CWA e-Newsletter: Apr. 10, 2014
- NLRB Takes 'Extraordinary Action' to Consolidate Complaints Against T-Mobile US
- Money in Politics Update
- Fast for Families Ends National Tour with Call for Immigration Reform
- Bargaining Update
- Organizing Update
- Next CWA Telephone Town Hall is Apr. 17
- Equal Pay For Equal Work
- Missouri 'Right-To-Work' Vote Fails on Second Vote
- Apply For Morton Bahr Online Learning Scholarship
- Movement Building
- People To Follow
- AFA-CWA Advances Interests of All Work Groups at New American
In an extraordinary decision, the general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board has moved to consolidate recent unfair labor practice complaints that have been brought against T-Mobile US. The telecommunications company has been cited for its relentless and escalating attempts over the past 10 years to stop workers from obtaining union representation.
Over the past decade, NLRB complaints were repeatedly issued against T-Mobile in different regional offices. The decision to consolidate a group of current unfair labor practice complaints challenging the company's disciplinary actions targeting union activists and its overly broad company rules and policies into one national case is an important step by the NLRB. The company will need to defend its systemic anti-union behavior in one proceeding where the board can order broad relief for employees at every T-Mobile location.
There is clear evidence that T-Mobile US headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., has been monitoring and orchestrating all union organizing activities nationwide.
This means that the attack on T-Mobile and Metro PCS workers in stores and call centers nationwide has been waged with the knowledge of top management.
The board's consolidation decision came in response to T-Mobile's relentless, ever-escalating national campaign to prevent its employees from obtaining union representation, using many different harassment and surveillance tools.
The decision requires one hearing officer to hear all complaints, witnesses and evidence regarding T-Mobile's efforts to block workers from voting for union representation. A trial now is underway in Wichita, Kan. When testimony is concluded, that same judge and NLRB trial team will travel to Albuquerque, N.M., to hear witnesses and evidence on other complaints.
The board's decision recognizes that it is time for a change in the agency's enforcement strategy. The NLRB clearly is responding to the history of broken promises by T-Mobile when it comes to following U.S. labor law. Consolidation will allow the NLRB to issue more effective remedies to finally stop T-Mobile's outrageous conduct.
To learn more, read:
CWAers across the country took to the streets as the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 McCutcheon v. FEC decision was announced, throwing out aggregate contribution limits and allowing an individual super-wealthy donor to inject up to $3.6 million into our politics.
In 150 communities and 41 states, from New York to Elgin, Ill, to Oakland, Calif., CWA members joined activists from Public Citizen, Common Cause, Demos, People for the American Way and other good government allies.
Keep up with the latest, including actions during Congress's April recess, at www.moneyout-votersin.org.
New York City.
CWAers from Locals 2222, 2252 and 32035, with President Cohen, join the Fast for Families activists at a rally outside the Herndon, Va., office of Rep. Frank Wolf. (R) The Virginia event capped a nationwide bus tour with activists praying, protesting and calling on elected officials to support comprehensive immigration reform.
The Fast for Families Across America nationwide bus tour ended on Wednesday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where thousands of activists protested, prayed and pledged to keep up the fight for comprehensive immigration reform.
Beginning in Los Angeles on Feb. 25, two busloads of immigration activists traveled to 32 states and visited the offices of 100 members of Congress, calling on elected officials to allow a vote on immigration reform. The Senate passed S. 744 nearly a year ago, on June 27, by a bipartisan 68-32 vote.
On Tuesday, CWA President Larry Cohen, Senior Director Yvette Herrera and members of CWA Locals 2222, 2252, and TNG-CWA Local 32035, joined faith leaders, other union leaders and activists and 20 local fasters outside the office of Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10) in Herndon, Va. Activists also held a day-long vigil outside Wolf's office, and ended their fast that evening by sharing food and stories of families in Wolf's district who are being harmed by the immigration crisis.
CWAers join the action on the National Mall, as the Fast for Families activists end their fast and deliver thousands of petitions to senators and representatives calling for reform.
Earlier this week, the fasters also held a four-day, water-only fast in Richmond, Va., the home district of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, to urge him to convince House leaders to schedule a vote on immigration reform this year.
At the end of the Washington, D.C. rally, activists headed for Capitol Hill, carrying petitions signed by supporters across the country to their members of Congress, calling for action now on immigration reform.
Substitute teachers in the Santa Ana Unified School District in California ratified a first contract by a 70 percent margin. The 866 substitute teachers are members of CWA Local 9510 and are the first substitute teachers in Orange County to gain a contract.
They joined CWA in November 2008, but the school district continued to fight their right to CWA representation. Negotiations got underway in 2010.
The three-year first contract was reached with participation of a Public Employment Relations Board mediator. It provides for wage reopeners in each of the contract years, a two-step grievance procedure, a guaranteed job interview for substitute teachers who have worked two months or more for publicly posted teaching assignments and other gains.
