CWA e-Newsletter: August 8, 2013
- No Town Hall Call in August
- Big Changes at Major News Dailies
- Bargaining Update
- March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
- Immigration Reform Fight Moves into August Recess
- Fair Trade, Not Free Trade
- CWA Locals Join Chevron Protest at California Refinery
- 2 CWA Activists Join Pride at Work Board of Directors
- 'Press 1 for America' Call Center Jobs Bill Introduced in Congress
There won't be a CWA telephone town hall call in August, but be sure to keep up with the latest at www.cwa-union.org. Tune in Sept. 19 for the next town hall call.
The purchase of the Washington Post by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is an opportunity to build a new model for profitable journalism, TNG-CWA said.
"This is potentially an entirely new era for the Post," TNG-CWA President Bernie Lunzer said. "Our members have made the Post one of America's most engaging, high-quality and vital news products, and we see the sale as an opportunity to build on that and create a model for profitable journalism."
TNG-CWA represents nearly 900 editorial and commercial workers at the Post, and is in the process of bargaining a new contract. Mailers and handlers at the newspaper are members of the CWA Printing, Publishing and Media Workers Sector.
"We are eager to work with the new management to continue the proud traditions of quality journalism," said TNG-CWA Local 32031 Executive Director Cet Parks. "We expect Mr. Bezos to respect the status of all unions at the paper."
Bezos has said there will be no immediate change in management, operations, or staff. Bargaining for a new contract will continue.
The New York Times Co. has sold The Boston Globe to John W. Henry, principal owner of the Boston Red Sox. TNG-CWA Local 31245 represents 500 members at the newspaper.
EFE Guild members hold hands during mobilization in Miami.
Bulletin in the Philadelphia AP bureau.
AT&T Internet Service workers, who have been working without a contract since July 14, rally in Dallas on Tuesday.
Below: CWA Local 6508 members held an informational picket in Little Rock, Arkansas.
CWA Local 9413 Vice President Mayette Arii on "Pack Your Bags" day.
Tentative Agreement Reached at US Airways
CWA and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters reached a tentative agreement covering 6,500 passenger service employees at US Airways. Read more about the agreement here.
The tentative agreement provides for wage increases at every step for all passenger service employees and includes a ratification bonus. It also provides critical job security protections, an important issue for workers as the US Airways-American Airlines merger goes forward.
Agents from US Airways and American Airlines have launched a joint campaign to make certain they have a strong union voice at the merged airline.
"Working together, passenger service employees at US Airways have built a strong, united group that will continue to make advances for all agents as the US Airways-American Airlines merger proceeds," said CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins.
The IBT and CWA together represent the reservations and airport agents.
Balloting information will be sent out August 14, with telephone and electronic ballots tabulated on August 28.
CWA local union presidents representing 1,600 CWAers at Frontier Communications in West Virginia agreed to extend the contract through Oct. 12, 2013 while negotiations continue. The contract was to expire on Aug. 2.
On last week's town hall call, the CWA bargaining team said it was committed to getting a quality contract at Frontier: "Frontier made a commitment to us and to the state of West Virginia to keep good jobs in our state and we're going to hold the company to that pledge," the committee said. "This bargaining committee will not give up and will fight for our members' futures."
"We'll all keep working to get a fair contract: our bargaining committee, elected officials who are standing with us, community groups and everyone who has a stake in this," said CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney.
Bargaining continues with OFS Fiber Optics for a new contract covering about 280 CWA members at plants in Sturbridge, Mass., and Atlanta, Ga. CWA's Telecommunications and Technologies bargaining team resumed negotiations after an earlier tentative agreement was turned down by members. OFS workers manufacture high performance fibers for video, voice and data transmission.
EFE News Service
After 20 months of tough bargaining, Guild negotiators announced a tentative agreement with EFE News Services that provides a two-year period of unpaid furloughs, followed by the first wage increase for the company's U.S. staff since 2008.
Guild leadership has approved the tentative pact, which now goes to members for a ratification vote. Read more here.
The News Media Guild and the Associated Press continue negotiations on a new contract. Bargainers discussed a wide range of issues including photographers, mileage minimums, workloads and Invision. Read more here.
