Mar 25, 2021 - Our New Labor Secretary is a Union Member, and other news

March 25, 2021

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Marty Walsh Confirmed as Biden's Secretary of Labor

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This week, the U.S. Senate confirmed former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to lead the Department of Labor. Walsh is the first union member to serve as Secretary of Labor in nearly 50 years. Walsh will ensure that working people have one of their own at the table every time a major decision is made that affects their lives.

"President Biden has made it clear that during his administration, encouraging working people to join together in unions to stand up for themselves and improve their workplaces will be a top priority. We are confident that as Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh will carry out this mission," said CWA President Chris Shelton.


Tell Your Senator Now: It’s Time for Fundamental Democracy Reform

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To loosen the hold corporate money has on our country, we must build worker power, and to do that, we need the For the People Act. The bipartisan bill, which has been given the designation H.R. 1 as a sign of its importance, has passed the House of Representatives, and now the Senate must act.

For the last few weeks, we have been sharing information in the CWA eNewsletter about how the bill would make sure eligible voters could participate in elections and reduce the role of large donations in political campaigns.

In this series, we’ve highlighted how the For the People Act will give people more ways to vote, update the outdated voter registration process, protect voters against intimidation, and reduce the ability of corporations and extremely wealthy donors to control campaigns and our political process.

Tell your Senators that for the sake of our democracy and having fair elections in the future, they must act now to pass the For the People Act. Click here to send an email.


New Scorecard: Big Banks Fall Short on Diversity

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The Committee for Better Banks, a group of bank workers who are organizing for better working conditions with CWA, released a new racial justice report grading 13 big banks on diversity measures. The report shows that Black and Latino workers face particularly tough odds of getting higher paid positions at leading U.S. banks compared to their white counterparts.

Wells Fargo account resolution specialist Ted Laurel of San Antonio, who is Mexican-American, told CNN that he has held the same position with the company for eight years and has never been promoted despite receiving multiple raises and positive reviews from managers at his call center.

Laurel, an Army Reserve veteran and father of eight, also said that he and his fellow employees, many of whom have had similar experiences at Wells Fargo, have been demanding change ever since the company's CEO Charles Scharf came under fire for blaming the bank's lack of Black executives on a "very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from" in a memo circulated in the aftermath of the George Floyd tragedy last June.


Florida CWAers Fight Republican Assault on Workers' Rights

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A piece authored by CWA Local 3181 President Richard R. Poulette of West Palm Beach, sounding the alarm on how Republicans and corporations are coming after workers' rights, was featured this week in the Palm Beach Post.

CWA members in Florida are fighting two bills that have been introduced in the Florida State Senate that would force public sector union members to re-confirm multiple times that they want to remain in the union, creating a costly and time-consuming paperwork mess for these essential workers and the local governments that employ them.

"It's important to remember that these laws weren't created by workers to make their own lives better – they were created by corporate special interests to weaken unions financially and to chip away at working peoples' solidarity with one another. We must reject them," Poulette wrote.


Workers' Bill of Rights: A Comic Exploration

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A new comic book developed by the North Carolina State AFL-CIO includes nine captivating and beautifully illustrated individual stories that demonstrate the need for expanded workers' rights.

Click here to read The Workers' Bill of Rights: A Comic Exploration. Or you can get a digital copy of it by texting the word "comic" to 235246.


Bargaining and Organizing Updates

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Bargaining Updates

Ocean County New Jersey Board of Social Services

CWA Local 1088 members at the Ocean County New Jersey Board of Social Services have ratified a new contract including a path to reduce long-standing wage disparities and safe working conditions for more than 200 members. The contract included no concessions from members and a workplace safety plan that included making vaccines available to workers and other health and safety protocols.

Pat Self, the newly-elected president of Local 1088, said, "I am so proud of what our small local was able to accomplish. We showed the power of unity and solidarity. We know we didn't do this alone and really appreciate all the support we received from the national staff and our community partners."

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Fortune Magazine

NewsGuild of New York-CWA Local 31003 members at Fortune magazine staged a 24-hour walkout on Tuesday to protest management's bad faith in first contract negotiations and to demand a fair, equitable collective bargaining agreement. Among the issues in contention are diversity, salary transparency, pay equity, and a performance evaluation system based on production quotas and traffic metrics that management implemented unilaterally, in violation of labor law.

"We came in thinking negotiations were going to be a back-and-forth, and that's not what we've found," said McKenna Moore, an audience editor and reporter and Fortune Union's first vice chair. "We're frankly done asking nicely...So today we're walking out and withholding our labor for 24 hours."

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Wall Street Journal

IAPE NewsGuild-CWA Local 1096 has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board alleging Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, has refused to negotiate in good faith over pandemic benefits.

Members have spent considerable amounts on their work-from-home setups and are demanding more than a $150 stipend management gave them to work from home. Members have been working from home for a year and the union has repeatedly urged Dow Jones to do more to take care of employees during the pandemic.

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Organizing Updates

Hudson Youth Department

CWA Local 1120 members joined workers from the Hudson Youth Department to march to the Hudson, N.Y., City Hall and ask Mayor Kamal Johnson to support their fight to join CWA. While other City departments are members of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) and other unions, and the Hudson Youth Department workers receive health insurance through CSEA, they are currently not represented by any union. All 22 Youth Center workers have signed on in support of joining CWA.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade

NewsGuild members at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade held solidarity rallies on Friday, March 19, to deliver a message to their common owner, Block Communications, Inc.: "We Won't Back Down against their attempts to bust our unions, eliminate editorial independence, and destroy the Toledo Blade and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette."

 


Bird is the Word: A Welcome to Audubon for All Members

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If you are a fan of birds and unions, check out this Twitter thread welcoming Audubon workers to CWA and showing solidarity with other labor unions.


"I Want to Go Back Out in the World": CWA Members Share Why They Are Getting Vaccinated

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Members and retirees from across our union have been sharing their reasons for getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

One common theme: getting back to normal. CWAers are eager to get back to their usual routines, to travel, and to see friends and family members – especially grandchildren! As one member put it, "I want to go back out in the world, and when it is safe, travel again. Bargain in person, eat indoors, see a movie, all the good things!"

We want to know what you think about COVID-19 vaccines, whether you have had a vaccination, plan on getting a vaccination, or do not want to get a vaccination. Take our survey at cwa.org/vaccine-survey.

Need more information about getting vaccinated or staying safe during the pandemic? Visit cwa.org/covid.