CWA Local 9510 President Kenny Williams said this first contract "already brings substitute teachers closer to the benefits and wages of full-time teachers. Together we're building a movement for substitute teachers and working people everywhere."
The National Labor Relations Board ruled on Monday that NBC Universal violated federal labor law by refusing to recognize and bargain with NABET-CWA.
The case stems from an attempt by NBC in early 2009 to unilaterally change the terms and conditions of employment for NABET-CWA members working as news writers, editors, and photographers at owned and operated TV stations in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles, as well as at the NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C. NBC tried to claim that it was consolidating work and creating new, non-union "content producer" jobs. NABET-CWA pushed back, and a 2011 NLRB ruling out of Region 2 made it clear that these so-called content producers were doing the same work they've always done – just with a different title.
Now the NLRB has ordered NBC to recognize and bargain with NABET-CWA and to provide the information NABET-CWA negotiators had requested last October.
As a result of the decision, NABET-CWA represents all content producers at the Chicago, New York and Los Angeles stations, whether or not those workers previously had been represented by NABET-CWA before NBC changed their job classification to content producer. At the Washington, D.C. station, a representation election must be held for the content producers group.
NABET-CWA President Jim Joyce said the union "is grateful for the decision of the NLRB and we expect NBC to now negotiate a contract with us for the workers."
Bargaining for a new contract covering 1,600 CWA members in West Virginia continues with Frontier Communications. The current contract, which was recently extended, expires Friday, April 25 at 11:59 p.m.
Members of TNG-CWA Local 39521 delivered more than 5,800 petitions to Purple Communications CEO John Ferron calling on the company to negotiate a fair contract. More than 225 video services interpreters, in Arizona, Denver, Oakland and San Diego joined the TNG local in 2012.
The Daily Beast is trying to deny overtime pay to some reporters by reclassifying them as creative employees. The New York Guild, TNG-CWA Local 31003, strongly opposed the move at a recent meeting with Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief John Avlon. Avlon said, "We don't write AP style," claiming that makes the work creative and ineligible for overtime.
"You can have an artfully crafted news article," Guild Representative Susan DeCarava said. "But that doesn't make it a piece of creative writing. Facts matter, accuracy matters, and part of the work of our members is to research and report the news in a way that adheres to journalistic standards."
The Daily Beast is an online news and opinion site.
The Philadelphia Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA Local 38010, can join the legal dispute between rival owners and potentially make its own bid for its newspapers and websites, a Delaware judge ruled Monday.
"I'm thrilled," said Guild Executive Director Bill Ross, whose local represents about 550 of the nearly 1,800 employees at Interstate General Media Holdings L.L.C. IGM also owns the Philadelphia Daily News, three websites, and a printing plant. "I think the judge recognized our involvement. Once it is determined which type of auction it will be, I think we'll be in a position to discuss who our potential bidders might be."
AT&T Mobility Network employees in Oregon now have CWA representation. The American Arbitration Association certified that a majority of workers indicated that they wanted a CWA voice. Local 7901 President and CWA At-large Executive Board member Madelyn Elder coordinated this campaign.
Don't miss next week's town hall call, on Thursday, Apr. 17, starting at 7:30 pm ET. The call will last half an hour.
This month, we'll talk about how our AT&T Mobility members are bargaining for and winning real improvements at work, and we'll hear from workers at Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile who want those same bargaining rights and are standing up and fighting back against anti-union management. And we'll talk about how CWAers can be a part of these campaigns at Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile US.
Register at http://cwa-union.org/cwacall.
April 8 was Pay Equity Day.
It marked the number of extra days in 2014 women must work to earn what men earned in 2013. Because the average woman brings in a smaller paycheck than a man, she must work much, much longer – one year, three months and eight days to be exact. And for women of color, that wage gap is even bigger.
One major reason the wage gap persists is because it's so difficult to prove that you're being paid less than a co-worker who does the same job. This is especially true in workplaces with a "gag rule" where workers are discouraged or prohibited from sharing wage and salary information.
But on Tuesday, President Obama signed an executive order that ends the "gag rule" by prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who share pay information. The president also directed the Labor Department to require federal contractors to provide compensation data based on gender and race. Both of these orders are important for shedding light on the pay disparities that exist and getting us closer to closing the wage gap for employees of federal contractors.
Still equal pay has a long road ahead.
The very next day, the Senate fell six votes short of moving forward the Paycheck Fairness Act. It was the third time Senate Republicans blocked a vote to open debate on the legislation that would hold employers more accountable for wage discrimination against women.
CWA's National Women's Committee has pushed hard to highlight pay fairness and build congressional support for the issue. In advance of the Senate vote, National Women's Committee members mobilized CWA's human rights network and activists, encouraging them to call their elected officials and push them to support paycheck fairness.
So-called "right to work" legislation stalled in the Missouri House on Wednesday when extremists failed to get the 82 votes they needed to advance the bill to the Senate. It was a strong rebuke to the Koch Brothers, ALEC and Grover Norquist who are all attempting to make it easier for corporations to exploit their employees by weakening workers' ability to collectively bargain. There will be a final vote next week. If that fails, right-to-work can't advance.
