Workers at a Verizon Wireless Express store in Portland, who recently formed a union with CWA, filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) this week. The workers, who have a pending union representation election, filed the charge after being forced to attend mandatory captive audience meetings during the last six months. These meetings are a common union-busting tactic in which company representatives intimidate workers in an attempt to interfere with organizing efforts. Inspired by the groundbreaking union win in Everett and Lynnwood, Wash., Verizon workers in Portland are demanding a voice on the job and remain united in their efforts to form a union, while Verizon continues to force anti-union rhetoric on them. Joining the growing movement of retail workers organizing for a union across the county, Verizon Wireless retail workers at two stores in Flint, Mich., also have a pending NLRB union election. Read more here.
Workers at Meow Wolf in Denver, Colo., won voluntary recognition for their union after a super majority of workers voted in favor of forming a union with CWA. The workers, who have been organizing for the last eight months, are the second group of workers at Meow Wolf to join CWA. In late 2020, Meow Wolf workers in Santa Fe, N.M., voted to join CWA and they ratified their first contract earlier this year. The new unit includes more than two hundred workers and will be part of CWA Local 7055. “I think it shows how much Meow Wolf as a whole has grown since the Santa Fe union started,” said Patrick Peterson, a creative operator and union organizer, in an interview with Colorado Public Radio. “If they did not unionize, I feel like we would’ve had a lot harder struggle than we have had. Every road’s gonna have its bumps, you know? But I feel like ours was a lot smoother because Santa Fe kinda set a precedent.”
Activision Blizzard is refusing to voluntarily recognize the Albany Game Workers Alliance/CWA union, a group of quality assurance testers at the company’s location in Albany, N.Y. In response, the workers released a statement saying, “It appears that Activision Blizzard’s management has once again decided to take the low road by choosing to fight against our union, in spite of the fact that 95% of us have signed union representation cards. Almost every time this company has the opportunity to begin to repair its reputation and demonstrate that it respects its workers, it declines to do so. Earlier this year, Activision fought fiercely against the supermajority of Raven QA workers who wanted a union voice. Activision lost that fight. And it's clear that the company will lose again this time.”
Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard, and has entered into a legally binding agreement with CWA to remain neutral when workers want to organize a union. “Instead of following Microsoft’s lead and committing to a labor neutrality agreement, Activision has made the clear and conscious decision to deny us our basic labor rights while once again spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a union-busting firm,” the workers added in their statement.
Norse Atlantic Airways
After demonstrating unanimous support for joining AFA-CWA with signed authorization cards, Flight Attendants at Norse Airlines filed for official recognition and certification of their union by the National Mediation Board (NMB). Norse Atlantic Airways has also filed a letter of support with the NMB for the Flight Attendant’s request. AFA-CWA negotiated a pre-hire agreement with Norse management in May 2021. The full contract, subject to ratification after certification of the union, includes industry-leading starting pay and job protections, healthcare, and a 401(k) among other key benefits. Read more here.
Verizon Wireless retail workers in Everett and Lynnwood, Wash., and Brooklyn, N.Y., voted to ratify their contracts last Friday. This first contract is a major milestone for the Everett and Lynnwood workers, who recently joined CWA, after overcoming years of poor working conditions, including understaffing and unlivable wages, along with aggressive union-busting efforts from Verizon.
This win and the latest organizing efforts by Verizon Wireless workers in Portland, Ore., and Flint, Mich., signal a growing movement among Verizon Wireless workers to build power and add to the labor momentum taking place nationwide.
Worker Power Update
The Inflation Reduction Act Will Create Jobs, Slow Inflation, and Lower Prescription Drug Costs for Seniors
The Inflation Reduction Act, introduced in the Senate last week, is a major step toward lowering the cost of living for working families, while creating good jobs across the country and making sure that corporations finally pay their fair share of taxes.
The bill will allow Medicare to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs, saving seniors an average of $800 per year. In addition, it will create thousands of new green energy jobs with strong Buy American protections and provide significant home energy rebate programs so families can make their homes more energy efficient and save money in the process.
The bill funds these programs through a 15% corporate minimum tax and closes the notorious "carried interest" loophole, which allows executives at private equity and hedge funds, who routinely push for job cuts for CWA members, to pay a lower tax rate than anyone else pays for their earned income.
