Jan 20, 2022 - CWA President Chris Shelton Named to Telecommunications Interagency Working Group and other news

January 20, 2022

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Bargaining Update

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Frontier Communications

After months of bargaining, mobilizing, and the threat of a strike, CWA members at Frontier Communications in Connecticut (CWA Local 1298) and New York (CWA Locals 1170, 1111, and 1122) reached a tentative agreement on Monday. The new 3-year agreement includes wage increases, elimination of two-tier medical plans, and protection of call center jobs, and it retains the current 401(k) matching and pension plans. This win follows a tentative agreement reached by Frontier members in California last week. The members wrote thousands of emails to Frontier executives, participated in countless rallies, and engaged members of the public and elected officials. These agreements are reflective of the power the members generated by actively mobilizing and fueling the strength of their bargaining committees.

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Dish Network

Last week, after a long organizing battle and bargaining that spanned over a decade, workers at Dish Network (CWA Local 6171) ratified their first contract, becoming the first group of workers in the country to successfully negotiate a contract at Dish. This is a major victory for CWA and other Dish workers around the country who are fighting for a voice on the job.

The new 2-year agreement covers network technicians and warehouse employees and includes promotions for all technicians who have completed 12 months of service at their current Tech Level, modified requirements for promotions by eliminating the need for quality assurance inspections and safety inspections, up to two hours off on work days for workers to vote during elections, just cause language, a grievance procedure, wage increases, improved working conditions, and more.

The workers have been bargaining for a first contract since 2010. Throughout this long battle for a voice on the job, they withstood countless attacks from the company including an anti-union campaign, several NLRB court fights, illegal firings and intimidation of workers in retaliation for their efforts to gain a fair contract, and more. The company went as far as attempting to decertify the union at two separate times during the negotiations. Both were defeated by the workers who voted to keep their CWA representation.

This win is a testament to the passion and determination of the leadership and staff of CWA District 6, CWA Local 6171 President Travis Pirotte, and the members who together held rallies, leafleated, engaged members of the public to put pressure on their employer, and never backed down from the fight.

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New York Magazine

After more than two years of negotiations, workers at New York Magazine, members of the NewsGuild of New York (TNG-CWA Local 31003), have reached a tentative agreement on their first contract. The framework includes a $60,000 salary floor, raises of over $20,000, guaranteed annual raises, and more.

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Park City Mountain Ski Resort

Last week, workers at the Park City Mountain Ski Resort reached a tentative agreement after months of bargaining. During negotiations, the workers held several rallies to inform the public and put pressure on their employer to deal more favorably with the union. When the workers felt like a strike was imminent, they reached out to their community and began a solidarity fund. The group raised over $100,000. This demonstration of community support invigorated the members and put pressure on the employer to negotiate a fair contract.

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Piedmont Airlines

After months of bargaining, mobilizing, a strike vote approved by a 100 percent of the members, and a successful public pressure campaign, AFA-CWA Flight Attendants at Piedmont Airlines reached a tentative agreement last week. Highlights of the new agreement include signing bonuses, substantial pay increases, a series of work rule improvements, and retention of the members’ healthcare plans.

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ABC

Over the last four months, NABET-CWA’s Network Negotiating Committee (NNC) has been participating in multiple rounds of negotiations with ABC for a fair contract. However, the company keeps responding largely with indifference to the members’ demands. ABC rejected a packaged proposal by the NNC that would have given the company considerable scheduling flexibility in exchange for increased scheduling protections for daily hires. Even with the additional burden members are facing because of the pandemic, ABC’s proposals provide less job security, less rest, stagnating compensation, and vague future job opportunities. The bargaining committee has heard the members’ demands loud and clear and has incorporated them into their proposals. They are determined to keep fighting at the bargaining table for what the members deserve.

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Middlesex County Board of Social Services


Last Wednesday, workers at the Middlesex County Board of Social Services in New Jersey (CWA Local 1032) and supporters took to the streets despite the frigid temperatures to demand health and safety protections from COVID and a good contract.


Organizing Update

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Outside Magazine

Workers at Outside Magazine announced earlier this month that they are forming a union. An overwhelming majority of the workers support the union and they are asking the Company to voluntarily recognize their unit. They will become part of the Denver News Guild (TNG-CWA Local 37074).


CWAers Celebrate the 27th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

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Honoring MLK by Fighting for the Passage of the Freedom to Vote Act and Ending the Filibuster

Activists in Houston participated in an MLK day rally organized by Martin Luther King III and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) to demand the passage of the Freedom to Vote Act and ending the filibuster. CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings Jr. spoke at the rally about the need to protect our democracy and advance voting rights and also served as a co-Grand Marshall of Houston’s MLK Jr. Parade and Festival.


CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings Jr. speaking at an MLK day rally in Houston about the need to end the filibuster and protect our voting rights.

