Last Friday, in a tremendous victory, workers at Verizon Wireless stores in Everett and Lynnwood, Wash., won their union election. The workers, who have been organizing for months, remained united in their efforts to form a union even in the face of aggressive anti-union tactics from the company.
Workers and supporters held a tailgate outside of the Verizon Wireless store in Everett to watch and celebrate the official National Labor Relations Board vote count. After the tailgate, the workers met privately with Starbucks workers at a nearby store who recently formed a union and served as an inspiration for the Verizon workers to organize.
The workers now aim to create an organizing wave inside the company that can sweep across the country. They hope to inspire other Verizon Wireless workers to stand up, be brave, and fight for the union they deserve.
Verizon Wireless workers outside Seattle, Wash,. won their union representation vote.
On Wednesday, Apple retail workers at the Apple Cumberland Mall store in Atlanta, Ga., filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board to join CWA, becoming the first group of Apple retail workers in the United States to seek formal recognition for their union. The newly formed union includes Apple salespeople, technicians, creatives, and operations specialists. Currently over 70% of the group of more than 100 eligible workers have signed union authorization cards.
“We welcome the workers who are organizing at Apple and call on the company’s management to reject union busting tactics so that they can vote without interference or intimidation. These workers have been indispensable during the pandemic and the high level of service and support they provide is critical to Apple’s success. By having a union voice, they will be able to negotiate lasting improvements to their working conditions.” said Ed Barlow, President of CWA Local 3204 in Atlanta.
The workers’ effort to form a union represents the latest in a recent wave of organizing victories across the country in various industries including Verizon Wireless, Google Fiber, Starbucks, Amazon, and more.
Apple retail workers in Atlanta, Ga., are organizing to form a union with CWA.
Qualtek Tower Climbers
Last week, an overwhelming majority of wireless tower climbers at QualTek in Henderson, Nev., filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for a union election. The workers, members of the Tower Climbers Union/CWA, are the first group of tower climbers in the United States who have filed for formal union representation.
“We call upon Qualtek management to work with the Tower Climbers Union/CWA to negotiate a fair contract for tower climbers,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “These workers put their lives at risk every day to maintain the wireless network for AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. There is a growing movement among tower climbers across the country, and as hundreds of tower climbers join together in our union, we are building power on the job to raise wages, benefits, and ensure a safer workplace. Read more here.
Qualtek tower climbers in Henderson, Nev., are organizing to form a union with CWA.
Last Wednesday, Flight Attendants at Avelo Airlines won their union representation vote to join AFA-CWA, six months after filing for an election with the National Mediation Board (NMB). Avelo Flight Attendants have faced an aggressive anti-union campaign run by management, even as working conditions at the startup airline have led to some of the highest turnover rates in the industry. Flight Attendants first filed for recognition with the NMB last October. However, due to Senate Republicans blocking President Biden’s NMB nominees and frivolous delay-tactic filings by Avelo, the election was not scheduled for months. Immediately after their win, the Flight Attendants requested that management enter into negotiations for a fair contract that addresses retention and other ongoing issues. Read more here.
AT&T Mobility and DirecTV (Orange)
This Tax Day, April 18, CWA members at AT&T Mobility sounded the alarm on AT&T’s corporate tax avoidance on social media as part of their mobilization to win a new contract. Since Congress slashed the corporate tax rate in December 2017, AT&T has saved $32 billion in taxes. Instead of creating good union jobs, as the company promised to do, it has cut more than 83,000 jobs. The AT&T Mobility and DirecTV Orange bargaining teams are continuing negotiations for fair contracts. While the company and the union remain far apart on many issues, continued progress is being made at the bargaining table, mainly due to the constant pressure from members who are actively mobilizing and making sure the company hears their demands loud and clear.
Middlesex County Board of Social Services
In a groundbreaking victory, nearly 260 workers at Middlesex County Board of Social Services in New Jersey (CWA Local 1032) unanimously ratified a new contract after a hard fought contract campaign.
The workers at the agency are responsible for distributing critical aid to residents such as SNAP, healthcare coverage via Medicaid, and cash assistance to help cover rent. Despite delivering such critical services, the workers have been working without a contract since June 2020, and faced several health and safety issues throughout the pandemic.
Frustrated by the lack of action by management to address these concerns and negotiate a fair contract, the workers launched an aggressive contract campaign. The campaign began with a petition drive that over 90 percent of the workers signed and included actions such as lunchtime rallies, a boycott of overtime that lasted six weeks, gathering support for a strike authorization vote, and more. Their continued determination led to a contract victory that includes significant wage increases, with many workers receiving raises of over 30 percent during the course of the new four-year contract.
