Sep 30, 2021 - Free Training Program for CWA Members and other news

September 30, 2021

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CWA Leaders Build Power at the 2021 Minority Leadership Institute

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Last Friday, CWA leaders from across the union graduated from the 2021 CWA Minority Leadership Institute (MLI), held virtually for the second year in a row. The MLI program was established 30 years ago to promote the involvement of members of color and women at every level of our union. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, eleven CWA leaders came together for a two-week program to sharpen their skills in public speaking, organizing, mobilizing, collective bargaining, handling grievances, legislative advocacy, and building solidarity. Participants engaged in intensive dialogue about race, racism, and fighting against systemic injustices. Participants also spent time discussing and sharing experiences about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on workers.

Past MLI graduates, CWA staff, and guest speakers led training sessions. CWA President Chris Shelton and CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens held a discussion session with the participants on union activism. Members of CWA's Executive Board attended the virtual MLI graduation ceremony, where the participants shared their thoughts about the training program and their plans for the future.

Read more about their experiences here.


The CWA MLI Class of 2021.


Organizing Update

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National Audubon Society

Last week, after a year-long campaign, an overwhelming majority of workers at the National Audubon Society voted in favor of forming a union in an NLRB supervised election. The unit of over 130 workers includes graphic designers, editors, data specialists, IT professionals, grant specialists, program managers, researchers, and others and will be part of CWA Local 1180 in New York.

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Luxottica Group


Last Thursday, workers at Luxottica, the world's largest company in the eyewear industry, held signs outside the Luxottica manufacturing and distribution center in McDonough, Ga. The workers, who are organizing with IUE-CWA, plan to ramp up their mobilization efforts to win union recognition.


Bargaining Update

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Beneficial State Bank

Employees at the Beneficial State Bank ratified their first contract, the first in 40 years in the banking industry. The 96 workers in the bargaining unit are spread across Washington, Oregon, and California and include bankers, consumer loan servicing representatives, loan processors, underwriters, file clerks, and custodial staff. Members of the Committee for Better Banks, a CWA project, initiated the organizing efforts at Beneficial State Bank and bank workers are leading campaigns to improve working conditions across all the major U.S. banks. This contract sets a great example for others to follow.

Read more here.

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Frontier Communications – Connecticut

Bargaining with Frontier Communications in Connecticut opened earlier this month with overwhelming support from members all across the state. CWA represents close to 1,700 Frontier workers in Connecticut who have been providing essential services and kept communities connected even through a global pandemic. The company’s recent emergence out of bankruptcy provides a great opportunity for Frontier to put its workers first, bargain in good faith, and become a top provider in the industry. CWA members are committed to stay strong through the bargaining process and secure a fair contract. For bargaining updates, please check out the CWA Local 1298 website.


CWA Members Making their Voices Heard in Congress

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The Future of Banking: How Consolidation, Nonbank Competition, and Technology are Reshaping the Banking System

On Wednesday, Beneficial State Bank employee and leader with the Committee for Better Banks (CBB) Desiree Jackson, a member of CWA Local 9412, endorsed the Financial Services Worker Bill of Rights Act at a House Committee on Financial Services hearing titled, “The Future of Banking: How Consolidation, Nonbank Competition, and Technology are Reshaping the Banking System.” The bill, which would make it easier for bank workers to join a union, among other benefits, was introduced by Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) Wednesday – the same day that Jackson and her colleagues at Beneficial State announced the ratification of their union contract, the first in the banking industry in 40 years. Jackson’s testimony can be found HERE. Read more here.

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The Interconnected Economy: The Effects of Globalization on US Economic Disparity

On Tuesday, Kendra Williams, a member of CWA Local 6215, testified before the House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth at a hearing entitled, “The Interconnected Economy: The Effects of Globalization on US Economic Disparity.” Kendra is an activist and leader who has been involved in CWA’s campaign to build international solidarity with workers across the globe. In her testimony, she shared her experience with downsizing, offshoring, and layoffs at the call center she works in and how that has impacted the workers and the community at large.


Leading the Charge for Worker Safety Against Unruly Airline Passengers

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Last Thursday, AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation in a hearing titled, “Disruption in the Skies: The Surge in Air Rage and its Effects on Workers, Airlines, and Airports.” President Nelson’s testimony centered on the challenges frontline workers including Flight Attendants, passenger service agents, and ground service workers are facing from unruly passengers.

