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Jan 7, 2021 - Yesterday's Insurrection Was an Attack on Our Democracy and other news

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Yesterday’s Insurrection Was An Attack on Democracy by White Supremacists and Fascists

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Yesterday, the world watched as armed insurrectionists, with the encouragement of the President of the United States, launched an attack on the Capitol in an attempt to undermine our democracy and prevent Congress from certifying the results of the Presidential election.

Two images from their failed attempt to violently invalidate the votes of millions of Americans make their motives absolutely clear: the sight of the confederate flag being paraded through the halls of the Senate and a message scrawled on a door, “Murder the media.”

White supremacy is a poison that has been with us since the beginning of our country, and the confederate flag is its symbol, meant to subjugate and terrorize Black, brown, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Indigenous people. That was the goal of this mob and the President who asked them to assemble on his behalf.

Freedom of the press is the first target of fascists everywhere, as they seek to silence opposition and suppress any information that contradicts the alternate reality that their narcissistic leader creates to support his racist fantasy world. This freedom is enshrined in our Constitution because a healthy democracy is not possible without a free press.

There is no doubt that each day that Donald Trump continues to hold the powers of the Presidency presents a grave threat to the safety of millions of American and to the stability of our country. He organized an insurrection while ignoring a pandemic. Legislators and members of the Cabinet have taken an oath to defend our Constitution and they must act to remove him from office immediately before he does greater harm to our country and democracy.

But we must not fool ourselves. The end of Trump’s presidency does not mean an end to white supremacy in our government. After forcing Congress to flee and vandalizing the Capitol for hours, the insurrectionists were free to walk out the door and head home. After they returned to the Capitol, half of the Republican members of the House of Representatives, who are guilty of aiding and abetting this insurrection, voted to overturn the will of the American people.

Far too many politicians enabled Donald Trump to build and sustain power. Corporate CEOs and board members, driven only by the size of their fortunes, continue to extract wealth from our labor and cynically exploit racism for their own gain.

Along with the free press, free, democratic labor unions like ours are targets of fascists who fear the power of workers united in common cause. We must remain committed to the fight to strengthen our democracy and resist white supremacy and fascism. We must continue the process we began last spring to deepen our efforts to dismantle racism, including racism within our union. Together we will build power for all working people.


CWA Members Continue to Build Worker Power with Wins in Georgia Senate Runoff

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With this week's victories for Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, working people in Georgia and across the United States have ensured that their voices will be heard on Capitol Hill in 2021 and beyond.

"CWA activists in Georgia have spent years organizing and building a program to engage members and retirees in legislative and electoral work," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "There's no doubt that every vote mattered and their work to organize all around the state made a huge difference in winning Georgia for Joe Biden, Rev. Warnock, and Jon Ossoff. Mitch McConnell's days as the 'grim reaper,' single-handedly stopping legislation that would improve the lives of working people from even coming up for debate in the Senate, are over."

CWA members began preparing for the Georgia Senate race shortly after the 2018 midterm elections. Members educated their co-workers on issues including offshoring, corporate tax cuts, and providing paid leave for all workers and the importance of passing legislation like the PRO Act to enable more workers to join unions and fight back against corporate control of their lives and our economy. The pandemic brought even more urgency to those efforts, as CWA members continued to provide essential services while the McConnell-led Senate failed to act on legislation to protect their lives and their jobs.

For the runoff, CWAers from across the country joined the efforts in Georgia, pitching in on virtual phone banks.

"Our members went from winning a historic strike against AT&T in the summer of 2019 right into work on the Georgia Senate primary election, general election, and now this runoff," said CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt. "Mobilizing for a strike and turning out the vote serve the same goal: building worker power and fighting for economic justice."

CWAers, joined by special guests including Stacey Abrams, held numerous phonebanks to elect Warnock and Ossoff, and to ensure that working people's voices are heard once Biden and the new Congress are sworn in.

Google Workers Join CWA

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On Monday, workers at Google announced the creation of the Alphabet Workers Union. Alphabet is Google's parent company. The union will be open to all employees and contractors at any Alphabet company and the workers will be members of CWA Local 1400.

The historic launch received widespread media attention, including a feature story and editorial from the workers in the New York Times, and dozens of elected officials tweeted their support.

"This union builds upon years of courageous organizing by Google workers," said Alphabet Workers Union member Nicki Anselmo, a Program Manager at Google. "From fighting the 'real names' policy, to opposing Project Maven, to protesting the egregious, multi-million dollar payouts that have been given to executives who've committed sexual harassment, we've seen first-hand that Alphabet responds when we act collectively. Our new union provides a sustainable structure to ensure that our shared values as Alphabet employees are respected even after the headlines fade."

