CWA has filed two unfair labor practice charges against Wells Fargo on behalf of workers who are organizing with the Committee for Better Banks-CWA. The charges allege that managers illegally threatened and disciplined workers for supporting the organizing effort. In one case, a manager threatened to revoke a worker’s right to work from home if they did not stop distributing pro-union flyers. The other charge alleges managers retaliated against a worker who complained about their pay. The worker received a new assignment but was paid $5 per hour less than the listed wage for the new job, according to the organizer.
In a statement, the workers said, “We are organizing a union to build a better Wells Fargo for workers and customers, yet the bank continues to try to resist change. Rather than join us in our efforts to address the toxic culture that has led to scandal after scandal and cost the bank billions of dollars in fines, Wells Fargo has chosen to break the law by attempting to silence us.” Read more here.
Clerk of Court employees in Lake County, Ohio, held a rally to build support for their organizing efforts to join CWA. A super majority of the workers have signed cards in favor of forming a union with CWA Local 4340 and have filed an election petition with the National Labor Relations Board. CWA already represents workers in seven bargaining units in Lake County. At the rally, the workers were joined by other CWA members and community supporters. The workers remain firm in their commitment to form a union and join their colleagues as CWA members.
Clerk of Court employees in Lake County, Ohio, held a rally to build support for their organizing efforts to join CWA Local 4340.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Strike
Workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette rallied with supporters on Monday prior to a bargaining session with representatives from the Post-Gazette. While the session was scheduled between the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh (TNG-CWA Local 38061) and the company, leaders from CWA Locals 14842 and 14827, Teamsters Local 205/211, and Pressmen’s Union GCC/IBT Local 24M/9N attended as members of the Guild bargaining committee, representing the advertising, distribution, and production workers who are also on strike.
Workers' demands to end the strike include restoring health insurance for workers in distribution, production, and advertising, returning to the contract bargaining table in good faith, and undoing the unilateral changes to working conditions and reinstating conditions of the previously bargained Newspaper Guild contract until a new agreement is reached.
During the session, the Post-Gazette’s union-busting attorneys refused to seriously consider the worker’s proposals to end the strike.
“It was unfortunate to see that the Post-Gazette decided to not match our effort,” said Zack Tanner, Post-Gazette interactive designer and president of TNG-CWA Local 38061. “Putting forth what is essentially a reprint of the bad-faith offers that they made us from the start of bargaining in 2017 through their illegally implemented terms in 2020 is unacceptable. I’m hopeful that in the next bargaining sessions we can work more seriously in good faith to reach an agreement.”
Striking Pittsburgh Post-Gazette workers and community supporters rallied in advance of a bargaining session on Monday. (Photo credit: Joshua Axelrod/Pittsburgh Union Progress)
Worker Power Update
2022 Midterm Election Update: Our Efforts Paid Off
Across the country, in advance of the critical midterm elections that concluded last week, CWA members engaged in an intensive, grassroots effort, talking to working families about issues that matter most to them and the importance of turning out to vote for candidates who put working people first. Results from key races continue to be announced and it is clear that our efforts paid off. The candidates we supported that had strong, clearly articulated plans to protect the rights of working people and address the economic hardships facing middle class voters won at the local, state, and federal level. Holding on to a pro-worker majority in the U.S. Senate was absolutely essential to advance critical pieces of our agenda, and we got it done.
There is still more work to be done. We have an opportunity to strengthen the pro-worker majority in the Senate by mobilizing to build support and re-elect Senator Raphael Warnock in his upcoming runoff election in Georgia. The election will be held on December 6. Early voting will begin on November 28 or earlier in some counties. The stakes of this election are incredibly high. It is crucial that we keep Raphael Warnock in the U.S. Senate. We will be sharing more information on how you can help secure this seat in the days and weeks to come.
CWA members across the country worked tirelessly in the home stretch to deliver key election wins for pro-worker candidates.
University of Tennessee Custodial Workers Rally for Higher Pay and Fair Treatment
Last week, over 50 campus workers and students rallied with custodial staff at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville for higher pay and fair treatment. A majority of building services custodians, members of United Campus Workers-CWA Local 3865, signed a petition demanding a minimum wage of $20/hour, fair sick leave policies, and an end to mandatory overtime, including at football games. “We work 12 hours straight without a break,” said Patrica Curtis, a Building Services custodian, when talking about her gameday schedule. “I came in at 10 a.m. to 10 at night, no break. These people treat us with such disrespect and violate our human rights. You can’t miss one day of work without getting a doctor’s note.”