Workers at Middlesex County Board of Social Services in New Jersey (CWA Local 1032) mobilized to win a fair contract.
On Monday, CWA Local 7304 members who work at the New Flyer bus manufacturing facility in St. Cloud, Minn., held a rally outside the facility to demand a fair contract. The workers are fighting for a new contract that includes better pay, paid sick leave, paid time off for religious holidays, an end to mandatory overtime, and more. The rally follows a strike authorization vote that was approved almost unanimously by the membership earlier this month. The workers were joined by members of several other unions and organizations including the Regional Labor Federation, Take Action Minnesota, and Indivisible. Democratic State Senator Aric Putnam and two candidates for the Minnesota House were also there to offer the workers their support.
“It’s about time we get adequate paid time off so we can spend time with our families and wage increases that make us competitive with similar jobs in the area,” said Bob Coplien, a bargaining committee member. “The company might be willing to start addressing recruitment with starting wages, but they’re offering almost nothing for the rest of us. Retention is another huge problem. The membership voted at the beginning of the month to authorize a strike with over 97% of the vote and are clearly starting to lose patience.”
Workers at the New Flyer bus manufacturing facility in St. Cloud, Minn., members of CWA Local 7304, held a rally for a fair contract.
CWA Members Organize a Town Hall on Expanding Broadband Access to All Communities in Arizona
On Monday, CWA members hosted a public town hall meeting in Casa Grande, Ariz., with Democratic Congressman Tom O'Halleran and Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small to discuss the need for expanding broadband access throughout the state, especially to underserved communities. Fernando Roman, CWA Broadband Brigade member and Executive Vice President of CWA Local 7026, also participated in the forum along with other panelists.
“We are forty-five minutes or so down the road from the fifth largest metropolitan area in the country and we have very poor broadband,” said O’Halleran, speaking to the enthusiastic crowd. He added, “People in rural America need to be part of the knowledge-based economy.”
“People fell behind. The [internet] speed wasn’t there. I saw that as a rural technician,” said Roman. “One of my son’s friends was sent home during remote learning and quit school because he didn’t have adequate broadband. This is the reality that COVID exposed. Thanks to the infrastructure bill, Arizona will receive a minimum of $100 million to address the unserved and under-served first.”
The CWA members in attendance expressed their shared excitement and gratitude to Congressman O’Halleran and the Biden Administration for making expansion of broadband access to rural areas a priority. Read more here.
CWA members in Arizona hosted a town hall meeting on Broadband expansion with Democratic Congressman Tom O'Halleran (center).
CWA Applauds New Bill to Protect Passenger Service Agents from Abusive Passengers
Earlier this month, Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) introduced the Protection from Abusive Passengers Act in both houses of Congress. The bill is designed to improve aviation safety and hold passengers convicted of intimidation, threats, or physical violence against aviation professionals accountable for their actions.
As travel has returned to more normal levels in 2022, passenger service agents remain on the front lines, experiencing threats from disruptive passengers and unsafe working conditions in airports all over the country. The newly proposed legislation would place those convicted of intimidation or assault onboard a flight on a new commercial no-fly list managed by the Transportation Security Administration.
If passed, the bill will help address the increased number of incidents involving unruly and violent passengers and protect frontline airline workers, including more than 20,000 CWA passenger service agents. Read more here.
Promoting Trade Policy that Prioritizes Workers
On Tuesday, CWA Legislative Specialist Elena Lopez testified at a U.S. International Trade Commission hearing, stressing the impact that offshoring facilitated by unfair trade policies has on workers. She noted that workers tend to move to lower paying jobs after losing their jobs to offshoring – a trend she said was “especially true” for workers who change industries, as well as for workers of color. “As the union representing the largest number of workers in the call center industry, we have seen firsthand how our trade policy has encouraged companies to offshore jobs, driving down wages and working conditions for U.S. workers,” said Lopez.
In addition, she highlighted the various policies and loopholes embedded in previous trade deals that have made it easier for multinational corporations to disinvest from domestic industries.
Lopez added, “The impacts of our trade policies are not limited solely to offshoring of jobs, but also include undermining negotiating power for international workers seeking to form unions or to secure better pay, benefits and working conditions. Our trade policies should promote growth and opportunities for all workers, domestic and abroad, rather than a race to the bottom.”