Dec 10, 2020 - COVID-19 Vaccine Information and other news

December 10, 2020

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Soccer Players Sign Partnership Agreement with CWA

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The United Soccer League Players Association (USLPA), the union representing all of the United Soccer League's Championship and League One players, has signed a partnership agreement with CWA to build solidarity, increase collaboration, and provide collective support.

"We look forward to continuing to build solidarity with CWA and its hundreds of thousands of members with this new partnership," said USLPA Executive Committee Member Connor Tobin, who plays for Forward Madison FC in USL League One. "CWA has done amazing work representing their members, and we particularly appreciate their focus on community building, which is something the USLPA strongly believes in. CWA members are active members of their communities in nearly every USL market. We greatly appreciate CWA's support for the players as we work towards a first contract."

For nearly two years, the USLPA has been in talks with the league to try to reach a collective bargaining agreement at the USL Championship level. The process has proven to be challenging, especially when COVID-19 brought play to a halt. After months of rigorous negotiations, the players reached a return to play agreement for both Championship and League One for the 2020 season which enabled competition to resume. In July, the USLPA resumed traditional collective bargaining at the USL Championship level.

For decades, the player experience in the lower divisions of soccer has been characterized by a dramatic range of conditions, some of which are detrimental to the sport itself. This reflects the continued struggle to achieve sustainability in the lower divisions of U.S. soccer. The USLPA sees its role as serving as an integral voice to assist both the USL Championship and USL League One in their efforts to stabilize and grow the second and third divisions in a sustainable way.


CWA members show their support for USL players. Watch the video by clicking here or the play button above.


Maximus Workers Protest Working Conditions, Release "Bill of Rights"

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Call center workers at government service provider Maximus held socially distant protests today calling on the company to respect their "Bill of Rights." The workers, who have been organizing with CWA, want Maximus to provide its essential workers with fair wages, adequate benefits, safe working conditions free of discrimination and exploitation, transparency as to benefits and leave options that are available, and to respect their right to join together in a union.

The Maximus' Workers Bill of Rights is being released today in recognition of International Human Rights Day, marking the day that the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Article 23 of the UDHR states that, "Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of [their] interests."

"Maximus call center employees work day in and day out to provide quick, accessible and accurate information to Americans about their healthcare, including critical information about COVID-19," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "Providing fair wages and keeping these workers, their families, and their communities safe is the least Maximus can do."


Maximus call center workers participated in a protest today, calling on the company to respect their "Bill of Rights."


Combating Misinformation About 5G Networks

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According to a new policy brief from Local Progress, the telecommunications industry has used misleading messaging to push cities to deploy 5G networks, resulting in unfair deals that "drain public coffers, ignore worker and public safety, and do nothing to bridge the digital divide."

Twenty-one million Americans today lack access to broadband infrastructure, with communities of color representing a significant portion of those unserved. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of connectivity is a significant barrier for millions of children learning remotely and adults working from home.

The brief, "Next Generation Wireless Networks That Work for All of Us," aligns with Fair 5G.org, a CWA project aimed at promoting digital equity, workers' rights, and corporate accountability in next generation networks. It notes that multiple levels of subcontracting by telecom companies means that local governments often do not know who is working in public rights-of-way, and that a lack of accountability can create serious safety risks.

The brief suggests actions cities and counties can take to promote safety when infrastructure is installed in the right-of-way, including safety reporting requirements, compliance with existing labor laws, and requiring that providers report to the city the identities of each entity performing work in the public right-of-way, including when the entity is a subcontractor.


Tell Lumen: Don't Exclude Union Workers from the MLK Holiday

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As we reported last week, Lumen Technologies, formerly known as CenturyLink, recently informed its employees that while non-union workers are being given Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday, its CWA-represented union members will not be.

The link we provided in last week’s Newsletter was incorrect, but it's not too late to sign the petition to let Lumen know that it is unacceptable to exclude union workers from the Martin Luther King Day holiday! Add your name at https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/lumen-centurylink-dont-exclude-union-workers-from-the-mlk-holiday.


What CWA Members Should Know About the First COVID-19 Vaccinations

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There has been a lot of news recently about COVID-19 vaccinations. Today, an independent panel of experts is holding a vote on whether or not to recommend that the FDA approve the first COVID-19 vaccine under the agency's Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) process. The vaccine is made by Pfizer. Limited distribution of vaccine doses will be sent to states next week, and there are other vaccines under development. Having many different vaccines that have been tested to make sure they are effective and safe and have been approved by the FDA will help speed production and distribution.

It will be a while before everyone is able to get a vaccine, and the availability of vaccines will not immediately end the pandemic. Record numbers of people are hospitalized with COVID-19 and deaths have been increasing in every age group. Epidemiologists expect cases to continue to surge over the next few months. Every one of us should take steps to stop the spread.

It's critical that employers provide workplace protections and that CWA members fight for improved protections and safeguards. Members should continue to observe basic public health measures, both inside and outside of work, to keep themselves and their families safe and stop the spread of the virus. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, stay at least 6 feet apart, and avoid gatherings with other people, particularly in indoor spaces. The more steps you take, the more you are protected against COVID-19.

The states will determine who will be prioritized to get the vaccines in their state and how the distribution will be carried out. For this first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine, states will likely be following the CDC's recommendations, which means that CWA-represented healthcare workers will be among the first to be vaccinated. Employers are setting up the process for vaccinations for healthcare workers, including where healthcare workers will be able to get vaccinations. CWA locals are working with employers to understand the distribution and prioritization plan and to ensure that employers will be providing adequate vaccine education to eligible members.

Your state's Department of Public Health website has the most up-to-date information about your state's COVID-19 vaccination plan.

For additional information about COVID-19 vaccines, visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html.