Jun 3, 2021 - Big Wins on Wages, and other news

June 3, 2021

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Building Support for the PRO Act One Call at a Time

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President Joe Biden has made the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act a key part of his agenda. He knows that making it easier for workers to join unions and giving us more power to bargain strong contracts will help restore the middle class.

It's up to us to make sure that working people across the country know about the PRO Act and contact their Senators to demand that they support the bill. During the week of June 14, union members and supporters will be making thousands of calls to educate voters in key states about the bill. CWA members, retirees, friends, and family members will be staffing the lines on Thursday, June 17. Learn more and sign up for a shift at https://www.mobilize.us/wfpower/event/393348, and don't forget to wear your CWA red!


IUE-CWA members contacted their Senators this week to build support for the PRO Act.


Bargaining Update

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Alaska Airlines

Members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA at Alaska Airlines have secured a one-year contract extension with pay raises and caps on healthcare costs. The extension, which provides a full-scale increase of 1.5% to step rates of pay, will allow Flight Attendants to resume bargaining later, when the airline has fully recovered from disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Members of CWA Local 7000 in Tucson Win Largest Ever Pay Raise

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On May 4, more than 1,000 members of CWA Local 7000 who work for the city of Tucson, Ariz., won a new compensation package that raised wages to fair market levels for the first time. This is the largest boost in pay ever for the city's employees. All city workers, including court personnel, Section 8 housing representatives and inspectors, 911 call center workers and dispatchers, and civilians serving with police will now make a minimum of $15 per hour.

COVID-19 restrictions were a challenge, but members, officers, and stewards mobilized in a big way, contacting the mayor and city councilors by telephone and via online meetings. Linda Hatfield, president of CWA Local 7000, acknowledged the hard work of members, whose voices were finally heard in city hall. She praised Tucson Mayor Regina Romero for listening to workers and for supporting a serious compensation study that showed more than 80% of the city's employees are paid far below market rates. "This type of wage adjustment is long overdue," said Hatfield. "It has been a good year so far!"


United Campus Workers at University of Kentucky Win $15 Minimum Wage

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Members of the United Campus Workers at the University of Kentucky (UCW-CWA Local 3365) have been fighting for a living wage, paid parental leave for staff, hazard pay for essential workers, and more for over a year. On May 20, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto announced a commitment to increase minimum hourly pay to $15 beginning January 1, 2022. Members also won new paid family leave options, a merit increase, a one-time $1,000 payment to regular employees, and resumption of the employer retirement contribution which had been suspended during the pandemic.

The lowest-paid workers on campus will see a significant pay increase. They include custodians and other facilities workers who have been on the front lines, keeping campus open and clean during the COVID-19 crisis. Cory Pollard, a custodial worker at UK for 5 years and a UCW-CWA Local 3365 steward, said, "We are pleased about the pay increase to $15 an hour. We have fought this past year and a half for President Capilouto to listen to us. It's a very big victory, a turn in the right direction."

"This is a fantastic start, but it is not enough," said graduate worker Abi Stephens. "Even with this change, too many workers are unable to live on the pay they receive at UK. Graduate student workers need stipends that provide a living wage, and undergraduate workers deserve to earn at least $15 per hour. We need fair compensation for our contributions to this campus."


CWA Sues West Virginia Over Public Workers' Rights

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CWA District 2-13 and CWA Locals 2019, 2001, and 2055 joined the West Virginia AFL-CIO and seven other unions representing public workers in West Virginia in a lawsuit against West Virginia's billionaire Gov. Jim Justice over a state law that bans automatic dues deduction from public employees' paychecks. According to the lawsuit, filed on May 20, the so-called Paycheck Protection Act violates the state's constitution and workers' right to free speech.

"This law is a sham; it's not about protecting workers' paychecks," said CWA Local 2055 President Matthew Brock. "It's about gutting our unions and depriving us of our voice on the job. I'm proud that my union is standing up to Governor Justice and the state legislature to protect our rights at work."

Currently, no federal law protects the freedom of state and local public service workers to join a union and bargain collectively. The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act (PSFNA) is part of CWA's agenda to build worker power in 2021 and beyond. The PSFNA would guarantee public service workers the right to a voice on the job, including the right to use voluntary payroll deductions for dues.


Organizing Update

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San Manuel Resort and Casino

Members of CWA Local 9400 have successfully executed a Memorandum of Agreement with San Manuel Resort and Casino in Highland, Calif. The agreement ensures that all new hires will be members of CWA Local 9400. The employer plans to hire as many as 1,600 new workers as part of an upcoming expansion.

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Norse Atlantic Airways

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and Norse Atlantic Airways have agreed to a groundbreaking pre-hire agreement for U.S.-based Flight Attendant jobs at the new low-cost, long-haul start up airline. Norse expects to create a minimum of 700 Flight Attendant jobs in the U.S. The full contract, subject to ratification after certification that a majority of the Flight Attendants want union representation, includes industry-leading starting pay and job protections, healthcare, and a 401k among other key benefits.

"This is what respect for workers and our unions looks like," said AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson. "We are proud to provide a path of return to work for AFA members who flew in a similar long-haul, low-cost operation. . . Norse management is taking a refreshing approach to labor relations and demonstrating that the success of a business starts with good jobs. We are thrilled to announce this historic agreement and we look forward to getting people to work as soon as possible."


We Can Do This

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Unions and community groups across the United States are joining together in a month-long mobilization to make sure as many people as possible receive at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot by July 4th.

The "We Can Do This" campaign kicks off this weekend with virtual and in-person events to encourage people to get vaccinated and help them make appointments and reach vaccination sites.

Want to get involved? Find an event near you at www.mobilize.us/madetosave.

The FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccinations available in the United States are safe and effective. Getting a vaccine greatly reduces the risk that you will develop COVID-19. The vaccines prevent nearly 100% of the hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19.

Not yet vaccinated? Find a vaccination location near you at vaccines.gov.