CWA e-Newsletter: Jan. 2, 2014
- 1.3 Million Americans Just Lost Unemployment Insurance
- Tell Congress Fast Track is the Wrong Track
- Winter CWA News is Now Online
- CWA's Online Learning Program Soars in 2013
- Sign Up for CWA's Next Town Hall Call
- President Cohen on MSNBC's Ed Show Tonight
Federal unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed expired last weekend, cutting off a vital lifeline for the 1.3 million people who have been searching for new work for six months or longer.
Why? Because Congress failed to reauthorize the program before the end of the year.
"One of the problems is that Congress does so little. How do you tell 1.3 million unemployed Americans that we just didn't get to the issue of extending unemployment benefits?" said CWA President Larry Cohen. "That Congress failed to act to extend benefits that would have helped long-term jobless workers in 49 states is an outrage. It's a moral issue, but also an economic one. All that money provided in unemployment benefits gets put back into the economy."
The emergency federal unemployment program started in 2008 – in the middle of the Great Recession – to provide up to 47 weeks of benefits for jobless Americans still looking for work after their state unemployment benefits ran out.
Right now, about 11 million Americans are unemployed. And there are more than 4 million people who have been unemployed for six months or longer – the worst long-term unemployment crisis since the Great Depression.
When Congress reconvenes on Jan. 6, it's expected to tackle whether to renew the program. An extension through 2014 would support 310,000 jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Let's tell our lawmakers to act quickly.
Next week, lawmakers are expected to introduce a "fast track" bill intended to speed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal through Congress. It will deny our elected representatives a chance to discuss and improve a dangerous trade deal that could have serious repercussions for workers' rights, and CWA and our allies are determined to stop it.
Fast track – also known as Trade Promotion Authority – threatens to make an already secretive negotiating process among 12 Pacific Rim countries worse. Under fast track, Congress would have just 90 days for an up-or-down vote on the trade deal – without any opportunities for amendments.
Congress's job is to represent the people. And TPP negotiators have already gone to great lengths to limit the general public's knowledge of this far-reaching deal, shutting out labor unions, environmentalists, open internet groups, consumer advocates and many other public interest organizations. Right now, 600 corporate advisors can read and comment on the negotiating texts, while the rest of us can only piece together news from leaked chapters.
What we've discovered is chilling: The TPP would give giant multinational corporations new powers to circumvent important U.S. laws concerning working conditions and workers' rights, the environment, public health and more. It would offshore millions of American jobs and erode wages here at home. It would increase the price of life-saving medicines, make it illegal to unlock your cell phone, roll back Wall Street reforms and expose the U.S. marketplace to unsafe food.
Now is the time to urge our lawmakers to focus on extending the emergency federal unemployment program (see first story) and creating jobs, not passing a trade agreement that will ship jobs overseas. Congress must stand up and oppose fast track before it's too late.
All this month, CWA and allies will leaflet and contact members of Congress. CWAers will be rallying at congressional district offices to tell their lawmakers, "We want fair trade, not free trade. No fast track."
We're also planning a series of webinars about the TPP and fast track for our activists, and holding tele-town halls.
Mark your calendars: January 22 will be a national day of action with our coalition partners to put the pressure on Congress to stop fast track.
Learn more at www.stopthetpp.org.
The latest CWA News is online, with a big focus on the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. It's full of information about why we need fair trade, not free trade.
Participation in online courses and resources at CWA/NETT Academy has grown by more than 300 percent.
More than 50 members graduated with CWA sponsored online degrees in telecommunications and networking alone. In addition, 410 industry-recognized certifications have been earned through the CWA/NETT Academy. Earlier this year, CWA/NETT partnered with Bismarck State College, rated as a top 25 school by U.S. News & World Report, and immediately added more than 50 new courses and resources.
Last year, CWA members took more than 900 courses at no cost through CWA's unique partnership with Lynda.com. See what's available here.
In 2014, CWA/NETT will continue to provide unlimited access to free and cost effective programs to members and their families. Just create your account with CWA/NETT and take advantage of these great opportunities in workforce training.
If you haven't joined CWA's monthly telephone town hall call, you're missing a lot. The 30-minute calls are held the third Thursday of every month, at 7:30 pm, ET. The next call will be Thursday, Jan. 16. Register at http://cwa-union.org/cwacall.
In 2013, we heard from our activists, CWA leaders, Senators like Tom Harkin and Jeff Merkley, top administration officials including Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, allies like Executive Directors Phil Radford, Greenpeace, and Michael Brune, Sierra Club, AFSCME President Lee Saunders and more. This year, we're expanding our fight to win economic justice and democracy, and these calls will keep you up to date with all the latest.
Tune in to MSNBC's Ed Show at 5 pm, ET, tonight. CWA President Larry Cohen will talk about economic recovery from workers' perspective, and the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.
If you missed it, listen to President Cohen on Ed Radio Dec. 30.