Mar 18, 2021 - CWA Members are Prepared to Fight Against the Filibuster if Necessary, and other news

March 18, 2021

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Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act Will Create and Protect Good Jobs

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Millions of people across the country don't have access to affordable broadband due to the digital divide – a cycle of profit-driven discrimination that has only grown worse during the pandemic.

Last Thursday, Rep. James Clyburn and Sen. Amy Klobuchar reintroduced the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act, an ambitious piece of legislation that would expand affordable, high-speed broadband to all Americans, while creating thousands of good jobs.

"CWA members, especially the technicians who build these networks, have seen firsthand how our nation's inadequate investment in broadband has exacerbated inequality during the pandemic," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "With a new President and Congress in power, we now have an incredible chance to build back better and transform our nation by ensuring affordable, high speed broadband access for all, regardless of race, income, or geography. Rep. Clyburn's broadband infrastructure bill introduced today includes strong provisions to expand broadband access to rural communities and protect good union jobs across the country."


CWA Statement on Atlanta Murders and Surge in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

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Our entire CWA family is anguished by the horrific murder of eight people in Atlanta, Ga., on Tuesday, including six Asian American women. Our condolences go out to the victims and their families.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Asian American communities around the country have been targeted by groups and individuals who are driven by white supremacist and misogynistic beliefs and encouraged by right-wing politicians and media figures. The tragedy in Atlanta occurred in a climate of anti-Asian hate and scapegoating.

This is not the first time in our country’s history these communities have been subject to racial and ethnic hatred. From the Chinese Exclusion Act to Japanese Internment to targeted hate crimes, mass shootings and the disproportionate impact of incarcerations and deportations on Asian communities, anti-Asian racism has been a reoccurring injustice in our country’s history.

Despite this, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have continued to believe in the promise of America and have been leaders in movements, including the labor movement, dedicated to realizing that promise. Most recently, Asian American frontline workers have put their lives at risk to serve their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, even as they faced the additional burden of racist attacks.

We cannot allow these attacks to continue. As union members and activists, we have the responsibility to prevent the spread of violence and hate and stand in solidarity with Asian American communities. As we mourn those who were lost to violence, we continue our efforts to build an anti-racist union so that we can stand united against the true enemies of the working class.


Organizing Updates

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Record Guild

Journalists, photographers, and producers at The Record, Daily Record, and New Jersey Herald got a boost when both of New Jersey's Senators and four Representatives expressed their disappointment that Gannett, which owns the newspapers, has chosen not to voluntarily recognize the workers' union.

In the letter, Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker and Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr., Mikie Sherrill, Tom Malinowski, and Josh Gottheimer wrote that Gannett's union-busting is "anathema to democracy and has no place in New Jersey, where there is a proud and long history of unionized labor." They called on Gannett to "honor your employees' rights and refrain from any further anti union tactics," including captive audience meetings, attempts to break up the unit, and procedural delays.

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Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

Workers at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, the largest state association of nonprofits in the country, have joined the Minnesota Newspaper & Communications Guild/NewsGuild-CWA Local 37002 and are asking for voluntary recognition for their union. Workers have organized around principles of racial justice and equitable programmatic changes at the organization.

Ileana Mejia, an MCN public policy advocate, said, "Through a union, I will be able to bring my full self and voice and articulate the needs we as workers of color have and actually move forward on concrete issues that affect us."

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Mobilize

Twenty-two workers at the community-organizing app Mobilize, which is owned by political tech company EveryAction, have unanimously chosen to join CWA Local 1101. The unit includes software engineers, sales representatives, and client support managers. EveryAction has agreed to voluntarily recognize the unit.

Workers at Mobilize chose to affiliate with CWA due to CWA's history of fighting big employers and the union’s ongoing tech worker organizing at employers like Glitch and Alphabet.