State representative Gloria Johnson and other guest speakers gave remarks in support of the workers demands. At the end of the rally, the crowd delivered the petition to Chancellor Donde Plowman’s office. They also requested a meeting with the Chancellor to further address challenges the workers are facing.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville custodial staff, members of United Campus Workers-CWA Local 3865, rallied with over 50 campus workers and students for higher pay and fair treatment.
CWA District 6 Members Build Power at Annual Meeting
CWAers from across District 6 gathered for their annual meeting, held for the first time in person since the pandemic.
Hundreds of members met in Houston to participate in workshops and committee meetings and hear from union leaders and guest speakers, including CWA President Chris Shelton. Speaking to the crowd, Shelton applauded the activists in District 6 and throughout the union for their hard work engaging in our grassroots efforts to build support for pro-worker candidates leading up to the critical midterm elections that concluded last week. “District 6 has long been a powerhouse of political engagement, and that was certainly the case this year,” said Shelton. He highlighted some of the key races in the District where our efforts paid off and stressed the need to continue this great work especially now that the U.S. House of Representatives will be back in the hands of an anti-worker, pro-corporate majority. “Their priority will be to pass legislation that helps corporations make more profits from our labor, which will come at the cost of our health, our safety on the job, our paychecks, and our pensions,” added Shelton.
Shelton also uplifted the outstanding work District 6 members have been engaged in to make our union CWA Strong, including the strong legislative program members in Texas have built, the success District 6 members have had consistently strengthening our political action fund, and their work mobilizing a broader base of CWA members around building broadband better and creating more good jobs. He also highlighted the incredible organizing successes in District 6, including the historic win by workers at an Apple Store in Oklahoma who, in a landslide, voted to join CWA. In addition, Shelton highlighted the resilience District 6 members demonstrated negotiating strong contracts despite the difficulties of the pandemic.
“One of my favorite things in the whole world is watching workers celebrate together when they win their union votes,” said CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens, who spoke about the power of workers coming together and touted the various organizing victories in District 6 and elsewhere. “There will always be more of us than them, and as long as we organize, they cannot buy our hearts nor steal our votes. They cannot win,” she added. She also took the opportunity to remind participants to continue to fight for labor law reform and protect our voting rights.
“A big thank you to all the delegates here and every one of the District 6 members for continuing to work hard to advance all sides of the CWA Triangle even through one of the worst events of our lifetime. Whether it was handling tough grievances, bargaining strong contracts, organizing new workers, or building political power, we had no shortage of victories in District 6, and even through the toughest of times we stayed committed to the values that make us CWA Strong,” said CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings Jr. He continued to acknowledge the dedicated staff members who seamlessly transitioned to work from home without any lapse in service to members.
Conference participants also heard from CWA District 4 Vice President Linda L. Hinton; CWA District 9 Vice President Frank Arce; CWA Telecommunications and Technologies Sector Vice President Lisa Bolton; AFA-CWA President Sara Nelson; CWA Public, Healthcare and Education Sector Vice President Margaret Cook; NewsGuild-CWA President Jon Schleuss, and other guest speakers.
Honoring Our Veterans
CWAers across the country honored the thousands of CWA member and retiree military veterans and their families, as well as the broader veteran community, for their service and sacrifice on Veterans Day last week.
“Those who seek to disrupt our democracy and divide communities, including corporations and anti-worker politicians, have taken their efforts to a higher level by spreading lies, sabotaging election results, and undermining the trust of our local elected officials,” said CWA President Chris Shelton in his Veterans Day message. “As part of their strategy to consolidate more power among themselves, these same forces have constantly exploited military veterans, service members, and their families. They often use veterans as political props, but too few of them actually care about the issues that impact veterans. CWA member and retiree military veterans have been at the forefront of fighting back against these forces by actively participating in the movement to build a new political force for social and economic justice.” Read President Shelton’s full statement here.
AFA-CWA International Vice President Keturah Johnson, a combat veteran, also shared a heartfelt video message on Veterans Day, saying “When soldiers like me return home, Flight Attendants are the first people we see on the long journey back. On behalf of Sara, Dante, and our entire union, thank you to our veterans, Flight Attendants who are veterans, and all Flight Attendants who bring our troops home.”
As part of the “Bring it Home GE” campaign, several IUE-CWA military veterans, including Sergio Chavez (IUE-CWA Local 83701) and Chase Barker (IUE-CWA Local 86004), released op-eds on Veterans Day calling on General Electric (GE), one of the largest military contractors for the U.S. government, to end its offshoring practices and reinvest in American workers. Retired U.S Army Brigadier General John Adams, a longtime supporter of the campaign, also released an op-ed on Veterans Day calling on GE to commit to keeping its military production in the U.S.