- CWA and Community Leaders Tell GE: Reinvest in Good Union Jobs Now
- Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. Pocan Introduce the End Outsourcing Act to Bring Back American Jobs
- CWA Activists Secure Another Senate Co-Sponsor for the PRO Act
- Protect Our Vote. Build Worker Power.
- Guilty Verdict in Chauvin Trial is a Step Toward Justice, But It Is Not Enough
- AFA-CWA President Testifies in the Senate on Safe Return to Air Travel
- Organizing Updates
- CWA Leaders Talk to Students About Building an Anti-Racist Union
- Members of Congress Demand Accountability for Violence Against Workers in the Philippines
- COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Available
CWA and Community Leaders Tell GE: Reinvest in Good Union Jobs Now
On April 15, in a letter published in the Boston Globe, more than 100 labor leaders, lawmakers, environmental activists, and allies called on General Electric (GE) to stop outsourcing and offshoring American jobs. The letter is part of a broad campaign led by IUE-CWA Local 81201 to convince GE to reinvest in workers and manufacturing facilities in Lynn, Mass., and throughout the country.
The letter explains that GE "focused on financial engineering when the world needed electrical engineering," engaging in business practices that accelerated a "race-to-the-bottom economic model that has gutted the American middle class." The signers urged the company to create more and better jobs that would improve the U.S. economy, combat climate change, and safeguard national security.
In an article that ran in the Boston Globe, Adam Kasnyski, President of IUE-CWA Local 81201, said, "GE is an American brand. They get a lot of incentives from the government. They get contracts from the government. The government should be able to step in and persuade GE to make a future in Lynn." An upcoming May Day event will bring together labor and better housing advocates in Lynn.
The letter and more information about the campaign are available online at GE Stop Outsourcing.
Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. Pocan Introduce the End Outsourcing Act to Bring Back American Jobs
Yesterday, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced the End Outsourcing Act in the Senate and U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) introduced the same legislation in the House. The act would use the federal tax code and federal grants, loans, and contracts to stop the outsourcing of American jobs and create a new tax benefit to encourage companies to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States. The legislation would help create good jobs for those who lost their livelihoods during the pandemic.
"The pandemic has put millions of Americans out of work and we can no longer allow manufacturing companies to cut more family-supporting jobs in favor of cheap labor and higher profits overseas," said Sen. Gillibrand. Congressman Pocan added, "Congress must incentivize companies to invest in American jobs, workers, and communities."
IUE-CWA President Carl Kennebrew voiced the union's strong support of the legislation. "For too long, corporations have grabbed profitable government contracts funded by our tax dollars with one hand and pushed good jobs overseas with the other, with no concern for the impact on workers or our communities," said Pres. Kennebrew. "Last fall, during the height of the COVID pandemic, one of the largest federal contractors, General Electric, announced that it would be sending dozens of jobs manufacturing power turbines from Schenectady, N.Y., to Poland. These corporations are driven by one thing – massive profits. The End Outsourcing Act will ensure that our tax dollars go to companies that create American jobs, not the ones that are shipping jobs overseas."
CWA Activists Secure Another Senate Co-Sponsor for the PRO Act
Earlier this week, Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced that he will be co-sponsoring the PRO Act. CWA activists were instrumental in securing Manchin’s support. "As our country makes the transition to a cleaner energy future and new technologies, we must ensure that these industries provide opportunities for good jobs in the communities that need them," said CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney. "The best way to do that is by passing the PRO Act so that those jobs can be union jobs."
The PRO Act would be a game-changer for millions of workers by making it easier to join unions, win first contract agreements, and engage in more powerful strikes.
Next week CWA members and allies from a wide variety of organizations will be participating in activities to show their support for the PRO Act. To get involved, sign our PRO Act petition here.
Protect Our Vote. Build Worker Power.
Earlier today, CWA members, retirees and, allies gathered for a town hall to discuss the urgency of passing the For the People Act. CWA President Chris Shelton and Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens hosted the event, and Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams joined the group with inspirational messages about the importance of protecting and expanding voting rights.
The For the People Act would loosen the hold corporate money has on our country so that we can build worker power. 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 has moved to the Senate for consideration.
After the public town hall, CWA activists held a virtual text bank to ask CWA members to contact their Senators to urge them to support the bill.
Guilty Verdict in Chauvin Trial is a Step Toward Justice, But It Is Not Enough
Today’s verdict finding Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd is a step toward justice for Floyd, his family members, and all those who have been affected by his brutal murder. But it is not enough.
As we have seen in the past few weeks, the threat of police violence continues to be a constant presence in the lives of Black and Brown people in our country. We’ve heard all the pretexts and excuses and promises to do better, but the fact remains that there has been no reduction in the racial disparity in fatal police shootings over the past five years.