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Colorado Political Workers

More than 60 political workers in the Colorado state legislature, U.S. Congressional District offices, electoral campaigns, and local political organizations have formed the Political Workers Guild of Colorado (PWG) and affiliated with NewsGuild-CWA Local 37074. Legislative staff at the state and federal level are exempt from many workplace protections, so the PWG will operate as a first-of-its-kind unit focusing on working collectively to address grievances and bring dignity to their jobs.

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National Audubon Society

This week, the employees of the National Audubon Society headquarters, field offices, and centers publicly launched the Audubon for All Union, in partnership with CWA. In a statement, they said that they are organizing "to create a more secure and stable workplace, without the fears of job insecurity or an unsustainable work environment."

While other national environmental organizations like Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and the Sunrise Movement have formed unions through voluntary recognition and without management interference, Audubon's management has retained an anti-union consulting firm. On Monday, CWA filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against Audubon asserting that management has violated the National Labor Relations Act by telling employees that they cannot discuss the organizing drive with their co-workers and directing some employees to remove their signatures from a statement in support of the union.

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RAICES

Workers at RAICES, the largest immigration non-profit in Texas, are uniting to form a union with the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, NewsGuild-CWA Local 32035. They want to empower employees at RAICES to be able to negotiate fair salaries and benefits, and to have more transparency about wages and paid time off policies. "Unions help human rights nonprofit organizations model justice and equity in the workplace," the workers said in a statement posted on their website.

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More NewsGuild Wins!

In Southern California, three-fourths of the non-management editorial employees at the Southern California News Group (SCNG) have signed authorization cards to join the NewsGuild-CWA. SCNG has 11 daily newspapers and more than a dozen weekly publications across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties and is owned by Alden Global Capital's Digital First Media, which is notorious for slashing newsroom budgets.


CWA District 6 Members Gear Up for Key Fights to Pass Pro-Worker Legislation

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CWA District 6 hosted two virtual trainings for CWA members over the past few weeks to teach participants how the federal and state legislative process works, discussing how to get CWA-backed bills like the PRO Act and other key pro-worker legislation passed, and learning how to engage their coworkers in legislative campaigns.

"I really enjoyed the whole training! It was very helpful to understand the specifics about the state legislative process," said Robyn Cottin, a member of CWA Local 6355, St. Louis, Mo.

"Breakout sessions really took me out of my comfort zone. Nice job," said Rene Trujillo, a member of AFA-CWA United MEC Council 42 in Houston, Texas.

"I loved the training. The instructors were very knowledgeable and informative!" said Yolande Quinn, a CWA Local 6215 member in Dallas.


CWA District 6 hosted two virtual trainings for CWA members over the past few weeks to train them on how to get pro-worker legislation passed.


CWA Members are Prepared to Fight Against the Filibuster, if Necessary

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On Wednesday, as the Senate companion bill for the For the People Act (S.1​) was introduced, leaders from the 45-million-member social justice coalition the Democracy Initiative, including CWA President Chris Shelton, called for Senate action on the bill and warned against letting it fall victim to a filibuster.

"With the introduction of the For the People Act in the U.S. Senate today, we finally have a chance to reform our democracy to make sure the voices of working people are being heard,” said Shelton. "If we want to have free and fair elections – the most critical component of our democracy – we must pass this bill. Our nation cannot afford to let an antiquated tradition like the filibuster prevent us from taking the most basic actions to protect our elections. If we need to fight for the elimination of the filibuster in order to get the bill passed, CWA members are prepared to do so."


NewsGuild President Tells Lawmakers Local News is Facing an Extinction-Level Threat

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NewsGuild-CWA President Jon Schleuss told a House subcommittee on Friday that local news is facing "an extinction-level" threat that jeopardizes American democracy.

"In the last 16 years, 2,100 newsrooms across the country have shut down," Schleuss said. "And there are half as many newspaper journalists working today as there were a decade ago."


NewsGuild-CWA President Jon Schleuss remotely testified in front of a House subcommittee on Friday that local news is facing "an extinction-level" threat.