Bargaining continues for a new contract covering 3,000 technicians and call center workers in 14 states at AT&T Internet. Members of CWA Local 6215 rallied outside AT&T headquarters in Dallas, calling on the company to bargain a fair contract for Internet workers. AT&T recently bought the naming rights for the Dallas Cowboys football stadium. CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings joined the rally, and said AT&T was put on notice that workers would rally until a fair contract is reached.
CWA Local 4900 tried a new approach to communicating with members after management complained about workers posting union information in their cubicles. Check out the floating leaflets (bottom right).
Fifty years ago, more than 200,000 people gathered in the nation's capital to demand civil liberty and economic opportunity for all. The march was the largest demonstration for jobs and freedom in the country's history, and it was there that Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his celebrated "I Have a Dream" speech.
On Aug. 24, civil rights, labor and social justice organizations will be rallying once again on the National Mall to honor the historic demonstration. We will be gathering together not as a commemoration, but as a continuation and a call to action. Despite the progress America has made, we still have a long way to go to fulfill the goals of the original march.
Will you join us?
Immigration Reform Fight Moves into August Recess
After a sit-in at GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s office, CWAers left signs calling on the congressman to "keep your promise."
Below: CCI member talks to GOP Rep. Tom Latham.
Immigration reform advocates aren't taking an August recess. Across the country, CWA activists and partners are flooding town halls, meeting with their members of Congress and holding rallies to support a comprehensive bill with a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrations.
Even before Congress left for its August recess, CWAers and other activists held a sit-in at Rep. Kevin McCarthy's (R-CA) office. The demonstrators stayed about four hours, then left some reminders for the congressman and his staff. Posters called on McCarthy to "keep your promise" and asked "where's our meeting." Rob England of CWA Local 9416 said more actions are planned for McCarthy's district office next week.
Also in California, more than 150 actions are in the works targeting House Republican leaders and members, including Majority Whip McCarthy and Reps. Paul Cook, Jeff Denham, Buck McKeon, Gary Miller and Darrell Issa. At the "Countdown to Citizenship" campaign launch in Los Angeles on Tuesday, AFL-CIO's Maria Elena Durazo joined Mayor Eric Garcetti and more than 100 community organizations and leaders from the faith, labor, LGBT, student, civic engagement, business, and immigrant rights sectors to say, "Let us have a vote for immigration reform."
In Iowa, more than 50 members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement packed a meeting with Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) to share their stories and demand action on the pathway to citizenship. "After I left the police force in Mexico, I was assaulted because I'd been a cop. That's no way for my family to live, in such violence," said Constantino Morales, a CCI member. "I decided to come here. Soon after, ICE came for me at work and I'm in deportation proceedings now. If I'm sent back, I will face more violence and could lose my life," he told Latham. But when asked if he supported a pathway to citizenship, Latham refused.
In Illinois, GOP Rep. Aaron Schock told his constituents, "I think that at some point, when the border is secured and people pay their taxes and they haven't committed any violations of laws. They have been here for a provisionary period, then they can apply for citizenship."
In Texas, almost 50 immigration reform activists from TexasRITA and other groups gathered at Rep. Blake Farenthold's district office to deliver 10,000 petitions asking him to support immigration reform and a path to citizenship.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's immigration reform group, FWD.us, is bombarding TV airwaves with a six-figure ad buy aimed at on-the-fence members of Congress over the recess. Watch it here.
A coalition of 39 House Democrats has sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner telling the Republican leader to introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill with a pathway to citizenship by September 30, 2013 or the leading group of moderates in the House of Representatives will advance its own bill to fix to the nation's broken immigration system. The New Democrat Coalition is a group of 53 moderate, pro-growth House Members that's been around since 1997.
"We are frustrated that there was not a bipartisan immigration reform bill introduced prior to the August recess," the letter said, citing broad bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
"From the beginning of this Congress, the New Democrats and I have been optimistic that we can work with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get immigration reform done this year," said New Dem Immigration Task Force Co-Chair Rep. Joaquin Castro. (D-TX) "This is an issue that transcends party, region, industry and affects the totality of the American family. Americans across the nation have spoken up because they know that fixing our broken immigration system not only means that there will be more avenues for innovators to come to our shores, but also that the millions of people coming out of the shadows will boost our economy as consumers and business owners."
Get ready: CWA activists and members of TakeAction Minnesota will be marching and rallying for Fair Trade – not Free Trade – agreements.
