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Dec 22, 2022 - President Shelton Honored with Human Rights Award and other news

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Organizing Update

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Last Friday, CWA filed an unfair labor practice charge against Apple for multiple federal labor law violations, including creating a fake, company-controlled union to interfere with workers’ organizing efforts. Over the course of the year, Apple has opposed workers organizing for better pay and working conditions by launching a national anti-union campaign to prevent employees from exercising their right to stand together. “Creating a work group controlled by management is undemocratic and a clear attempt at union-busting. If management actually cared about workers having a voice on the job, they would direct them to the Apple Retail Union/CWA which is run by workers, not bosses,” said Sara Steffens, CWA Secretary-Treasurer.

Bargaining Update

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CWA’s Executive Board sent a letter to C-SPAN this week calling for the immediate removal of Allan Block, Chairman and CEO of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s parent company, Block Communications, from C-SPAN’s Board of Directors. In the letter directed to C-SPAN’s Executive Committee, CWA points to Block’s continued irresponsibility and biased behavior as directly contradicting C-SPAN's commitment to neutrality.

In addition to refusing to provide his workers at the Post-Gazette with basic necessities like healthcare and raises, Block made headlines last month for swearing at and slapping a union representative with a bag of food after being asked why he refuses to come to a fair agreement with his Post-Gazette workers. His behavior also includes supporting the January 6 insurrection and attempting to sway reporting to be pro-Trump.

In conjunction with CWA’s letter, Post-Gazette workers launched a petition demanding Block’s removal from C-SPAN’s Board. Earlier this week, striking CWA members at the Post-Gazette, joined by CWA members from locals 13500 and 1168, held a powerful rally to demand a fair contract. CWA Local 1168 members traveled from Buffalo, N.Y., to show their support.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Strike
Striking CWA Members at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette were joined by CWA members from locals 13500 and 1168 at a rally to demand a fair contract.

Worker Power Update

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CWA Members’ Activism Leads to NLRB Budget Increase

Thanks to the thousands of CWA activists who have been mobilizing for the last few months with other union members and pro-worker advocates to demand Congress take action to fully fund the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the newly released government funding bill includes a long overdue increase for the NLRB of $25 million for the first time in nearly a decade. This bump in funding will have a direct and immediate impact on the Board’s ability to execute its mission of protecting workers’ rights and ensuring workers are able to join together to improve their working conditions by forming unions.

However, the NLRB still needs full funding to fulfill its duties and to meet the demands of this moment when workers are organizing to join unions and win strong contracts at a record pace. The NLRB plays a crucial role in leveling the playing field and giving workers a fair chance to stand up to their corporate bosses who use their record profits to weaken workers’ rights. CWA members must continue to mobilize with the rest of the labor movement, the progressive community, and workers everywhere to advocate for the full funding of the NLRB and the passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act to tear down the barriers that make it harder for workers to have a union and a voice on the job.

Jewish Labor Committee Honors CWA President Chris Shelton with the 2022 Human Rights Award

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CWA President Chris Shelton received the Jewish Labor Committee’s 2022 Human Rights Award in recognition of his years of excellent leadership and dedication to build an inclusive union and labor movement as well as CWA’s commitment to social justice. During the virtual awards ceremony earlier this week, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, who presented the award, praised Shelton for his bold and progressive leadership and recognized CWA members for their accomplishments and movement-building efforts. “He knows there's a place for everyone in the labor movement. And he's opening CWA’s doors as wide as they will possibly go to create a stronger future for working people everywhere,” said Shuler.

In his acceptance speech, Shelton spoke about the rise in anti-Semitism and other forms of hate and explained how our capacity to fight back is tied to our ability to educate ourselves and others about the ways in which these attacks are part of a general assault on all workers and our democratic way of life. “If you look behind the curtains of our current societal and political discourse, you will find the forces who are constantly perpetuating and benefiting from anti-Semitism and other forms of hate are the same forces who are anti-union, anti-worker, anti-free and fair elections, anti-civil rights, and anti-progress,” said Shelton.

Other awardees include President Lynne Fox, Workers United, SEIU; Al Vincent, Jr., Executive Director, Actors Equity; and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who received the Lifetime of Valor award.

CWA Telecommunications and Technologies Members Build Power at Annual Leadership Conference

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Last week, CWAers from across the country gathered for this year’s Telecommunications and Technologies (T&T) Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla. CWA President Chris Shelton delivered a video message applauding the T&T members’ victories bargaining strong contracts and fighting back against greedy corporations who have failed to recognize our contributions and want to weaken our unions by outsourcing jobs instead of investing in good paying, union protected jobs. “When they needed us to show up and keep our country’s communications network running during the most dangerous days of the pandemic, we were essential. Now, we are expendable. Their outrageous and shameful greed knows no bounds unless we put a stop to it,” said Shelton.

He also highlighted the recent political victories in the 2022 midterm elections and thanked the T&T members for mobilizing with the rest of the union to fight for pro-worker candidates. In addition, Shelton stressed the need to continue to negotiate strong contracts, organize new workers, and stay mobilized at all times. “It has to be a priority for us to take advantage of this momentum to grow our union, just as much as it is to negotiate contracts that have strong protections against the outsourcing of good, union protected jobs. But in order to be effective, we have to build enough power. We have to mobilize and stay engaged, not just during contract fights but every day, at every local and every worksite, in every bargaining unit and every community, in the voting booth, online, and in the streets,” said Shelton.

CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens attended in person and spoke to participants about organizing and mobilizing for power. She reiterated that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to organize new workers into our labor movement and build enough power and strength to take on the corporate bosses who have stood in the way of progress for so long. “When workers begin to stand together in our power, anything is possible. Hands down, the best thing happening in America right now is workers organizing,” said Steffens. She added, “We must stand with newly organized workers, in CWA and beyond, as they fight for their first collective bargaining agreements. Show up at their rallies. Join their picket lines. These fights will be incredibly tough, but so are we!”

CWA T&T Sector Vice President Lisa Bolton also addressed the crowd and expressed her gratitude to see everyone in person after three years. She shared her excitement about re-engaging and mobilizing T&T members like never before. “Our power comes from our solidarity and we know the importance of having everyone informed and involved,” said Bolton.

Conference participants also heard from CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt and other guest speakers and attended educational workshops.

CWA Year End Video

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Check out this video summarizing the amazing year we have had!

CWA Year End Video Still

Register for the 2023 AFL-CIO Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference

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The 2023 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference is less than a month away. The conference, which will be held from January 13 - 16, will include a series of timely and important discussions on the labor movement’s pivotal role in protecting and strengthening our democracy and how we can make life better for workers across America. Participants will hear from organizers, activists, and leaders who are changing the game in labor, civil rights, and politics. Featured speakers include Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser; President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Maya Wiley; Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association Tony Clark; Rev. Willie D. Francois III, and the Howard Gospel Choir of Howard University. Register here.

AFL-CIO MLK Conference