- Levin and Fitzpatrick Reintroduce SAFE Workers Act to Allow Electronic Voting in NLRB Union Elections
- Workers at GE-Savant Lighting Plant Fight to Keep Jobs In Bucyrus, Ohio
- Biden Takes Executive Action to Create Jobs, Raise Wages, and Protect Workers
- Organizing Update
- Bargaining Update
- In Memoriam – January 28, 2021
Levin and Fitzpatrick Reintroduce SAFE Workers Act to Allow Electronic Voting in NLRB Union Elections
This week, CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens joined Reps. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) for a virtual press conference on the reintroduction of the bipartisan Secure And Fair Elections for (SAFE) Workers Act. This crucial bill removes the ban on electronic voting in NLRB representation elections, making it safer for workers to join unions during the pandemic, and streamlines the process of holding union elections.
"During a public health crisis, the freedom of workers to join unions and negotiate with their employers is even more important than ever," said Steffens. "As millions of workers are losing their jobs or being forced to take pay cuts or furloughs – and as many other workers are forced to work without adequate safety precautions under threats of losing their job during an unprecedented economic crisis – the freedom of workers to organize in the workplace must be protected."
Steffens also talked about how CWA members are mobilizing to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, a sweeping labor reform bill to make it easier for workers to join unions and bargain with their employers that Reps. Levin and Fitzpatrick have strongly supported.
"We'll be counting on your support again to get it signed into law," Steffens said. "The SAFE Workers Act and the PRO Act would make a world of difference for millions of workers across this country. We at CWA are glad to have the leadership of members of Congress like Reps. Levin and Fitzpatrick working together to get these two bills signed into law, and CWA members are ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen."
CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens spoke at a virtual press conference on the reintroduction of the bipartisan Secure And Fair Elections for (SAFE) Workers Act to make it easier for workers to join unions.
Workers at GE-Savant Lighting Plant Fight to Keep Jobs In Bucyrus, Ohio
Workers at the GE-Savant lighting facility in Bucyrus, Ohio, are fighting for their jobs after the company issued a WARN notice informing workers they intend to move the LED residential light bulb line out of the facility to China, permanently laying off 80 workers. The GE-Savant facility is one of the only residential lighting plants left in the U.S.
"This plant has been in the community for over 60 years and we are proud to clock in here every day to make light bulbs," said Will Evans, GE-Savant worker and President of IUE-CWA Local 84704, which represents over 200 workers at the plant. "We are concerned not just about these 80 jobs – we are worried that if this product line leaves, the whole plant could close, leaving over 200 people out on the street."
IUE-CWA has proposed that GE-Savant retain good jobs by bringing in an outside expert from Michigan State University to seek ways to improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability through a joint labor management review of all of the current work processes.
"I have worked at this plant for 9 years. My job is essential to put food on the table for my family. If these jobs leave, it will hurt my family, my co-workers, and our entire community. We just want GE-Savant to do the right thing and keep these jobs here," said GE-Savant worker Patricia Horsley.
Sign the online petition to urge the company to keep the plant and the jobs in the community.
Biden Takes Executive Action to Create Jobs, Raise Wages, and Protect Workers
Biden Strengthens Buy American Requirements
On Monday, President Biden issued an executive order to update and strengthen Buy American requirements for federal spending. Current regulations create loopholes that allow companies to offshore jobs and undermine the intent of the law. CWA President Chris Shelton and IUE-CWA President Carl Kennebrew applauded Biden’s action in a statement.
"This executive order will crack down on employers like GE who send jobs out of the country and will help ensure that we can build the products needed for a 21st century economy right here at home," said Kennebrew.
Maximus Workers Applaud Biden Executive Order on Path to $15 Minimum Wage
Workers who handle millions of phone calls from Medicare and ACA participants are celebrating President Biden's action to begin the process of raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15 per hour and are calling on their employer, Maximus, to step up and raise their wages to $15 per hour immediately. Maximus workers at the CMS call centers are organizing with CWA to win better working conditions and a voice on the job.
"President Biden is already delivering on his promises to lift up and empower workers," said Cassie Ludwig, who works at Maximus' call center in London, Ky. "But the thousands of us at Maximus who help Americans get access to healthcare, during a pandemic no less, shouldn't have to wait another minute to get the better pay that we deserve. Maximus should follow Biden's lead and implement $15 pay immediately to address years of injustice and harm, and should respect our right to form a union."
"This Executive Order is a victory won by the years-long hard work of Maximus workers and other federal contract employees calling for fair pay. Now it's time for Maximus to take immediate action to put this higher pay in the pockets of its front-line workers and start respecting their rights to organize and collectively bargain, so they can support their families and communities in this time of crisis," said CWA President Chris Shelton.
Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety
Last week, President Biden issued an executive order directing the Department of Labor to develop strong, enforceable standards for protecting workers from COVID-19 in the workplace and to enforce worker health and safety requirements.
"Ensuring the health and safety of workers is a national priority and a moral imperative," Biden wrote in the order. "Healthcare workers and other essential workers, many of whom are people of color and immigrants, have put their lives on the line during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. It is the policy of my Administration to protect the health and safety of workers from COVID-19."
Journalists at the Reporter-Herald in Loveland, Colo., voted to join the NewsGuild-CWA Local 37074 on Tuesday, becoming the first union-represented newsroom in the state since the 1940s.
"This was a major victory for the communities we cover, whose access to great local news will be far more secure moving forward. All of us love what we do, and we look forward to bargaining for greater job security, better wages, and other protections as soon as we can set a date," they said.
Indian River County School District
Eleven Educational Technology Specialists won voluntary recognition to join CWA Local 3180 at the Indian River County School District in Vero Beach, Fla. The workers organized for job security, protections at work, and health and safety concerns. The new members look forward to being activists and stewards!
The New Yorker
Last week, NewsGuild-CWA members at The New Yorker held a 24-hour work stoppage to demand fair wages and a transparent, equitable salary structure, and to protest management's unacceptable response to the union's wage proposal and its ongoing failure to bargain in good faith.
"Salaries are a diversity and inclusion issue," said Naib Mian, an interactives researcher who is a member of The New Yorker Union's bargaining committee. "And a magazine that's at the forefront of the national discussion, especially around progressive issues, should not exclude those voices and should not be exclusive to the independently wealthy elite. But the status quo, and what management put on the table, enshrines that longstanding exclusion."
"These negotiations have gone on long enough. If management continues to reject basic concepts like competitive salary minimums and guaranteed annual increases, and refuses to swiftly bargain toward a contract that reflects the value of our members' work, we will take further action," the workers said in a statement.
In Memoriam – January 28, 2021
CWA has established a memorial page for members who have lost their lives to COVID-19.
This week we honor the memory of Janene Bellick, a member of CWA Local 7704 who worked for AT&T Mobility in Provo, Utah, and Cesar Colocho, a member of CWA Local 9505 who worked for AT&T in Alhambra, Calif.