CWA Local President Attends State of the Union Address
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Marc Ellis, President of CWA Local 9413 in Nevada, attended President Biden’s first State of the Union address virtually as the guest of U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.).
Rosen, a co-sponsor of the PRO Act, was instrumental in attaching high labor standard requirements to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s broadband funding. “Experienced, trained telecommunications workers – like the union members of Communications Workers of America Local 9413 – are going to play a critical role in building out and modernizing our broadband network in Northern Nevada and across the country, thanks to Senator Jacky Rosen’s work on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” Ellis said.
Biden’s address made it clear that empowering workers has been the foundation of his agenda to strengthen our country and highlighted the many ways that his administration has addressed the needs of working families in the first year of his presidency. He has already taken executive action to close loopholes in existing Made in America requirements. Funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will facilitate economic development by improving our transportation capacity and bringing high-speed internet connections to communities across the country, while creating good jobs in the industry.
Biden also pointed out the insufficiency of our current labor laws and called on Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. “When a majority of workers want to form a union – they shouldn’t be stopped,” said the President.
CWA Local 9413 President Marc Ellis and U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) in conversation about the bipartisan infrastructure law ahead of the State of the Union address.
Worker Power Update
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CWA Endorsed Candidates Win in Texas
CWA members and allies in Texas have been mobilizing to build support and turn out the vote for CWA-endorsed pro-worker candidates for the Texas primary elections, which were held on Tuesday.
In a large, sweeping victory, pro-worker Austin city council member Greg Casar won his race for Congressional District 35. Casar has raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour and authored the paid sick day law in Austin. He will continue to be a champion for workers' rights in Washington.
CWA-endorsed candidate Jessica Cisneros forced Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) into a run-off election in Congressional District 28 that is scheduled for May 24. CWA members are leading the push to hold Cuellar, a long-time, anti-worker Congressman who was the only Democrat to vote against the PRO Act, accountable. Cisneros is a proven workers’ rights champion, and CWAers in Texas will continue to support her until she successfully defeats Cuellar.
CWA-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke won the Democratic nomination for Governor. The weekend prior to the election, CWA, SEIU, and Workers United joined together to host a phone bank for O'Rourke at CWA Local 6222 in Houston. Over 60 people participated in the phone bank including O’Rourke himself, who spoke to the workers about the importance of having the backing of the labor movement and how working Texans are a priority for his campaign and the future of Texas. Click here for more election results for CWA & TX AFL-CIO endorsed candidates.
CWAers mobilized in Texas to support pro-worker candidates.
Calling Out GOP U.S. Senate Candidates in North Carolina
Last week, Grant Welch, CWA Legislative and Political Campaign Lead in North Carolina, participated in a press conference calling out GOP U.S. Senate candidates for misguided priorities ahead of their first primary debate.
“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is so important to union members and working people across North Carolina. That’s why it is so egregious that every single GOP U.S. Senate candidate opposed it. North Carolinians deserve an explanation from that stage of candidates tomorrow. Politicians who abandon North Carolina workers for their own gain have no place representing us, and certainly not someone who doesn’t even have the courage to show up,” said Grant Welch.
President Biden’s Nominee for the Supreme Court Will be a Strong Voice for Workers
CWA applauds President Biden’s historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court. By nominating Judge Jackson, President Biden is fulfilling his campaign promises to protect workers’ rights and to ensure that the Supreme Court is representative of the makeup and lived experiences of the American people. As the first Black woman to be nominated for the nation’s highest court, she brings much needed diversity that is severely lacking in our entire justice system.
Judge Jackson has a proven track record of defending the rights of working people over corporations and powerful special interests. Notably, Judge Jackson issued a ruling in 2018 blocking former president Donald Trump’s improper Executive Orders limiting federal employees’ rights to collectively bargain and engage with union representatives. More recently, as a federal appellate judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Judge Jackson defended the rights of government workers against the Federal Labor Relations Agency’s attempt to implement workplace changes outside of the collective bargaining process.
Supporting Federal Contractors’ Rights to Organize
CWA members in District 3 met with Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) (second from right) to discuss how Congress and the federal government can support Maximus federal contractors organizing with CWA for a voice on the job. During the meeting, the Congressman expressed his interest in supporting the workers' organizing efforts.