Gov. Jay Nixon said, "At a time when we should be focused on policies that create jobs and move our state forward, this misguided political maneuver would take us backward by undermining workers and weakening our economy. I will continue to stand on the side of the hard-working men and women of Missouri as we work together to build a brighter, more prosperous future for our state."
CWA members from CWA Locals 6300, 6301, 6312, 6314, 6355, 6360, 6450 and IUE-CWA Local 86116 and D6 staff A.J. Villegas and Kara Hutchason were among the thousands of union and progressive activists who rallied at the State Capitol and lobbied their representatives to vote against the right to work bill and a "paycheck deception" bill which silences the voice of working families. Unfortunately the same out-of-state special interests pushing "right-to-work for less" were able to narrowly get "paycheck deception" bill through the House. It now moves to the Senate, but the good news is that Nixon vetoed a similar measure last year.
Empire State College of the State University of New York is now accepting applications for the Morton Bahr Online Learning Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year.
The scholarship honors the commitment to educational opportunity and online learning of Morton Bahr, CWA's president emeritus and an Empire State College alumnus. It helps union members and other workers achieve their education and life goals by providing access to higher education through distance learning.
Students who receive the scholarship will study online through Empire State College's Center for Distance Learning.
Since its inception in 2001, the Bahr scholarship has helped 61 students continue their education through distance learning.
The deadline for applications is May 15.
Union workers, family members and domestic partners interested in working toward a degree at Empire State College are eligible. To submit an application online or to download the form, visit www.esc.edu/bahr.
Members of CWA Local 3181 in Palm Beach County, Fla., at a volunteer project last year.
Below: Local 3181 members and leaders are honored by the United Way for outstanding volunteerism. From left, CWA Palm Beach County steward Michelle Balcom, Palm Beach County Vice President Mark Warme who was named outstanding union member, and Local President Rick Poulette.
CWA Local 3181 members were recognized by the United Way of Palm Beach County, Fla., for their volunteer efforts in 2013. Also honored by the United Way was Local 3181 Palm Beach County Vice President Mark Warme who received the "outstanding union member" award.
Local President Rick Poulette praised CWAers for their work that is a great help to local communities. "Let's keep it going," he said. CWAers painted houses, worked at the local food bank, provided assistance and services to elderly residents, and more.
Local 3181 represents public workers in Palm Beach, County; St. Lucie County School District and the Village of Tequesta.
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Piedmont Flight Attendants Ratify New Agreement
On multiple fronts, and joining together with other unions involved in the US Airways-American Airlines merger, AFA and CWA are working to ensure economic and job security for all airline workers. This week, while AFA-CWA American Eagle leaders held American Airlines senior management accountable for the future of their regional carrier, Piedmont Flight Attendants at US Airways Express secured their future employment at the merged airline by ratifying a new agreement. Piedmont Flight Attendants gained pay increases and work rule improvements – the latest in a series of significant steps that hold management accountable for the promises made during merger discussions.
"Through unity and determination, Piedmont Flight Attendants have a new contract that reflects some of our top priorities. Our professional contributions have been crucial in creating opportunities within the new American Airlines network. We look forward to our future at the world's largest airline," said AFA-CWA Piedmont MEC President Anita Jwanouskos.
The American Airlines and US Airways merger also has directly impacted workers at US Airways' wholly owned subsidiaries American Eagle, Piedmont and PSA, as well as at airlines that do contract flying, Mesa Airlines and Air Wisconsin.
"Our pilots rejected a tentative agreement asserting that there are limits to the sacrifices American Eagle workers are willing to make, especially given the profitability of our airline," said AFA American Eagle MEC President Robert Barrow. "Management continues to miss the mark in meeting us halfway. The hard working employees of American Eagle are important partners in ensuring the successful future of our airline and this merger."
The solidarity of Piedmont Airlines ramp and passenger service agents, Flight Attendants and pilots who do regional, contract and mainline flying ultimately will compel management to deliver on promises made and create a successful merger.
"With AFA and CWA taking the lead in coordination with other unions to close the remaining loopholes, we are holding management accountable and building unity among workers at the new American," said AFA-CWA International President Veda Shook. "This ultimately strengthens the bargaining position of all workgroups involved in the merger."
On February 28, 2014, the US Airways and American Flight Attendants approved the Agreement on Bargaining and Representation (ABR), which includes a Negotiations Protocol Agreement with management and a consensual agreement to join the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. The ABR combines the strength and resources of both unions, guaranteeing that the best provisions of the existing contracts will form the basis for negotiating a joint collective bargaining agreement.
"This agreement paves the way for our combined membership to negotiate the industry-leading contract we deserve," said Roger Holmin, AFA President at US Airways. "Working together, and with the support of all 24,000 Flight Attendants, we will achieve the very best at the world's biggest airline."
The Piedmont Flight Attendants' new agreement builds unity, strengthens the bargaining position of all workers and moves the merger forward for airline workers.