There has been a staggering increase in the number of incidents involving unruly and disruptive passengers in the last year, presenting a major threat to the safety and lives of the workers and passengers. “This is not a ‘new normal’ we can accept. We know the government, airlines, airports, and all stakeholders can take actions together to keep us safe and flying friendly.” said Nelson.

Donielle Prophete, President of CWA Local 3645, also submitted written testimony for the record to the subcommittee on the shared experiences of passenger service agents at Piedmont, American's regional subsidiary. Prophete’s testimony covers the impact of the overlapping pressures of assaults and operational challenges like severe understaffing across airports.

The hearing was followed by a meeting on Monday between members of CWA and AFA-CWA leadership and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to raise concerns about the safety risk unruly passengers pose and urge the FAA to take immediate action.


Worker Power Update

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Florida

Last Friday, CWA activists in Florida joined other union members and activists to rally in front of Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s (D-Fla.) Orlando office, calling on her to support President Biden’s Build Back Better bill in Congress. The group had an appointment to meet with Rep. Murphy’s staff and deliver a letter asking for the representative's support on the bill. However, upon entering the office building the delegation was stopped by security, the police were called, and Rep. Murphy’s staff refused to meet with the activists. CWA members and the labor movement of Central Florida will continue to engage Representative Murphy on this important bill until she stands with the working people of her district.


CWA members in Florida rally outside of Rep. Murphy’s office to build support for the Build Back Better Act.

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Virginia


Last Wednesday, almost 40 volunteers, including members of the CWA Executive Board, participated in a national phone bank to encourage voters to support Terry McAuliffe in the upcoming Virginia Gubernatorial election. They made over 2,000 phone calls and reached almost 200 voters, an overwhelming majority of whom made a commitment to support McAuliffe.

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CWA Promoting the PRO Act at the Pitchfork Economics Podcast

Last Friday, Shane Larson, CWA Senior Director of Government Affairs and Policy, joined the Pitchfork Economics Podcast, a progressive policy-centered podcast that focuses on power structures and how we break them down in American economics, politics, and public policy. During his interview, Shane explained why right-to-work laws are harmful, how they came to be, and why it’s so important to pass the PRO Act to fight for workers’ rights. Listen to the full interview here.


It’s Time for GE to Bring Jobs Home

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IUE-CWA members, along with a coalition of labor, environmental, trade, and veterans groups, launched a national campaign last week calling on General Electric to reinvest in domestic manufacturing jobs in green energy and military and commercial aviation.

The campaign includes powerful television and digital advertisements featuring IUE-CWA members and highlighting the impacts of GE’s offshoring of defense contracted work and the environmental impacts of GE’s expanding global supply chain.

"A generation of workers in the United States has been betrayed by the relentless outsourcing and offshoring of what once were family-supporting, middle class jobs," said CWA president Chris Shelton in a statement about the campaign launch. “GE is an iconic American company. It has dozens of manufacturing facilities with excess capacity that can be put to use rebuilding our communities and our country."

“GE has the chance to once again be a leader in American manufacturing – by bringing jobs back to American factories,” added IUE-CWA Industrial Division President Carl Kennebrew. We are calling on GE to do the right thing, and invest in the American factories that fueled their past success. Our workers are highly trained, and stand ready to be a part of the future of American manufacturing – we hope GE will seize this opportunity.”


IUE-CWA members across the country held a Bring It Home GE day of action last week calling on the company to stop offshoring, and to invest and to increase jobs at their manufacturing facilities.


Training Program Funds Courses for CWA Telecom Workers with No Prepaid Benefits

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Several CWA Districts have allocated funds in a special CWA/NETT program for training at no cost for members who work telecommunication or communications. Over the past year, more than 1,200 members have taken advantage of this program. In CWA District 2-13 alone, more than 65 members have earned industry recognized certifications. This program is specifically targeted towards AT&T Mobility, Small Independent Telecoms, Home Security and others that do not offer prepaid benefits. We encourage all eligible members to participate in this program. Please visit www.cwanett.org/engage for eligibility and more information.