The financial crunch has left publications vulnerable to takeover by predatory financial actors who don't care about investing in local news. They only care about cash extraction, and they accomplish that by strip-mining local news outlets and cutting staff. What's left are ghost newspapers, or no news coverage at all.

"These hedge funds, like Alden Global Capital, are cutting people off from knowing what's happening in their communities and eroding our democracy," said Schleuss.

Schleuss called for lawmakers to ensure that any organization receiving additional revenue must be required to bargain in good faith and remain neutral when their workers want to organize a union.

Watch his full testimony here.


Our Stories: Why We Need the PRO Act

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On Wednesday, CWA 7777 Local President Debbie Medina spoke at a virtual press conference on why CWA members are working so hard to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The PRO Act would make it easier to join unions, win first contract agreements, and engage in more powerful strikes.

"My dad's story of being fired and replaced for standing up for his rights on the job happened in 1977 but it still happens today to workers all across this country," said Medina. "Because of weak, outdated labor law, when workers choose to stand up to corporations making insurmountable profits off their backs, they can get fired. The PRO Act would end employers' practice of punishing striking workers by hiring permanent replacements. Speaking up for labor rights is within every worker's rights, and workers shouldn't lose our jobs for it."


How Hedge Fund "Activism" Boosts Short-Term Stock Prices at the Expense of Workers

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On March 10, CWA hosted a panel at the Council of Institutional Investors Spring conference exposing how hedge fund "activism" boosts short-term stock prices at the expense of workers, customers, and long-term investors.

Professor Mark Desjardine presented data-driven research showing that hedge funds make demands like stock buybacks and cost cuts that boost a company's stock price in the short-term, but harm the company's long-term prospects.

CWA Local 6222 Vice President Belinda Aguilar, an AT&T Mobility worker, explained how hedge fund Elliott Management's attack on AT&T has led to more outsourcing of good retail jobs to non-union authorized dealers.

Investigative journalist Julie Reynolds detailed how Alden Global Capital hollowed out local newspapers, even turning off hot water at the Monterey Herald and defaulting on rent, all while extracting cash for executives and unrelated investments. The panel challenged conventional Wall Street wisdom and pointed the way forward for long-term investors to reject harmful hedge fund tactics.


New Mexico State Workers Fight to End Poverty Wages

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Funding to support state and local governments is one of the most important parts of the American Rescue Plan, which passed both houses of Congress and was signed by President Biden last week. Biden and Democrats in Congress made it very clear that they intend for the funds to be used to support public services, strengthen public sector jobs and wages, and help communities build back better from the pandemic.

In New Mexico, state workers, members of CWA Local 7076, are fighting to ensure that New Mexico's leaders follow through by establishing a $15/hour minimum wage for state employees and restoring a promised 1.5% wage increase. They were able to bring the fight to a floor vote in the New Mexico Senate. While they weren't successful this year, they plan to build membership and their political program to fight again next year.

"I love the fact that during the pandemic, when many closed their doors, we remained open to keep providing another line of food aid for our women, infants, and children," said Eunice Gamon, a WIC clerk in Las Cruces who worked throughout the pandemic. "Many state employees have served and are still serving during the pandemic, many of them were infected with COVID-19, including me...I believe we deserve a living wage raise."


CWAers Stand with Steelworkers at Google Contractor HCL

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In September, workers at HCL Tech, a contractor for Google, voted to join the Steelworkers (USW). HCL is refusing to bargain fairly with these workers, and have responded by sending their jobs to Poland in violation of Google's Supplier Code of Conduct. Sign the petition to show solidarity here!


Share Your Thoughts on COVID Vaccination

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We want to know what you think about COVID-19 vaccines so we can make sure we provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about vaccinations for yourself and your family. The survey is for all members whether you have had a vaccination, plan on getting a vaccination, or do not want to get a vaccination.

Click here to take the survey.