Our union is committed to educating, organizing and mobilizing for racial justice. That work begins with fighting racism within CWA and extends into our workplaces and our communities.
As we said last year after George Floyd was murdered, “It is not enough to punish the perpetrators who have taken these Black lives. It is not enough to simply identify a "few bad apples" to fire or prosecute - a course of action which our deeply flawed legal system makes difficult to pursue. We must also do the hard, transformational work of rooting out racism in America's consciousness and the institutions that uphold it.”
The lives of our Black and Brown brothers, sisters and siblings depend upon it.
AFA-CWA President Testifies in the Senate on Safe Return to Air Travel
Yesterday, AFA-CWA President Sara Nelson testified at a U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations and Innovation hearing titled, "Prepare for Takeoff: America's Safe Return to Air Travel." Nelson discussed the success of the Payroll Support Program (PSP) in keeping workers in the airline industry on the job and connected to health care and benefits during the pandemic. She also outlined the work that must be done to support a safe return to air travel which includes continued vaccination, mandating masks, minimizing food/beverage service, mitigating disruptive passengers, maximizing onboard ventilation and filtration, and establishing on-going sanitation protocols.
"There is no doubt that our country and the airline industry have the experience and resources to restore public confidence and return to the skies better than before," Nelson said.
Over 300 editorial workers at Insider announced Monday that they have formed a union with The NewsGuild of New York, TNG-CWA Local 31003. Staffers are organizing to increase transparency in company decision-making; to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity in hiring and retention; for a responsive and fair metrics system that supports professional success; as well as to build a collaborative environment that values their contributions and labor.
The workers have launched a TikTok channel as part of their organizing drive.
Workers at eyewear manufacturer Luxottica in McDonough, Ga., have begun organizing with IUE-CWA. While Luxottica may not be a household name, its well-known eyewear brands include Polo Ralph Lauren, Oakley, Ray-Ban, Coach, and many more.
On Thursday, April 15, workers involved in the organizing effort wore t-shirts showcasing international solidarity with Luxottica workers in Italy, who are members of Italian Federation of Chemical, Textile, Energy and Manufacturing Workers (FILCTEM).
More than 2,000 people work at the facility, which is the largest of the company's eyeglass manufacturing and distribution centers in North America. Workers are calling for improved COVID-19 safety measures, respect from management for Black workers, wages, and paid time off.
CWA Leaders Talk to Students About Building an Anti-Racist Union
On April 21, three leaders of CWA's Civil Rights and Equity Committee (CRE) and Women's Committee led a discussion with graduate students studying international workers' rights at Cornell and Pennsylvania State Universities about the challenges faced by frontline labor activists and organizers, who often find themselves fighting racism while building worker power.
National CRE Chair Fred Smith told the audience, "Organizing in the deep South around issues of racism has presented its challenges, but our members – both Black and White – are stepping up to the challenge and are having the tough conversations we need around racism."
CWA District 6 CRE member Reginald Small, who has facilitated CWA's Building an Anti-Racist Union training, urged the students – many of whom are union organizers themselves – to learn as much as possible about the issues. "Education is the key to change in our communities and in our union," he said. "Only by knowing our history can we prepare the next generation of CWA leaders."
All three leaders shared practical strategies and offered advice and encouragement. National Women's Committee Chair Natashia Pickens told the young people, "Don't stop organizing and don't stop fighting against the forces of oppression, even when it seems like the odds are stacked against you. Remain united and in community because together we are powerful!"
Members of Congress Demand Accountability for Violence Against Workers in the Philippines
To combat persistent, violent attacks on union organizers, faith leaders, dissidents, and working people in the Philippines, Congresswoman Susan Wild (D-Penn.) and a bipartisan group of 32 members of Congress are urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to "demand accountability and oversight" regarding U.S. assistance to the nation.
The brutality of President Rodrigo Duterte's regime shocked the world on March 7 when a raid by police and the military killed nine human rights defenders, including labor activist Emanuel Asuncion and advocates for homeless and indigenous people.
CWA members have long worked side-by-side with activists in the Philippines to raise standards for call center workers and fight abuses by international corporations. "We cannot stand by while Duterte kills labor activists one by one," said CWA's Senior Director for Government Affairs and Policy Shane Larson last fall as the fight to protect Filipino workers from surveillance, arrest, and violence intensified.
CWA strongly supports Wild's efforts as well as the Philippines Human Rights Act, which would protect working people by blocking U.S. funding for the Philippines police and military—including equipment and training—until human rights conditions improve.
For more on CWA's efforts to improve workers' rights and human rights in the Philippines, click here.
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Available
In order to ease the financial stress and burden caused for families who have lost loved ones to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Rescue Plan Act contains funds for COVID-19 related funeral expenses. These funds are being administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
For more information, visit www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance.