CWA e-Newsletter: Feb. 19, 2015
- Brooklyn Cablevision Workers Get Contract after Three-Year Fight
- Members of Congress, Home for Recess, Face Calls to Reject Fast Track for TPP
- Cohen Takes Down Rubio on MSNBC
- Bargaining Update
- Organizing Update
- A Multitude Rally in W.Va. Against Cut to State Prevailing Wage, Right-to-Work Bills
- CWA Telephone Town Hall Call is on Tonight
- Standing Strong with APWU
CWA and the IBEW have reached tentative agreements with FairPoint Communications, ending months on the picket lines for about 2,000 workers of the telecommunications company in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. A contract ratification vote is being scheduled.
Brooklyn Cablevision workers voted by a strong margin at CWA Local 1109 on Saturday to ratify an historic two-year contract with the company. The 262 workers covered by the agreement, the only unionized workers in the Cablevision system, had voted to join CWA in January 2012, and negotiations on this agreement began in late May 2012. 33 months later, the workers finally have a contract.
"Many of us never thought we'd see this night come," said Rey Meyers, one of the leaders of the organizing and contract campaign at Cablevision. "Many workers had given up hope. But we stuck together through thick and thin, and we've won a contract that gives us the biggest raises we've ever gotten, and even more important, our dignity on the job."
The contract goes into effect on March 1 and includes the following provisions:
- Substantial wage increases that bring Brooklyn workers to 96 percent of wage parity with Cablevision workers throughout the rest of the company. This level of parity will be maintained throughout the life of the two-year agreement.
- Employees can only be disciplined or discharged for misconduct for "just cause."
- A three-step grievance and arbitration procedure, providing for independent arbitration of disputes arising under the contract.
- Workers will receive the same health and 401(k) pension benefits provided to Cablevision workers throughout the rest of the footprint.
- The right to post materials on a union Bulletin Board inside the Cablevision garages in Brooklyn.
"We are looking forward to opening a new page in our relationship with management," said Chris Shelton, vice president of CWA District 1. "Our members stuck together for three years and in the end, persuaded Cablevision that a fair deal acceptable to management and labor was possible. This is an historic achievement at Cablevision."
CWA Local 1109 President Tony Spina said, "CWA members are proud of what we achieved working together, and that's reflected in today's vote. While no contract is perfect, our members will receive solid raises, a strong benefits package, and a voice on the job. This agreement begins a new chapter in the Cablevision-CWA relationship."
CWA activists and our coalition partners across the nation have one message for members of Congress back home on recess: Vote No on Fast Track Authority for trade deals.
In Texas, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman met with executives of cosmetics giant Mary Kay, then he and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX 30th Congressional District) met with about 30 representatives from unions, greens, civil rights and consumer groups to hear concerns about the Fast Track trade bill and the TPP. At first, Froman refused to meet with more than four representatives, but he agreed when the group insisted he meet with all or none of them.
The delegation led by CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings urged Rep. Johnson, who is undecided, to reject Fast Track Authority because to vote for it would be abdication of her constitutional responsibility to examine and amend trade deals, including the TPP.
A trade deal that includes countries like Vietnam and Brunei, Cummings said, can only put downward pressure on wages in the U.S. Fast Track can only pull the wool over the eyes of lawmakers before they even get a chance to see what's in the TPP.
Protesters posed uncomfortable questions for Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO, 2nd Congressional District) about his perch on the fence about the bad Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bill and the attempt to ram it through Congress with Fast Track Authority. Boulder radio and television stations and the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper covered the rally at his office.
"The secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership is an impending disaster for the American economy. With TPP, tens of thousands of American jobs will be sent overseas, even in greater numbers than previous failed so-called trade agreements," CWA Colorado Political Director Dave Felice said.
Protesters gathered outside the Springfield, MA, Federal Building on State Street to support a "no" vote by Congressman Richard Neal on a bill to Fast Track trade legislation, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.
The Washington State opposition to Fast Track for the TPP took the form of a coalition bus tour to Mount Vernon and Tacoma as people stood up for working families, the environment and ensuring people have a fair opportunity to make a good living in the United States.
In Yonkers, NY, activities included a People's Town Hall to air out opposition to Fast Track for trade deals and talked about the potentially disastrous effects of the TPP on the U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel sent staff to read a statement of support for the actions against Fast Track.
In Sacramento, Calif., CWAers and allies Alliance for Democracy; College Democrats, Sacramento State; SEIU Local 1000 Environmental Committee; Sierra Club; Citizens Trade Campaign; Democratic Veterans Club of Sacramento; Democratic Party of Sacramento County; Sacramento Central Labor Council; American Postal Workers Union; and Food & Water Watch held a town hall where they called on U.S. Reps. Bera and Matsui to oppose Fast Track and the TPP.
CWA President Larry Cohen talks with MSNBC host Ed Schultz about the continuing attack on workers' ability to bargain being waged by Republicans, most recently Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
Mobility Puerto Rico Workers Authorize Strike
Employees of AT&T Mobility in Puerto Rico have voted to authorize union leadership to call a strike if ongoing negotiations fail to produce a new contract by midnight tomorrow.
The contract covers more than 1,000 union members working as customer service representatives, salespersons and network and infrastructure technicians. Ninety-five percent of the voting members in CWA Local 3010 approved the move, if it becomes necessary.
"AT&T profited more than $34 billion last year, has been awarded for two years in a row with the prestigious J.D. Power Award and continues to be the No. 1 wireless company in customer service. We are not willing to lose what we have and we will not accept less than what we deserve," said CWA Local 3010 President Luis Benitez.
The bargaining committee has been in Atlanta trying to reach an agreement with the company since the beginning of the month. Meanwhile, Mobility workers around the country have been showing their support by taking pictures of themselves holding signs with the message "Si se puede" and "#PRSolidarity."
On Friday, all employees in Puerto Rico will go to work wearing black.
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Missouri Jobs with Justice Ratifies New Contract
Missouri Jobs with Justice employees, who are represented by the United Media Guild, have unanimously ratified a new three-year contract featuring pay increases in each year of the agreement. Read more here.
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NY Newspaper Guild: Time, Inc. Pocketing Workers' Retirement
The Newspaper Guild of New York has filed multiple charges with the National Labor Relations Board against Time, Inc., after learning the company has been cheating employees out of 2 percent of a promised 7 percent 401(k) match. Guild leaders report that amount totaled about $450,000 for 2014. Read more here.
Hartford, CT TV Workers, Including Anchors and Editors, Vote for NABET-CWA
Hartford, CT's WTIC Fox 61 station anchors, reporters, meteorologists, news photographers, editors, and assignment desk editors have voted for a voice in the workplace by choosing NABET-CWA representation in an NLRB election. The vote in the election held yesterday was 35 yes, 17 no, with one abstention.
Workers at the station weathered an intense anti-union campaign by Tribune, the station's corporate owner.
But even with repeated emails and captive-audience group and individual meetings, the anti-union campaign failed. Leaders of NABET-CWA Local 51017 provided support and NABET-CWA Staff Representative Carrie Biggs-Adams worked with the group from first contact to election.
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Illinois ATT Mobility Technicians join CWA
Six AT&T Mobility Network employees in Illinois (former Alltel) won union recognition last week to be represented by CWA Local 4202. All six new members signed recognition cards. CWA Local President Holly Sorey worked on the campaign.
It was a show of force many in these parts had not seen in years.
As many as 2,000 workers, including CWA Staff Representative Elaine Harris and other CWAers, from around the state trudged through a foot of snow, wind and blistering cold on Monday to speak out against anti-worker bills under consideration by the legislature at the State Capitol.
West Virginia GOP candidates kept their anti-worker agenda carefully hidden during last fall's campaigns. But no sooner did they arrive in office than they started in on workers with efforts to cut prevailing wages and turn West Virginia into a right-to-work state.
Showing up in such numbers, especially under such brutal conditions, is an indication workers in this state will stand up and fight back when they are under attack.
CWA activists working on the Stop the Fast Track campaign, including Nick Mazzeo, VP, Local 1152, Dan Kozak, Local 1120, and Shelley Hunt, Local 6201, will be on tonight's CWA town hall call, starting at 7:30 pm ET. The call will last half an hour.
You can listen to the call online at http://cwa-union.org/cwalisten.
Bargaining opened today for members of the American Postal Workers Union who are in tough negotiations with the USPS. CWAers and members of more than 60 organizations are supporting that fight.
So is actor Danny Glover, a champion of keeping a vibrant public Postal Service. Check out this video.