CWA e-Newsletter: August 15, 2013
- Bargaining Update
- New Online Courses for CWA Members
- Thousands of Immigration Reform Advocates Descend on Rep. McCarthy's Office
- Governor Signs Massive Voter Suppression Law in North Carolina
- Mine Workers Reach Tentative Agreement with Patriot Coal, Fight for Fairness for 23,000 Retirees Goes On
Members of CWA Local 3902 in Birmingham, Ala., tell AT&T Internet, "We won't work for peanuts."
AT&T National Internet Contract
CWA reached a tentative agreement with AT&T Internet covering 3,500 technicians and call center workers in 14 states. The bargaining team worked hard to gain a fair contract that made improvements in wage and related issues. Details of the tentative contract are being provided to locals and members; the bargaining committee unanimously recommends ratification.
The planned ratification vote for a tentative contract covering 6,500 passenger service employees at US Airways has been put on hold, following the U.S. Department of Justice's announcement that it is seeking to block the merger of US Airways and American Airlines. Agents are represented by CWA and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The tentative agreement was an interim settlement while the merger moved forward. While US Airways maintains that the merger will be completed, the time frame will be longer and the unions concluded it would be better to evaluate all options before proceeding with the vote.
CWA's Telecommunications and Technologies bargaining team reached a second tentative agreement with OFS, covering about 280 CWA members at plants in Sturbridge, Mass., and Atlanta, Ga. OFS workers manufacture high performance fibers for video, voice and data transmission.
The ratification date for the tentative CenturyLink agreement is Sept. 27, 2013. Get more information here.
This tentative agreement covers 11,000 CWA legacy Qwest/CenturyLink members in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa. CenturyLink workers in Montana are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
In a vote conducted by the NLRB, employees at KQED in San Jose, Calif., voted 3-0 for NABET-CWA representation.
In KQED's main San Francisco office, NABET-CWA Local 59051 currently represents more than 100 employees in 11 different units. San Francisco contract negotiations have been ongoing since the contract expired last October, and the union had proposed including the San Jose employees into the KQED-NABET collective bargaining agreement to prevent the company from moving production to San Jose for non-union work. The company rejected NABET-CWA's proposal and told negotiators that they knew how to organize San Jose workers if they wanted to represent them. So they did!
Check out CWA/NETT Academy's new website, http://www.cwanett.org/, which showcases an expanded platform of courses and program options. There are now more than 100 courses, covering everything from professional development in computer technology, finance and administration to personal development in creative arts, language programs and more. These new classes are priced $99-$110 each and each has six weeks of instructor-led, online instruction.
From telecom techs gaining Cisco certifications to broadcast technicians and editors taking Final Cut Pro, thousands of CWAers have taken advantage of the top flight instructors and courses offered through CWA/NETT.
CWA District 9 activists march to Rep. Kevin McCarthy's office.
Below: CWA members call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
It was the largest caravan in California history.
Thousands of workers and immigrant-rights advocates from dozens of California cities traveled by bus, car and motorcycle to Bakersfield to call on GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. McCarthy, the third-ranking Republican in the House, serves as majority whip and has a huge influence over whether immigration reform will get a vote.
CWA locals 9003, 9423, 9408, 9416, 9415, 9505, 9509, 9412, 9511, 9586, 9119, 59053 and 9510 joined other labor unions, faith organizations, students, LGBT groups, human rights leaders, elected officials and other allies on "The Path to Citizenship Goes through Bakersfield." Activists ended their caravan in a city park before marching to McCarthy's office.
It was the latest action in a series of rallies, sit-ins and protests across the country, as Republican lawmakers visit their home districts during the August recess.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) on Monday signed into law an extreme voter suppression bill that puts heavy restrictions on the state's voters. It immediately was challenged by the North Carolina NAACP, the Advancement Project, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and the A. Philip Randolph Institute.
