It took almost a year, but 600 tech workers at the New York Times finally won their fight for union representation. They will join 1,300 editorial and business employees at the Times as members of the NewsGuild of New York (TNG-CWA Local 31003).
Times management opposed workers every step of the way, first by refusing their request for voluntary recognition, followed by engaging in illegal tactics to forbid union members from showing support for their union. The workers fought back by mobilizing and engaging in workplace actions, including a half-day walkout in protest of the company’s efforts to hinder a fair election.
The Times Tech Guild will be the largest union of tech workers with bargaining rights in the country. Their win represents a major milestone in CWA’s strategic campaign to support tech and game workers’ organizing through the CODE-CWA project. “It is essential that tech workers have a voice in their workplace,” said the Times Tech Guild organizing committee in a statement following the victory. “We look forward to working with management to win a strong contract that will not just ensure equity and respect for tech workers, but will also set industry standards across the board.”
New York Film and Television Post Production Workers
This week, members of the Post Production Guild-New York (CWA Local 1101), a group of over 150 freelance post production workers in New York organizing with CWA, filed for a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election. The workers took this step after the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the entertainment industry's official collective bargaining representative, repeatedly refused to voluntarily recognize the post production employees’ union, despite the fact that virtually all of the workers have signed cards in favor of joining CWA. Post production workers play a vital role in filmmaking by shepherding the process of turning thousands of hours of raw footage into a polished final product, including sound effects, color correction, music, visual effects, and other finished elements that moviegoers expect from the cinematic experience. Their campaign to have a union follows CWA’s successful organizing of nearly 600 Parking Production Assistants in New York who secured a precedent-setting contract that, for the first time, offered benefits for these workers. Read more here.
Workers at Verizon Wireless stores in Everett and Lynnwood, Wash., have formed a union with CWA and are seeking voluntary recognition from the company. The workers will also be filing an election petition with the National Labor Relations Board, should the company fail to recognize the union. The workers stand firm in their commitment to form a union and collectively work to implement their stated values, including respect, fair compensation, adequate staffing levels, a safe work environment, and health benefits.
Verizon Wireless workers are organizing to form a union with CWA.
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Workers at Mobilize, members of CWA Local 1101, have ratified a tentative agreement for a first contract that includes annual salary increases, just cause and layoff protections, recall rights, limits to contracting out bargaining work, increased paid parental leave, codification of the 40-hour work week, flexible scheduling, and more. Mobilize is a community-organizing app which is owned by political tech company EveryAction. The workers recently organized to form a union and won voluntary recognition, as part of the CODE-CWA’s effort to organize tech and game industry workers. The unit includes software engineers, sales representatives, and client support managers.
City Brewing Company
Workers at City Brewing Company in Latrobe, Penn., members of IUE-CWA Locals 88022 and 88144, took to the streets protesting against the company’s latest insulting proposal for a new contract. The contract was overwhelmingly rejected by the workers who cite seniority and overtime as the major issues that have placed them at odds with management. About 50 people, including members of CWA Locals 13000 and 13500 and other supporters, participated in the rally. City Brewery produces beers, teas, energy drinks, and soft drinks for a variety of small and large brands.
IUE-CWA members at City Brewing Company in Latrobe, Penn., participated in an informational picket for a fair contract.
As part of their fight for a fair contract, AT&T Mobility members are raising awareness about the problems at “authorized retail” stores that are not staffed by trained, experienced CWA members. Next week, members in 36 states, plus the District of Columbia, that are covered by the Orange contract, will be distributing leaflets that inform customers about the contract fight and the differences between authorized retail and union-staffed stores. The flyers also direct customers to visit cwa.org/attstore to locate a union-staffed store. Keep an eye on CWA’s social media accounts next week for posts that you can share to remind your friends and family members to always shop union!
Members of CWA Local 1298 got a head start this week informing AT&T Mobility customers about their contract fight and the difference between authorized retailers and union staffed stores.
Worker Power Update
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CWA Leaders Meet with President Biden Ahead of Upcoming Midterm Elections
CWA President Chris Shelton and AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson, along with other labor leaders, joined President Joe Biden on Saturday to discuss Biden's worker-focused agenda and the importance of the upcoming midterm elections. Watch highlights from the event here.