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AT&T Mobility and DirecTV (Orange)
The AT&T Mobility Orange bargaining team reached agreement on a second three-week extension to continue negotiations for a fair contract. While there has been some progress, AT&T has not met CWA’s reasonable demands on healthcare, scheduling, compensation, and more. Notably, the company continues to offer proposals that could lead to skyrocketing health care costs with a devastating economic impact for people who get sick and need benefits the most.
At DirecTV, bargaining continues under a 72-hour rolling contract extension as members at call centers in Eden Prairie, Minn.; Huntington, W.Va.; and Englewood, Colo., mobilize to show the company that they won’t back down.
AT&T Mobility and DirecTV workers are mobilizing to strengthen their power at the bargaining table and improve their working conditions. Over the last few weeks, members have participated in workplace actions, rallies, and online actions to demand fair contracts.
CWA members at Frontier Communications in Connecticut (CWA Local 1298) and New York (CWA Locals 1170, 1111, and 1122) voted to ratify their new 3-year contract by a large margin. The contract 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. Throughout the bargaining process, members actively mobilized by writing emails, participating in rallies, engaging members of the public and elected officials, and preparing to strike for a fair contract.
Frontier Communications members in California rejected a tentative agreement reached with the company in January. Bargaining committee members have met with local presidents to discuss key issues and they are currently in communication with Frontier to resume contract negotiations.
AFA-CWA Flight Attendants at Piedmont Airlines voted to ratify a new contract. The four-year agreement provides substantial wage increases, a signing bonus, no cuts to their high-quality healthcare program, and meaningful work rule improvements. The contract follows months of bargaining, mobilizing, and an historic unanimous strike authorization vote by Piedmont Flight Attendants in October 2021.
“This contract will make an immediate difference in our lives at Piedmont,” said AFA-CWA Local 22061 President Keturah Johnson. “We work hard as aviation's first responders and deserve to be recognized within American Airlines Group. This contract provides real improvements overnight and throughout the length of the contract. As we work with Piedmont to get this contract fully implemented, we will also organize with Flight Attendants across our industry to negotiate for continued improvements that reflect the value we bring to our airlines.”
Cleveland Division of Emergency Medical Service
Workers at the Division of Emergency Medical Service in Cleveland, Ohio, members of CWA Local 4340, held an informational picket on Monday outside of city hall to draw attention to a contract dispute that has held up raises and benefits increases. The workers called on city officials to honor contract terms that have been tied up in a legal fight for years.
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Last week, workers at the Charlotte Observer announced that an overwhelming majority of eligible staff have signed cards declaring their desire to join the Washington-Baltimore News Guild (TNG-CWA Local 32035). The workers are asking for voluntary recognition from the company so they can begin bargaining for a contract that will ensure a diverse, strong, committed newsroom.
On Monday, graduate student workers at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences announced that a supermajority of workers have signed cards indicating their desire to form a union with CWA. Their union, Fordham Graduate Student Workers (FGSW), is seeking voluntary recognition from university management in order to begin bargaining a fair contract that will create a formal grievance structure, raise workers’ pay, secure affordable healthcare, ensure paid leave and reasonable accommodations for parents and caretakers, cut burdensome student fees, and establish protections for international students. The union has also filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board should university management refuse to voluntarily recognize the union.
Fordham university graduate student workers held an event to deliver a letter demanding recognition to President Fr. Joseph McShane’s office.
AFA-CWA Frontier Flight Attendants Fight for a Humane, Compassionate Sick Leave Policy
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Last week, AFA-CWA Frontier Flight Attendants picketed and leafleted at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Nev., to protest Frontier management's heavy-handed change to their sick leave policy. Workers called out management's move to make a stringent policy more severe in a global pandemic as ruthless and demand a sick leave policy that recognizes the realities of flying in a pandemic. Sign their online petition here.
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The February 24, 2022 eNewsletter bargaining update on Kaleida Health health misidentified the unit that reached a tentative agreement with the hospital. It should have read:
“Clinical Engineering Department employees at Kaleida Health (CWA Local 1168) in Buffalo, N.Y., have reached a tentative agreement. The new tentative agreement, which covers a unit of biomedical engineers at Kaleida Health, provides meaningful raises over the course of the agreement.”