Ever since the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder, invalidating a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, states like North Carolina have adopted extreme and restrictive voting changes, and other Republican-controlled legislatures are looking at similar restrictions.
"North Carolina has a long and sad history of official discrimination against African Americans, including official discrimination in voting that has touched upon the right of African Americans and other people of color to register, vote, or otherwise participate in the democratic process," the SCSJ and ACLU lawsuit pointed out. "Over the past 30 years in North Carolina, there have been over thirty successful cases brought under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and forty objections to discriminatory changes to voting laws lodged by the Department of Justice under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act...Based on concerns about intimidation at the polling place, the United States Justice Department sent federal observers to North Carolina." Read more here.
Here's what the new North Carolina law does:
- Eliminates a week of early voting.
- Ends same-day voter registration and requires that all changes to address and other information be made at least 25 days in advance of an election.
- Requires voters to show a government-issued photo ID.
- Allows "vigilantes" to challenge the rights of citizens to vote.
- Eliminates a high school civics program that registers tens of thousands of students to vote each year in advance of their 18th birthday.
- Weakens disclosure requirements for campaign ads.
McCrory said residents "overwhelmingly" support the "common sense" law. Except that they don't. A new poll by Public Policy Polling found that 50 percent of North Carolina voters say they oppose the measure; 39 percent say they support the bill.
Mine Workers Reach Tentative Agreement with Patriot Coal, Fight for Fairness for 23,000 Retirees Goes On
CWA activists support UMWA familes at a St. Louis rally.
Below: St. Louis Labor Council Vice President John Ebeling throws CWA's support behind mine workers.
The United Mine Workers reached a tentative settlement with bankrupt Patriot Coal on new terms and conditions of employment covering 1,800 active or laid off miners in West Virginia and Kentucky. The settlement makes big improvements over what federal Bankruptcy Judge Kathy Surratt-States ordered on May 29, and what Patriot implemented on July 1, the UMWA said.
"After several weeks of nearly around-the-clock negotiations, I believe we have reached something that can be taken to the membership for ratification," UMWA President Cecil E. Roberts said. "We have been able to restore, or at least improve upon, many of the most drastic changes that the Judge ordered, including in the area of wages, health care benefits, paid time off, pensions, and more. In addition, we have negotiated a mechanism that will allow retiree health care benefits to continue."
Workers will vote on the tentative settlement on Aug. 16.
The campaign against Peabody Energy and Arch Coal continues, however. On Tuesday, UMWA families and allies rallied in front of Peabody Energy's corporate headquarters in St. Louis. John Ebeling, vice president of the St. Louis Central Labor Council and print and media sector vice president of CWA Local 6300, said, "the fight will go on and on until there is victory."
"I salute every one of you for the sacrifices you make to keep this fight alive!" he told the crowd. "Peabody owes these brothers and sisters $1.3 billion. They have given out more than $1.3 billion in bonuses in the last few years."
In a classic example of corporate greed and despite its profitability, Peabody created Patriot Coal in 2007 and gave that company 11 percent of its assets, 43 percent of its retiree liability and some underwater coal contracts, the UMWA said. The overwhelming majority, some 90 percent, of retirees whose retiree health care will be slashed never worked for Patriot. Then, in 2008, Patriot bought Arch-spinoff Magnum Coal, and Arch saddled that company with 12 percent of its assets and 96 percent of its retiree health-care liabilities.
CWA members have been a big part of the campaign, joining rallies in St. Louis, West Virginia and Kentucky to pressure Peabody Energy and Arch Coal to meet their responsibilities to retired miners and their families. CWAers in West Virginia have an especially strong partnership with UMWA miners who are standing up with CWA members in their contract fight at Frontier Communications.
"We're back at Peabody because that's where this problem started. Executives at Peabody Energy created Patriot, they failed to give it enough assets to meet its obligations, and we're not going to sit idly by and let miners and their families pay the price," Roberts said.
The bankruptcy ruling affected 23,000 retired miners and their families who face the loss of their health care benefits.