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Feb 23, 2023 - CWA President Chris Shelton Announces Retirement and other news

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CWA President Chris Shelton Announces Retirement

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CWA President Chris Shelton, who has spent over 50 years fighting for the rights and dignity of working people, announced last week that he will not seek re-election at the CWA Convention in July. In a letter to local officers, he wrote that it was a “tough decision” prompted by family health concerns.

Shelton joined CWA after starting work as an outside technician for New York Telephone in 1968. He quickly became a CWA Local 1101 shop steward, joined the CWA staff in 1988, and served as Vice President of CWA District 1 for ten years. He was elected CWA President by CWA Convention delegates in 2015.

President Shelton’s motto is “When we fight, we win.” He founded the CWA STRONG program to build workplace power, strengthen bargaining, and resist outside efforts to destroy our union. During the past eight years under his leadership, CWA weathered many challenges including the Supreme Court’s Janus decision, which sought to weaken the power of our public sector members; the COVID pandemic; and the ongoing push by many employers to outsource and offshore our jobs. Shelton has championed CWA’s efforts to fight racism and other forms of prejudice within CWA, at our workplaces, and in the country at large. He has cemented CWA’s reputation as one of the most influential unions in the country and inspired thousands of workers to organize to join our union.

Bargaining Update

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DirecTV (Black)

CWA District 3 members at DirecTV have reached a tentative agreement for a new contract that includes critical improvements to wages and working conditions, such as raises to base wages with cost of living adjustments, an additional healthcare option with lower monthly premiums, increased job security with a guarantee of call center volumes, increased maximum severance pay, improved overtime language, and the addition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a recognized holiday. Throughout the bargaining, the workers actively mobilized by holding pickets and other workplace actions and participating in solidarity actions online. The improvements in this contract are the result of their hard work. A ratification vote will be held once the members have an opportunity to review the details of the agreement. Click here for more details on the tentative agreement.


Breach Collective

Workers at the climate justice organization Breach Collective, members of CWA Local 7901, have ratified a groundbreaking first collective bargaining agreement. The workers at Breach, who are the first group of workers at a worker-run climate justice organization in the country to have a union, successfully negotiated a progressive contract that includes a 32-hour full-time work week, 50 vacation days per year, unlimited sick days, and a wage parity article that dictates the lowest paid employee must make at least 70 percent of the highest paid employee. Read more here.

Worker Power Update

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Apple Workers Speak to Members of the Congressional Labor Caucus About Their Organizing Journey, Fight Against Union-Busting

Apple workers and CWA members Michael Forsythe and Kirsten Civick met with members of the Congressional Labor Caucus to share their experiences as members of the organizing committee during their campaign to form a union at Apple. Last October, their store became the second certified union at Apple. While the victory was rewarding, Forsythe shared with the members of the Congressional Labor Caucus that "management made it a more hostile, intimidating, and divisive place than you could even imagine." "Our workplace has been flooded with raw sewage multiple times and my coworkers and I were responsible for cleaning up messes without any hazard gear," Civick added, "I never saw myself becoming a part of a union organizing effort, but my years at Apple have shown me that all workers, no matter what sector, face injustice in the workplace and deserve a union to make their working conditions better."

Earlier this month, CWA filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge against Apple for violating federal labor law. The charge alleges Apple's Jordan Creek location in Des Moines, Iowa, mandated illegal captive audience meetings and issued threats to workers if they unionized. CWA also filed a ULP against Apple’s Fifth Avenue location in New York City. In addition to flagging illegal captive audience meetings at the store, the charge alleges management illegally suggested workers would lose their ability to have one-on-one conversations with their manager if employees chose to form a union.


CWA-Endorsed Candidate Wins Primary Election for Wisconsin Supreme Court Seat

CWA activists, along with a coalition of other pro-labor and pro-democracy activists, have been mobilizing to build support for a CWA-endorsed candidate for the open Wisconsin Supreme Court seat, Judge Janet Protasiewicz. Thanks to their efforts, Judge Protasiewicz won the primary election held on Tuesday. CWAers will continue to raise support for our endorsed candidate as she heads into the general election.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Phonebank
CWA activists participated in a phone bank ahead of the primary election for a Wisconsin Supreme Court Seat in support of CWA-endorsed candidate Judge Protasiewicz, who won the race.

Organizing Update

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Alphabet (Google)

In solidarity with YouTube Music workers, contracted with Cognizant Technology Solutions, who have been on the first ever strike at Google since the beginning of this month, dozens of Google workers and members of the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA (AWU-CWA) held rallies against Google union-busting in Austin and New York City on Tuesday. On the same day as the rally, Representative Greg Casar of Texas's 35th Congressional District, who joined the workers’ action in Austin, and Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, YouTube CEO Neal Mohan, and Cognizant Technology Solutions CEO Ravi Kumar calling on the executives to end the retaliation against workers organizing at YouTube Music. Currently, the workers are awaiting a critical ruling from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regarding their union election. They will continue to organize and maintain their strike until their demands are met. A strike fund has been set up to offer additional support to the striking workers.

Google YouTube Strike
Dozens of Google workers and supporters, including Congressman Greg Casar and CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor, participated in rallies in Austin and New York City in solidarity with striking YouTube Music workers.

On Wednesday, AWU-CWA published a comprehensive survey of Alphabet vendor workers in a report titled, "Every Google Worker: An Examination of Alphabet's US Shadow Workforce." The report found that thousands of workers are denied the minimum standard of benefits set by Alphabet and inequities among vendors are exacerbated by race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability, resulting in thousands of dollars in wage gaps. Alphabet employs an estimated 50,000 U.S.-based vendors, who are workers employed via subcontractors to complete critical services for Alphabet.

CWA District 4 Vice President Linda L. Hinton Honored for Black History Month

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February is Black History Month. The AFL-CIO featured CWA District 4 Vice President Linda L. Hinton as part of its yearly Black History Month celebration, honoring leaders who are actively making Black history across the labor movement and beyond. Vice President Hinton started her career at Ohio Bell in 1970. Not long after, she was elected Vice President and later President of CWA Local 4310. She went on to be a CWA District 4 Staff Representative, Administrative Director, and Assistant to the Vice President. She is the first woman to be Vice President for CWA District 4. She is a member of several AFL-CIO constituency groups including the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and the NAACP. She also leads the CWA Women’s Political Power Program and is a member of the CWA Minority Caucus.

This year, the CWA Human Rights Department is honoring Black History Month by focusing on Black Health and Wellness with newsletters covering mental, physical, and social health that you will hopefully find informative and motivational. Click here to sign up to receive the newsletter and other human rights updates.