Corporate lobbyists are fighting hard to stop the bill so that executives and wealthy shareholders can continue to boost profits by dodging taxes.
Make sure your Senators hear from you! Click here to tell your Senator to vote yes on the Inflation Reduction Act and support working families.
U.S. Senate Candidate For Wisconsin Mandela Barnes Endorsed by CWA State Council
The CWA Wisconsin State Council endorsed longtime labor champion and CWA ally Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes ahead of the primary elections next week. Growing up in a union household, Barnes understands the role organized labor plays in creating a fair economy for all workers. “CWA was one of the major unions to support Barnes’ bid for Lieutenant Governor and we are proud to continue to support him as he fights to represent our interests in Washington. He has always been by our side and our members know he is committed to defending the rights of working people everywhere,” said CWA District 4 Vice President Linda L. Hinton. Barnes has consistently been an advocate for CWA members in the state. Just last month, he participated in a rally organized by CWA to call on lawmakers to vote for the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, national legislation that will make it easier for workers to form unions. "It was [my parents'] union membership that gave me the opportunity to stand here in front of you all today as your lieutenant governor, and I will never give up that fight for working people,” said Barnes speaking to workers during the rally.
CWA Members in Tennessee Gear Up to Defeat So-Called “Right to Work” Amendment
CWA members in Tennessee have been actively mobilizing to defeat a constitutional amendment that will enshrine so-called "right to work" laws into the state’s constitution in the upcoming election on November 8. Right to work laws force unions to advocate on behalf of workers who haven’t paid their fair share in dues. They are part of the ongoing attempt by big corporations and their political allies to drive down wages and benefits by weakening the power of union workers. CWA activists have partnered with community organizations, other labor unions, and advocacy groups like the Tennessee NAACP, the Tennessee AFL-CIO, the Tennessee chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, United Auto Workers, United Steel Workers, and many more to mobilize working families against this harmful amendment.
CWA members in Tennessee mobilize to defeat the so-called “right to work” constitutional amendment in the upcoming election.
CWAers in District 9 Building Broadband Better
CWA District 9 leaders and activists from California and Nevada gathered for a virtual town hall last week for a critical discussion with state lawmakers and community leaders on broadband expansion. The participants discussed how they can work together to ensure that federal broadband buildout funds from the bipartisan infrastructure bill are used to support good jobs for CWA members and expand affordable internet access to all communities in their states.
CWA District 9 Vice President Frank Arce spoke at the beginning of the discussion, followed by other invited guest speakers, including Democratic Congressman Lou Correa, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, and California State Assemblyman Ash Kalra. In addition, the CWA District 9 Broadband Brigade team members gave a detailed presentation about CWA’s Build Broadband Better campaign. The team also briefed participants about the Affordable Connectivity Program, a federal program that subsidizes internet service costs for low income households. The Brigade members wrapped up their presentation by helping participants develop action plans to get other members, their families, and community members involved in the campaign.
Major Win for CWA in San Diego on Subcontractor Transparency
In a major win for CWA members, the San Diego City Council passed the Contractor Transparency Amendment, which will require companies like Verizon, who are construction and right-of-way permit holders, to disclose the subcontractors they are using to complete permitted work. This City ordinance follows on the heels of the passage of a subcontractor transparency ordinance by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in May, which CWA was instrumental in helping craft.
Low-road subcontracting has become increasingly prevalent in the telecommunications industry and CWA has been actively raising concerns about its impact on workers and consumers. An October 2020 report by CWA exposed the extent to which carriers rely on a vast network of contractors to build out their networks and connect customers to broadband, often cutting their own union employees out of much of this work. In June 2020, CWA released another report analyzing the city of San Diego’s 5G deal with Verizon, which revealed gaps in subcontractor disclosure requirements.
“As a telecom technician with over twenty years of experience working in San Diego, I have seen firsthand the pitfalls of multi-layered subcontracting arrangements when it comes to work quality, public safety, and labor standards,” said Frank Lopez, a Telecom Technician and Chair of CWA Local 9509’s Health and Safety Committee. “I’m proud to be a part of the movement to hold contractors accountable and excited to work with the City of San Diego’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement to make this policy a success and model for other cities nationwide.”
Read more here.