On Day One, Biden Fires Trump's Union Buster at the NLRB
In a strong Day One gesture showing his commitment to ensuring that workers are free to join together and exercise their power as union members, President Joe Biden fired National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Peter Robb, who spent his tenure at the NLRB pursuing an extremist agenda to dismantle workers' rights and doing corporations’ bidding. The NLRB General Counsel plays a critical role in setting the agenda for the NLRB and determining which cases it will pursue.
"Robb's firing is the critical first step toward restoring an NLRB that understands that the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act is to encourage collective bargaining and prevent the abuse of corporate power," CWA President Chris Shelton said in a statement. "Next steps include appointing a new General Counsel and NLRB members, and enacting legislation like the PRO Act to update our outdated labor laws. We are looking forward to working with President Biden as he continues to implement policies that empower and support working people."
Campus Workers Win $15 Minimum Wage
In response to pressure from union and community members, University of Memphis President M. David Rudd emailed all campus workers on Tuesday announcing a commitment to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour effective June 5, 2021. The lowest paid workers who will see a raise include custodians and other physical plant workers who have been on the front lines of keeping campus open and clean during the COVID-19 crisis.
"We have been working on this since 2017 and it's finally here," said Doris Brooks-Conley and Thelma Jean Rimmer, long-time custodians and leaders in CWA's United Campus Workers-CWA Local 3865. "I'm so overwhelmed, I don't have words; I'm glad for my coworkers and all they have gone through and never gave up."
Meghan Cullen, UCW-CWA Local 3865 Vice President of the University of Memphis Chapter, said, "Over the past three years, the University community has made a point to demand economic justice for its lowest paid workers. In addition to the tremendous advocacy by the union, the Faculty and Staff Senate called for a raise to a $15 per hour minimum wage in a joint resolution in 2018. I am grateful that the University's administration has heard our demand and taken action."
The announcement comes as front line workers all over the country are calling for hazard pay due to increased health and safety risks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Campus workers and community supporters celebrated the news and will be watching for President Rudd to uphold his word and enact the raise in June.
CWA Campus Workers rally in 2019 for a $15 minimum wage at the University of Memphis. (Photo Credit: Andrea Morales)
Biden Inaugural Event Features CWA Member
CWA Local 3204 member Adonis Brevard was featured in a virtual event hosted by Biden's Presidential Inaugural Committee. In the video, Brevard talks about the history of CWA and how CWA members are looking forward to working with the Biden administration to expand broadband access and make it easier for all workers to join unions.
With Biden's COVID-19 Relief Plan, Workers Will Have the Support They Need
With his comprehensive relief plan, Joe Biden has shown that he understands how deeply the COVID-19 crisis has affected working people. His proposal will provide the financial support workers need and resources for curbing the pandemic by ensuring that vaccines are widely available.
State and local governments and school systems have shouldered extraordinary costs, and public workers have continued to provide essential services even as their health and livelihoods have been threatened. Biden's plan will ensure that they can continue to serve our communities. It will also enhance benefits for the unemployed, expand paid leave, raise wages for millions of workers, and create an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from COVID-19 infection.
Congress must act quickly to pass this plan and provide immediate, lifesaving relief to millions of Americans who have been suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It's Time for Union Members to Fight to Make the PRO Act Law
Last week, CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens was featured on a Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act national virtual townhall co-hosted by CWA, the AFL-CIO, and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT).
As union members start a big push to pass the PRO Act, historic legislation that will put power in the hands of workers and reverse decades of legislation meant to crush unions, leaders from across the labor movement were joined by congressional allies, including House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Congressman Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), to talk about how crucial it is for the labor movement to get the PRO Act passed, and how we do it.
"We at CWA are ready to do everything within our power to win," Steffens said. "If each and every one of us does our part to show corporations what real solidarity looks like – and that means all of the pro-labor Democrats we worked so hard to elect, the entire labor movement, its leaders, and rank-and-file members – we will win. Millions of working people are depending on the Democrats, and on us, to get this done. So let's get it done."
On January 14th, Gloucester County library workers, who organized to join CWA Local 1085 in 2019, celebrated the overwhelming ratification of their first contract! Highlights of the contract include raises retroactive to 1/1/19 and a reduction in premium sharing for healthcare.
"My grandmother was a CWA dues-paying member for over thirty years and was able to provide for her five children after her husband died in his thirties," said Organizing Committee and Bargaining Committee member Jim O'Connor. "Her youngest at the time was still in a stroller. She had job security and peace of mind."
Gloucester County library workers celebrated the overwhelming ratification of their first contract!