Jun 10, 2021 - Essential Workers are Essential to Our Democracy, and other news

June 10, 2021

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Essential Workers are Essential to Our Democracy

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Supporters of the For the People Act rallied on the steps of the Supreme Court yesterday to speak out about the necessity of passing the bill in order to realize the promise of our democracy.

The legislation, which has passed the House of Representatives and awaits action in the Senate, will get big money out of politics, ensure our freedom to vote, and guarantee that congressional districts are drawn to give fair representation for all.

CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens addressed the crowd. "As we continue rebuilding from this pandemic and the economic crisis that happened as a result, I want us all to take a moment to remember that it was working people who put their lives on the line every day to keep our grocery stores open, keep our hospitals operating, keep our internet connected, and to uphold our democracy through these last elections," Steffens said. "Now is the time to recognize that essential workers are essential to our democracy. That's what the For the People Act is all about: restoring power for working families in this country."

We need to let every member of the Senate know that working people want them to pass the For the People Act. Call your Senators at 1-855-790-7628.


CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens addressed the crowd at a rally yesterday in support of the For the People Act.


Republican Filibuster Blocks Paycheck Fairness Act

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Once again, a Republican filibuster has prevented the Paycheck Fairness Act from proceeding to a vote in the United States Senate.

The bill, which has overwhelming public support, would help eliminate the the gender pay gap by guaranteeing that women can challenge pay discrimination and disclose information about their wages. It also holds employers accountable by increasing penalties for violating equal pay laws.

Women on average still make only 82 cents for every dollar earned by men, and the gap is even wider for women of color. For a woman working full time year-round, the current wage gap represents a loss of more than $400,000 over the course of her career.


CWA-Endorsed Candidates Win in Virginia and New Jersey

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New Jersey and Virginia held primary elections this week for state and local offices.

In Virginia, Delegate Elizabeth Guzman defeated three democratic primary challengers in Virginia's 31st House of Delegates district. Del. Guzman, an AFSCME member, has been a leading voice on workers' issues in the Virginia legislature.

In contested democratic primary races in New Jersey Legislative District 20, CWA-endorsed candidates State Sen. Joe Cryan, Assemblyperson Annette Quijano, and Rev. Reginald Atkins notched convincing wins.

"CWA members have been out in force for over a month knocking on doors and making phone calls to voters in the 20th Legislative District because we know that Senator Cryan and Assemblywoman Quijano have always had our backs," said CWA New Jersey Director Fran Ehret. "They stood with us when public workers were under attack and they continue to be champions of pro-worker policies. We look forward to working with Senator Cryan, Assemblywoman Quijano, and Reverend Atkins to protect and preserve our members' pensions and advance the rights of all workers."


IUE-CWA Members Stand Up For Good Jobs in Wisconsin

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On June 4, members of IUE-CWA Local 84811 and allies rallied in Janesville, Wisc., to demand that local manufacturer Hufcor halt its plan to offshore 200 manufacturing jobs to Mexico. Hufcor is owned by OpenGate Capital, a private equity firm notorious for acquiring and then gutting companies across the country.

IUE-CWA members called out the company's race-to-the-bottom tactics, noting the devastating impact the closure would have on the Janesville community. Jesse Arndt, one of the workers whose job is on the line, is a father of four. "If they send our jobs to Mexico, OpenGate is impacting whole families, not just their employees," he said. "All to save a few bucks."

Local 84811 President Tom Casey called OpenGate's move a "heartless strategy" that puts profits above people. "We will do everything in our power to fight for these jobs. The closing of the Hufcor Janesville plant not only affects these employees, but also affects our local suppliers and businesses in the surrounding community."

Sign the petition calling on OpenGate Capital to keep good jobs in Wisconsin.


IUE-CWA members and allies rally to save jobs at Hufcor in Janesville, Wisc.


Tell the New York Times to Stop Union Busting

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In April, a strong majority of the tech workers at the New York Times announced that they wanted to form the Times Tech Guild with the NewsGuild of New York, TNG-CWA Local 31003. Instead of recognizing their union, Times management launched a union busting campaign.

Employees at the Times who work with interns have been told they cannot show public support for the union. Others have been forced to attend meetings in which supporters were interrogated and polled about their union support. The local has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

"Union busting is unacceptable in our workplace and in all workplaces. Tech workers know our rights. We will enforce them and we won't be intimidated," said organizing committee member Kathy Zhang. "We call on our supporters to help us hold the Times accountable to their own stated values."

Send a letter to New York Times CEO Merdith Levin telling her to stop union busting and recognize the Times Tech Guild: actionnetwork.org/letters/new-york-times-stop-union-busting.


CWA Members Build Skills to Advocate for Broadband Buildout and Good Jobs

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Last week, a group of CWA members participated in a multi-day "Build Broadband Better" training program to learn how to increase public support for proposals to fund broadband buildout.

The group discussed how public education, lobbying, and media attention can help ensure that high speed internet connections are built where they are most needed, that corporations are held accountable for providing high quality service, and that the funds support good, union jobs in our communities.

"I'm really excited to share what I have learned with other CWA members and people in my community," said CWA Local 6215 member Robin Johnson. "Telecom workers like us have real world experience. We need to be part of the discussion when legislators are creating these broadband buildout proposals. Otherwise the companies will focus on putting money into shareholders' pockets instead of investing in reliable service installed and supported by workers like us, who have the training and expertise to make sure the job is done right."


CWAers in Arizona Make the Case for the PRO Act

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CWA Local 7050 members joined over 100 other working people in Phoenix, Ariz., for a PRO Act town hall hosted by IUPAT and the Arizona State AFL-CIO. The PRO Act will make it easier for workers to join unions and give us more power to bargain strong contracts.

Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, who have not yet sponsored the PRO Act, were invited to the event to listen to workers from across all industries in Arizona share their stories about why we need to pass the bill, but did not attend.

Next week, union members and supporters will be making thousands of calls to educate voters in key states about the PRO Act. 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 www.mobilize.us/wfpower/event/393348, and don't forget to wear your CWA red!


CWA Local 7050 members Jeremiah Davis, Angel Wells, and Rasean Clayton attended a PRO Act town hall in Phoenix, Ariz., but Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly did not.


Join CWA's Juneteenth Celebration: Educate! Organize! Liberate!

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Join us on Saturday, June 19, for a virtual event to celebrate Juneteenth. This year's event will highlight Juneteenth's significance for the labor movement and the ongoing work CWAers have been engaged in over the past year to build an anti-racist union. We will be joined by CWA activists, artists, and special guests. This event will also center the need to protect our voting rights and reform our democracy by passing the For the People Act.

Tune in at: www.facebook.com/events/1095300170956162/.