Federal Contractors Organizing with CWA Strike Against Maximus
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Yesterday, call center workers at federal contractor Maximus, who answer Medicare and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace lines, went on strike for the first time in history on the 12th anniversary of the passage of the ACA. The striking workers at Maximus’ call centers in Bogalusa, La., and Hattiesburg, Miss., are fighting for livable wages, paid sick leave, and the freedom to organize a union without interference. Check out our live streams from Bogalusa and Hattiesburg.
In conjunction with the strike action, workers across the country hosted a virtual town hall to discuss the impacts of Maximus’ policies and practices on its workforce and steps the company must take to ensure justice and fairness for its employees. CWA President Chris Shelton and Reverend William Barber, along with other community leaders, participated in the town hall. Watch the recording from our virtual town hall here.
“Maximus is one of the largest federal contractors, but the company’s treatment of workers and anti-union practices absolutely do not align with the [Biden] Administration's commitment to workers,” said President Shelton. “This fight is also a fight for racial justice. Black women and other people of color make up the majority of workers at these call centers. Federal contractors like Maximus cannot talk the talk of equity and inclusion while continuing to underpay and disrespect Maximus’ workers.”
The workers have begun returning to work today and will deliver a letter of support signed by over 12,000 supporters to Maximus management letting them know that the community has their back.
Maximus workers organizing with CWA on strike for justice.
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Flight Attendants at Eastern Airlines filed for a union representation election with the National Mediation Board (NMB) after an overwhelming majority of them signed authorization cards in support of joining AFA-CWA. Eastern Airlines, formerly Dynamic International Airways, operates as a scheduled carrier employing 65 U.S.-based and 35 internationally-based Flight Attendants in Miami, New York, Ecuador, Guyana, and Venezuela. Eastern Flight Attendants are organizing for a voice on the job, safety, humane duty and rest rules, adequate pay, and healthcare. Watch this video to hear why they are fighting for a union.
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CWA members at Frontier Communications in California are bargaining for a new contract after a previous deal was rejected by the membership. During last week’s bargaining session, the bargaining team emphasized the workers’ overwhelming rejection of the previous tentative agreement and called on the company to get serious and hear the workers’ concerns on job security, healthcare, grievances, work from home conditions, and more. The members are ramping up their mobilization to strengthen their power at the bargaining table. Last Saturday the workers and supporters rallied to send a clear message to Frontier: “We aren’t going anywhere until we get a fair contract.”
Workers at Meow Wolf, an interactive arts and experience company in Santa Fe, N.M., have reached a tentative agreement for a first contract after over a year of negotiations. The agreement for a new four-year contract includes immediate and significant wage increases, guaranteed minimum salary increases every year, overtime for salaried workers, doubled parental leave and other benefits for working parents, guaranteed rest periods, just cause protections, and more. The workers hope this contract will be influential company-wide and set a new precedent for workers in creative industries everywhere.
AT&T Mobility and DirecTV (Orange)
The AT&T Mobility and DirecTV Orange bargaining teams are continuing negotiations for fair contracts. While there has been some movement in the right direction, CWA and the company remain far apart on several key issues on the table. The company continues to make inadequate offers on healthcare benefits that would put more financial burden on workers.
Members covered by the contracts have been mobilizing to increase their bargaining power and build solidarity. Workers have been holding workplace actions, displaying signs that send a clear message to AT&T: "Keep your hands off our healthcare!"
AT&T Mobility members held a week of action to raise awareness about the importance of shopping at stores that are staffed by trained, experienced CWA members. They distributed “Buyer Beware” 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.
DirecTV workers in Huntington, W.Va., have also been engaging in workplace actions. Those who work from home changed their internal messaging system’s font to red and displayed other pro-union messages. Additionally, the DirecTV workers participated in social media actions and wore DirecTV hoodies customized with a message to the company: “I don’t need a hoodie, I need a fair contract.”
AT&T Mobility workers held a week of action distributing leaflets to educate the public about the contract fight and the differences between authorized retail and union-staffed stores.
Worker Power Update
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Fighting for a for Supreme Court that Represents Us All
Last week, CWAers and other union members across the country participated in a day of action in support of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court. CWA members called and emailed their Senators asking them to confirm Judge Jackson, a qualified, fair minded jurist with a proven track record of defending the rights of working people over corporations and powerful special interests. If confirmed, she would be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court.
Click here to call your Senators today and tell them that we need a justice like Judge Jackson who cares about fairness and won’t side with our bosses.
We will also be holding a national phone bank on Wednesday, March 30th, at 6pm EDT, to encourage members to call their Senators. Click here to register and build support for a Supreme Court that represents us all.
IUE-CWA Members Rally to Save Jobs
More than 50 workers from GE Lighting’s Bucyrus plant in Ohio traveled to Columbus to rally outside Republican Senator Rob Portman’s office and call on him to help keep their plant open and protect good jobs in their state. GE Lighting intends to shut down the plant, a move that will eliminate close to 200 good, union jobs and have a devastating impact on workers and their families as well as the local economy.
The same week that GE Lighting announced the shut down, Republicans in the Senate torpedoed a Buy American Light Bulb amendment that could have protected those jobs. The amendment had previously passed a House committee with a unanimous bipartisan vote.
Will Evans, President of IUE-CWA Local 84704, called on Sen. Portman to support Ohio workers by supporting the legislation.
“Senator Portman, it’s not too late to act now by supporting Buy American Light Bulb legislation in the U.S. Senate, so this time, with by-partisan support, it passes. Please do this now and show that you stand with us and with Ohio workers,” said Evans.
IUE-CWA President Carl Kennebrew expressed the workers’ and the union’s determination to convince Senator Portman to do what’s right for the Bucyrus workers and Ohio.
“Senator Portman has the power to protect these jobs and create even more jobs for workers in Ohio, and we are determined to make sure he does that,” said Kennebrew.
IUE-CWA members rallied in front of Senator Rob Portman’s office to save jobs.
Susie McAllister Sworn in as Vice President for CWA District 7
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During last week’s CWA Executive Board meeting, CWA President Chris Shelton swore in Susie McAllister as Vice President of CWA District 7. Earlier this month, the Board appointed McAllister to fill the position after former District 7 Vice President Brenda Roberts announced her retirement. McAllister has been a CWA member for over 30 years, rising through the ranks and eventually coming on staff in 2009. Most recently, she served as former Vice President Roberts’ assistant in District 7.
Roberts retired after 43 years of service to CWA. She joined the union on her first day of work at Northwestern Bell and has been a fierce advocate for CWA members and workers’ rights in District 7 and around the globe.
There will be a special election to fill the remainder of the term. Information about the process has been sent to District 7 locals.
Susie McAllister takes the oath of office as the new Vice President for CWA District 7.
Need Money for College? Apply for CWA Scholarships
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The Joe Beirne Scholarship Program offers sixteen partial college scholarships of $4,000 each. CWA members and their spouses, children, and grandchildren, including those of retired or deceased members are eligible for the scholarship. The deadline to apply is April 30, 2022. Find out more and apply here.
The AFA-CWA scholarship fund provides financial assistance to dependents of AFA-CWA members who will be attending a college or university. Applications must be postmarked by April 10, 2022. Find out more and apply here.
IUE-CWA offers two scholarship programs. Five James B. Carey Scholarships of $4,000 each are available for children and grandchildren of all IUE-CWA members and IUE-CWA employees (including retired or deceased IUE-CWA members or employees). The Furniture Workers Willie Rudd Scholarship offers one $2,500 scholarship for members and family members of IUE-CWA furniture workers locals. The application deadline is April 15, 2022. Find out more and apply here.