Today, workers at Northstar Aerospace, members of IUE-CWA Local 14430, ratified a new collective bargaining agreement after striking for almost two months. The new four-year contract includes an 18 percent wage increase over the life of the agreement, no change in medical cost premium shares, and improvements to safety and benefits, including vacation and short-term disability. In addition, the workers successfully fought back against the company’s attempt to adversely change the attendance policy. The workers demonstrated their dedication to achieving equitable treatment and compensation by engaging in an incredible mobilization effort throughout the negotiations and the strike by holding regular pickets, mass rallies, and demonstrations and garnering support from other union members and community allies. The workers, who are part of a vital component of Apache and Chinook helicopter parts production, went on strike in response to the company’s deceptive bargaining tactics, which led to the union filing an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
In a recent discussion between passenger service agents’ bargaining teams and American Airlines CEO Robert Isom, he committed to reaching an agreement with our union that is competitive in the industry and not concessionary. Members of the CWA-IBT Association across the country are mobilizing to hold the company to that commitment.
During the latest bargaining session, the bargaining committee and the company exchanged proposals and made progress on several articles. However, the bargaining committee is still waiting for the company’s response on a proposal from October that covers job security and is absolutely necessary to reach an agreement before moving on to the next phase of bargaining.
Apart from contract bargaining, the passenger service agents are fighting for additional improvements, including changes in the uniform policy to allow for tattoos and piercings, as well as improvements to the attendance policy. Additional updates can be found at Facebook.com/AmericanAgentsConnected.
International Documentary Association
Last Friday, members of Documentary Workers United (CWA Local 9003) at the International Documentary Association, a nonprofit that provides grants to nonfiction filmmakers and advocates for the documentary community, unanimously voted to ratify their first union contract. The contract includes an average 20-30 percent wage increase, with a baseline minimum of $30/hr, a guaranteed annual rate increase, differential pay for additional labor, and a comprehensive reproductive health policy. The workers credited their victory to the continued commitment of the members who defied the odds and, despite multiple challenges, stayed united.
The structural and legal protections included in the new union contract will allow the members to continue to do the work they love without fear of retaliation or exploitation and ensure they have a seat at the decision-making table. In a statement announcing the ratification, the members expressed their solidarity with the striking SAG-AFTRA and WGA members in their fight for a fair contract. “We implore film institutions across the board to take note. Now is the time to make our field a place that champions its laborers. The world is watching. Our collective fight is only beginning.” Read more here.
NTIA Highlights CWA-Verizon Partnership to Develop Skilled and Well-Trained Telecommunications Professionals
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a case study last week showcasing the high-quality training programs that Verizon has developed with input from CWA members. The NTIA highlighted the role of the collective bargaining agreement between CWA and Verizon as part of a series of articles discussing different models for workforce development as states and other eligible entities develop their plans to successfully use the billions of dollars in funding for broadband infrastructure deployment available through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. As part of our larger effort to build broadband better, CWA supports expanded training programs to ensure that there is a skilled, union-represented workforce ready to modernize our telecommunications infrastructure and connect the unserved and underserved to reliable, high-speed internet.
Last Thursday, workers at Grindr, the company behind the largest LGBTQIA+ dating app, proudly announced the formation of Grindr United-CWA after a supermajority of the eligible members signed union representation cards. Grinder United-CWA members work across various departments, including cloud engineering, customer experience, design, engineering, IT, marketing, privacy, product, and quality assurance.
The workers seek to preserve the current benefits they receive and gain additional benefits commonly found at similar companies. In the midst of a volatile job market, workers hope to ensure layoff protections and clear severance protocols. Additionally, workers wish to establish a clear path to professional progression for all employees, documented performance improvement plans when necessary, and transparency in pay to address wage disparities affecting marginalized communities. By joining together in a union, workers are committed to ensuring that Grindr remains a safe, inclusive, and thriving place for its users and workers alike. They are asking Grindr users to show their support by telling Grindr CEO George Arison to respect his employees’ right to form a union!
Worker Power Update
CWA Members Join Thirst Strike Led by Rep. Greg Casar to Take a Stand for Workers’ Rights to Water Breaks
On Tuesday, CWA members from Texas joined Congressman Greg Casar (D-Texas) and renowned labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., to hold a rally announcing a thirst strike to highlight the lack of protections for workers during extreme heat waves. The action was organized in response to a law signed by Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) last month that will remove mandated breaks for workers to drink water and rest in the shade. CWA Local 6143 President Geronimo Guerra and Local 6143 members Charles Fuentes and Katie Garcia, as well as AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson, joined lawmakers and community leaders at the event. The participants called on President Biden and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to swiftly implement a nationwide workplace heat standard to ensure workers across the country have better protections against excessive heat and other adverse climate-change impacts.
CWAers Speak to the Need to Regulate AI in the Workplace as Senate Introduces No Robot Bosses Act
Last week, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the No Robot Bosses Act. The bill would protect workers from employers using artificial intelligence or automated decision systems to make employment decisions related to hiring, firing, or disciplining workers.
While workers across the economy have been impacted by unjust or even discriminatory employment decisions by AI algorithms, CWA members have spoken out, protected by their union contracts. In May, CWA Local 3519 Vice President Ylonda Sherrod participated in a White House listening session on the use of automated technologies by employers to surveil, monitor, evaluate, and manage their workers.
Sherrod, who currently works as a Sales and Service Representative at AT&T Mobility, shared her experience: “It is unfair that AI is being used to replace the invaluable experience of human workers. It’s even worse that us workers are basically training our replacements. Company investments into more AI feels like a major threat to my job security as companies don’t have to ensure safe working conditions, livable wages, or affordable healthcare for AI in the same way that they have to for employees.”
Read more about Sherrod’s story in The New York Times.
CWA Hosts Labor Fundraising Event for Congresswoman Val Hoyle
Last week, Congresswoman Val Hoyle (D-Ore.) attended a labor fundraising event hosted by CWA. During the event, which was held at the CWA headquarters in Washington, D.C., CWA leaders, including President Claude Cummings Jr. and AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson, spoke about Hoyle’s record of championing workers’ rights throughout her career and emphasized the importance of keeping her in office.
YouTube Workers Organizing with CWA Win Major Victory at the NLRB
In a historic victory for workers, last week the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reaffirmed that Alphabet and its subcontractor, Cognizant, are joint employers, which means that both companies must bargain with YouTube Music workers who have organized to join the Alphabet Workers Union (CWA Local 9009). Alphabet is the parent company of Google.
The Board agreed with an earlier ruling that determined that Google exercises control, directly and indirectly, over YouTube Music employees, including on things like their everyday work tasks, performance evaluations, benefits, timecards, and more. This is a major milestone in the fight to prevent companies from avoiding responsibility by subcontracting work, as the NLRB considers revising the standard for determining whether or not companies are joint employers. Under the Trump administration, the NLRB had made it more difficult for workers employed by subcontractors to hold major corporations accountable for their obligations to treat them fairly.