards for workers across the globe. AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson will highlight what Democrats should do to achieve big gains for workers if they win control of the presidency and U.S. Senate next year. Tech and game workers will talk about the tactics they've used to gain power in their workplaces during a panel hosted by CODE-CWA.

Discounted tickets are available for CWA members. Click here for more information and to register.


Who is Paul Singer?

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The podcast "Who Is?" has just released an episode focusing on Paul Singer, the billionaire hedge fund CEO behind Elliott Management's predatory campaign to destroy AT&T. The podcast explores how Singer's tactics, which include cutting jobs and sending work to low-wage contractors, divesting assets, and extracting cash for shareholders through stock buybacks, illustrate what has gone wrong in the American economy over the past 40 years.

"Elliott says it could nearly double AT&T's stock price in the space of less than two years. How is it going to do that? $30 billion in stock buybacks. That's a massive extraction of cash that could be invested in productive uses and in good jobs," said Nell Geiser, CWA's Director of Research on the podcast.

Listen to it here.