"We are glad to welcome the Alphabet Workers Union as members of CWA Local 1400," said CWA Local President Don Trementozzi. "We are a democratic, member-driven union, with experience building and sustaining worker power at some of America's largest corporations. This is an historic step toward making lasting improvements for workers at Google and other Alphabet companies."

Alphabet Workers have joined CWA Local 1400.

Bargaining Update

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AT&T Mobility

In December, CWA and AT&T agreed to extend two contracts covering 24,000 technicians, call center customer support workers, and representatives at AT&T's retail stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. The "Orange" contract was set to expire on February 11, 2021, and the "Black" contract was set to expire on February 10, 2022. Each contract will be extended by one year.

The extension includes a 2.5% wage increase effective on the original contract expiration dates. Benefits remain the same under the existing cost sharing agreement. In addition, groundbreaking job security protections negotiated in 2017 remain in place. AT&T and CWA also agreed that AT&T Mobility Call Center employees who are temporarily working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic can continue to do so through June of 2021.

CWA Members Sound Alarm of Sexual Assault, Toxic Workplace at AT&T Vallejo Store

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AT&T workers and community allies rallied together at a socially distant demonstration to demand change at AT&T’s Vallejo store.

On Christmas Eve, AT&T workers and community allies rallied together at a socially distant demonstration to demand change at AT&T Mobility's Vallejo store after an assistant manager sexually assaulted a worker in October. The demonstrators are calling for justice for the victim, CWA Local 9404 member Yesenia Ortiz, and accountability for Juan Moreno, the assistant manager, and Wahab Falak, the store manager, who were involved in egregious behavior; and an end to the retaliatory and toxic workplace created by management.

In October, Mr. Moreno called Ms. Ortiz across the sales floor and said, "I have a present for you," and proceeded to pull open her sweatshirt and shove a box of pens into her jacket. He then followed her aggressively as she walked away, breaking COVID-19 guidelines of standing six feet apart.

"The Vallejo AT&T store is the most toxic place I've ever worked," said Ortiz. "It's unbelievable that AT&T is aware that I was a victim of sexual assault committed by my co-worker, and yet he's been able to keep his job. AT&T needs to terminate Wahab and Juan immediately, and step in and take action to make sure that the laundry list of issues at our store is no longer tolerated."

Before the sexual assault, Mr. Moreno tore down Ms. Ortiz's Black Lives Matter sticker on her work locker at Mr. Falak's direction. The sticker was in the store's locker room where colleagues have personal stickers expressing a range of interests on their lockers. This happened despite the company's stance in support of Black lives and a commitment from AT&T's CEO John Stankey to dedicate company resources to support equality.

CWA Raises Concerns about Verizon's Proposed Acquisition of TracFone

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In December, CWA filed comments with the FCC raising serious concerns with the proposed acquisition of TracFone by Verizon.

TracFone is now one of the largest providers of Lifeline services, a federal program that makes phone and internet services more affordable for low-income customers, including many seniors. TracFone has approximately 1.7 million low-income subscribers in 43 states and the District of Columbia, or 22 percent of total Lifeline subscribers. By contrast, Verizon only offers its mobile wireless service to Lifeline customers in parts of four states.

Tracfone's critical role in providing Lifeline could be undermined if Verizon seeks to increase its profits by reducing promotion of Tracfone's Lifeline services or limiting Tracfone users to basic services rather than making 5G service widely available.

Read more here.

Communications Workers of America (CWA) Applauds House Democrats for Reintroduction of the For the People Act (H.R. 1)

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This week, House Democrats reintroduced H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a sweeping pro-democracy bill that contains reforms essential to fixing our political system, including expanding voting rights, getting money out of politics, redistricting, and strengthening government ethics. In 2019, House Democrats passed a version of this bill, but Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell refused to even bring it to the floor for consideration.

“The 2020 elections have demonstrated just how badly we need to take bold steps to reform our democracy,” said CWA Senior Director for Government Affairs and Policy Shane Larson. “CWA members are proud to support H.R.1, the For the People Act, a much-needed piece of legislation that would give a stronger voice to the American people. For decades, corporations and the wealthiest 1% have been rigging the political process against working people by making it harder for them to vote, stacking the courts with activist judges who have allowed our elections to be flooded with massive amounts of unreported corporate money, and weakening ethics rules. Enough is enough. It’s time to usher in a new, more inclusive era for our nation by passing the For the People Act."

In Memoriam – January 7, 2021

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CWA has established a memorial page for members who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

This week we honor the memory of Chris Lechuga, a member of CWA Local 7019 who worked for CenturyLink in Phoenix, Ariz.