CODE-CWA Organizer Discusses Fair Labor Market Competition at White House Event
On Monday, Shannon Wait, an organizer with CWA Local 1400's Alphabet Workers Union (AWU-CWA), joined other workers and senior Biden-Harris Administration officials for a virtual roundtable to discuss the real-world effects of the lack of labor market competition. The event also highlighted the Administration’s efforts to promote competition, so that workers can bargain for higher pay and command dignity and respect in the workplace.
Wait, a former data technician at Google contractor Modis, referenced her experience at the data center to explain how giant corporations like Google are harming workers and the economy by increasingly using subcontractors like Modis to hire temporary workers without benefits and protections. Prior to becoming an organizer with AWU-CWA, Shannon was suspended for engaging in union activity. She was reinstated a week later after filing an Unfair Labor Practice complaint, with the support of CWA. In her response to a question from Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors Cecilia Rouse about the restrictions that nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) impose on workers, Wait said, “When I reach out to workers, through Alphabet Workers Union, sometimes they don't want to talk to me because they say, ‘I signed an NDA and that means that I can't talk to you about organizing.’ On the contrary, their rights to organize are protected by the federal government. And, I will not stop until every worker at Google understands that.”
The event was organized to roll out a new Biden-Harris Administration report entitled, “The State of Labor Market Competition in the U.S Economy.” The report cites corporate concentration, increased outsourcing, and the decline in union density as factors that negatively impact workers’ wages and working conditions. The findings will be used to shape initiatives and policy proposals to bolster labor market competition and increase workers’ bargaining power.
In his recent State of the Union address, President Biden said, “Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism. It’s exploitation.” CWA applauds the President for taking such a strong stance and will continue to support the Administration’s efforts to maximize fair labor market competition.
CWA’s Shannon Wait participated in a virtual roundtable with senior Biden-Harris Administration officials including Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, Chair of the Federal Trade Commission Lina Khan, and Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors Cecilia Rouse.
Taking Action for Good, Union Broadband Jobs
CWA members in New York have been mobilizing to ensure that state legislators include strong labor standards and a fiber preference for broadband funding in next year’s state budget. Governor Kathy Hochul’s (D-N.Y.) proposed budget includes $1.6 billion in funding for broadband. However, without any labor protections, this money could go to low-road contractors, often from out of state, who rush through jobs and compromise both worker safety and the quality of the networks. Public money should also prioritize fiber-based projects to make sure all New Yorkers, especially those from traditionally underserved communities, get the highest quality internet access.
Members of CWA Local 1102 joined members from other locals throughout New York for a phone bank and made hundreds of calls to CWAers throughout the state encouraging them to talk to their legislators about ensuring strong labor protections and equitable broadband buildout.
CWA Members Mark the Anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March
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CWA members from Alabama and Georgia attended the 57th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March in Selma, Ala., where they marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to honor the men and women who walked that same path 57 years ago to fight for the right to vote. Vice President Kamala Harris and the families of Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Lewis lead marchers across the bridge. Before the march began, Vice President Harris spoke to the participants stating, “Today, we stand on this bridge at a different time. We again, however, find ourselves caught in between. Between injustice and justice. Between disappointment and determination. Still in a fight to form a more perfect union, and nowhere is that more clear than when it comes to the ongoing fight to secure the freedom to vote.”
Members of CWA Local 3204 participated in a march on the 57th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March.
Free College Benefits for CWA Members
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The Union Plus Free College Benefit Team is holding two online info sessions so that union members and their families can learn more about the new degrees offered, the enrollment process, and the eligibility to earn a degree online for free. Register for one of the sessions today.
CWAers in New York and New Jersey participated in actions at Starbucks stores in support of the workers organizing for a union at the world’s largest coffeehouse chain. CWA Local 1104 members and other CWAers on Long Island, N.Y., joined a rally at a Starbucks store organized by the local chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW). CWAers in New Jersey participated in a sit-in and left messages of support on the community board at a Starbucks store in Pennington, N.J. In addition, the CWAers joined members of other unions and community allies by ordering drinks with various pro-union sayings such as “union yes,” “go union go,” “union strong,” “vote yes for union,” and more.
CWA Members in New Jersey left messages of support on the community board at a Starbucks store to show solidarity with the organizing workers.