On Aug. 20, they'll be taking over downtown Minneapolis to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a super treaty that could potentially jeopardize the sovereignty of nations by giving more power to large corporations. CWA President Larry Cohen will be speaking about how the agreement threatens to destroy jobs, wages, consumer protections, the environment and more.
Right now, the deal is being discussed behind closed doors. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) was recently one of the few members of Congress to have limited access to the negotiation documents. While he wasn't allowed to talk about the texts in detail, the news wasn't good.
"Having seen what I've seen, I would characterize this as a gross abrogation of American sovereignty," Grayson told The Huffington Post. "And I would further characterize it as a punch in the face to the middle class of America."
It's time to speak out! Register to attend the rally here.
Members of CWA Local 9412, UPTE-CWA 9119, and Pacific Media Workers Guild 39521 were a big part of the labor contingent at Aug. 3 march and protest in Richmond, CA, against Chevron, ongoing safety issues at the Richmond refinery, and the potential for more global warming if the company starts to process tar sands oil that would come from the XL pipeline.
The protest marked the one-year anniversary of an explosion at a Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif., which sent 15,000 area residents to local hospitals.
Nearly 3,000 protesters joined the demonstration and 210 were arrested when the march reached the refinery. More than 50 environmental, labor, community, and religious groups endorsed the action, including CWA partners Common Cause, Jobs with Justice, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and more.
Just after last year's explosion, the UC Berkeley Labor and Occupational Health Program helped create a coalition on refinery safety with labor and community activists.
CWA Local President 6355 Bradley Harmon and Local 6201 Legislative Chair Felipe Gutierrez will be representing CWA on Pride at Work's board of directors.
Pride at Work is a nonprofit organization and an officially recognized constituency group of the AFL-CIO working to build alliances between the labor movement and the LGBT community for social and economic justice.
With Harmon and Gutierrez's appointments, the board now has members hailing from regions of the country where the anti-worker forces have concentrated their efforts to undermine organized labor. Harmon and Gutierrez also come from states – Missouri and Texas – that have yet to pass legislation to prohibit employment discrimination against LGBT workers and passed constitutional amendments enshrining marriage discrimination into law.
Just last month, Harmon and Gutierrez participated in their first meeting in Vancouver, Washington.
Other CWA members on the board include CWA Legislative Director Shane Larson, who serves as Pride at Work's co-president; TNG-CWA's Gabe González, who serves as treasurer; TNG-CWA's Tiffany Heath, who serves as secretary; AFA-CWA Government Affairs Director Stephen Schembs, who represents AFA on the board; AFA-CWA's Stan Kiino, who represents the San Francisco chapter on the board; and retired TNG-CWA member Donna Cartwright, who serves as the diversity seat representative.
"This is just a continuation of CWA's long history, involvement and leadership in Pride at Work," said Larson. "From its founding almost 20 years ago until today, CWA has recognized the value of union contracts to LGBT workers."
U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and a bi-partisan group of legislators introduced the "U.S. Call Center and Worker Protection Act of 2013" (H.R. 2909), in Congress just before the start of the August recess.
"Press 1 For America," a part of the bill, requires call center employees to identify the country from which they are taking the call, and if that's outside the United States, offer consumers the opportunity to be transferred back to a U.S. facility. The bill bars federal grants, loans and subsidies to companies that send call center jobs offshore for three years, and requires that a list of companies that offshore be made available to the public. Firms that return jobs to the United States from overseas would be taken off that list.
"Companies that choose to outsource American call center jobs overseas should forfeit their eligibility for federal financial assistance – it's that simple," Bishop said.
In the last Congress, a similar bill had more than 130 bi-partisan co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, though the Republican majority leadership declined to allow a vote on the measure.
"Consumers should have choice in supporting companies that keep U.S. call center jobs. There should be no more handouts from taxpayers for those who choose not to keep good jobs here at home," said CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins.
Collins noted that in 2012, T-Mobile USA closed seven call centers in six states, affecting 3,300 working Americans and their communities, while at the same time increasing the number of service calls going to facilities in Central America and the Philippines.
State legislative efforts also have been building over the past year with bills being introduced in Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, New York and New Jersey, among other states.
The national bill also is sponsored by Democrats Mike Michaud (ME-2) and Gene Green (TX-29), along with Republicans David McKinley (WVA-1), Michael Grimm (NY-11) and Chris Gibson (NY-19).