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MLK for All at Lumen Technologies

CWA members and workers at Lumen Technologies commemorated this year’s MLK holiday by fighting against the company’s discriminatory policy giving non-union workers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid day off while requiring over 5,000 union members to work on the federal holiday. The company first instituted this policy last year in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. CWA members accused Lumen of corporate “woke-washing” and using MLK Day to hurt union workers. On Monday, members and supporters protested this policy at Lumen Technologies headquarters in Denver. In addition, workers participated in a virtual webinar hosted by Workers United Against Racism at Lumen.

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United Campus Workers MLK Day Live Stream


CWA Public, Healthcare and Education Workers Vice President Margaret Cook (bottom left) joined members of the United Campus Workers of Tennessee (CWA Local 3865) on Facebook Live for the local's Martin Luther King Jr. Day Organizing Awards presentation. Dr. King "believed that democracy must be real, in every part of our lives, if we are going to live with dignity and in freedom." Cook said in her keynote speech. "That meant not just the kind of democracy that is so egregiously under attack today...it meant democracy in that place that has the least democracy of all in this country. Democracy at work."


Worker Power Update

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Republicans Say No to Voters and to Democracy

Yesterday Senate Republicans blocked critical voting rights bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, with the help of filibuster rules.

The Freedom to Vote Act would give all voters access to early voting, make election day a national holiday, ban partisan gerrymandering, prohibit voter intimidation, and make many more common sense changes.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act restores important parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Every previous renewal of the Voting Rights Act was signed into law by a Republican president.

A minority of the members of the Senate, who represent an even smaller minority of the American population, should not be able to stand between voters and the ballot box. The legacy of Jim Crow and the white supremacist campaign to disenfranchise Black Americans remains with us in the form of the filibuster.

As Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) said at the conclusion of his stirring speech near the end of over 10 hours of debate on the legislation, the fight is not over. “History is watching us. Our children are counting on us. And I hope that we will have the courage to do what is right for our communities and for our country—the courage to cross this bridge, to do the hard work in this defining moral moment in America for the sake of the communities that sent us here in the first place, for the sake of the planet, for the sake of health care, for the sake of jobs, for the sake of being able to argue for the things that we care about. The courage to fight for one another. I’m still praying that we will cross that bridge. But if not tonight, we will come back again and again and again.”


CWA President Chris Shelton Named to Telecommunications Interagency Working Group

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CWA President Chris Shelton has been named by Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh as the labor organization representative on the 12-person Telecommunications Interagency Working Group (TIWG). The TIWG was established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to develop recommendations to address the workforce needs of the telecommunications industry as part of the Act’s historic investments in broadband.

“I appreciate the opportunity that Secretary Walsh has given me to represent workers in the telecommunications industry as a member of the Telecommunications Interagency Working Group,” Shelton said. “Fulfilling the Biden administration’s commitment to bringing high speed broadband to all Americans requires a well-trained workforce and jobs that promise careers -- not just short-term employment. I will be drawing on the firsthand experience of the tens of thousands of CWA members who work in the telecommunications industry, as well as those who have lost their jobs due to downsizing and are eager to return to the field.”

Secretary Walsh also named Kathy Gill, founder of Tower Safety, and Jim Simpson, Director of Installer-Technician (Telecommunications) at the Electrical Training ALLIANCE, to the Working Group. Workers at Tower Safety recently won voluntary recognition from management and joined CWA. In addition, Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel nominated Kristi Westbrock, CEO/General Manager of Consolidated Telecommunications Company in Minnesota, as the rural telecommunications carrier representative. Workers at Consolidated Telecommunications are represented by CWA.

Read more here.


CWA Applauds Federal Indictments in Airport Assault Case and Calls for More Enforcement of Laws Against Passenger Service Assault

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Last week’s announcement that three Delta Air Lines passengers face federal charges for allegedly assaulting an airline security officer and gate agent is welcome news to airport workers who have faced increased physical and verbal abuse while on the job.

During the pandemic, agents have added to their list of duties, enforcing federal mask requirements and securing access to the aircraft from aggressive, often physically violent passengers. Alcohol consumption is often a contributing factor in passenger assaults.

“We are aggressively addressing this emerging threat and take all cases seriously,” said FBI New York Field Office Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael J. Driscoll.

“These types of incidents are all too common, but until now federal enforcement of laws against assaulting airport customer service representatives and gate agents has been rare,” said Richard Honeycutt, Vice President of CWA District 3 and Chair of CWA's Passenger Service Airline Council. “Assistant Director Driscoll’s comments are encouraging. We are hopeful that this represents a new commitment by the Department of Justice to providing clear guidance and support for airport police departments and local law enforcement agencies in responding to these violent attacks.”

CWA represents more than 20,000 passenger service agents who work for American Airlines and its wholly owned subsidiaries, Envoy Air and Piedmont Airlines. They are responsible for assisting passengers and keeping air travel on schedule and safe, despite working in constant fear of retaliation from disgruntled passengers. In a recent internal survey, 230 passenger service agents reported experiencing varying degrees of physical and verbal aggression. Across the responses, agents report these passengers are rarely held accountable when they threaten employees or endanger other passengers.

Read More here.