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CWA e-Newsletter: July 23, 2015

July 23, 2015

CWA e-Newsletter

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Bargaining Update – NBC, Verizon and AT&T

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Breaking! NABET-CWA Reaches Tentative Contract at NBC Universal

The NABET-CWA Network Negotiating Committee reached a tentative agreement with NBC Universal for a new master agreement, following numerous bargaining sessions in New York and Los Angeles over the past several months. The tentative contract covers all NABET-CWA members at NBC, including some 2,700 staff and daily hire employees working as broadcast technicians in the studios and in the field for NBC News, NBC Sports and NBC Entertainment. It also covers building maintenance, air conditioning and plant maintenance personnel, staging services personnel, and couriers at network and TV station operations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.


NABET-CWA's NBC Universal bargaining team. From left: Ed Dabrowski, Local 54041; NABET-CWA President Charlie Braico; Lou Marinaro, Local 51011; Jodi Fabrizio-Clontz, NABET-CWA staff; Ed McEwan, Local 51011; Steve Ross, Local 59053, and Steve Mitnick, Local 52031.

The tentative agreement has the unanimous recommendation of the bargaining committee. Details will be provided to members and NABET-CWA Locals 51011 (New York), 52031 (Washington, D.C.), 54041 (Chicago) and 59053 (Los Angeles) will hold informational meetings in advance of the ratification votes that will be conducted over the next few weeks. The votes will be tallied on Aug. 14.

The tentative agreement provides for a general wage increase of 8.25 percent over the three-year contract term and significant economic gains for daily hire employees.

If ratified, the new contract will run through March 31, 2018.

Verizon: This Saturday Will Be Huge!

Expect a sea of red outside VZ headquarters as thousands of CWA and IBEW members from Massachusetts to Virginia rally in New York City this Saturday. We'll tell Verizon that "we will do whatever it takes for a fair contract" as the Aug. 1 contract expiration date nears.

Throughout Districts 1 and 2-13, members have been mobilizing to make sure management gets it: we want good jobs, and customers deserve a network that works, as well as state-of-the-art fiber optic FiOS.

Verizon Locals

Across Verizon territory, CWAers held informational pickets to stand up to Verizon. From left, CWA Local 2204 techs and operators in New River Valley, Va.; Local 1101 members in New York City and Local 1106 members in Queens, N.Y., all hold practice pickets.

CWAers from every local in District 2-13 will be getting on buses, as will CWA members from throughout District 1. Van pools also are being organized. If you haven't signed up yet, contact your local to get on the bus and get to the rally.

Members now are voting on authorizing leaders to call a strike if a fair contract can't be reached; the results will be announced at the Saturday rally.

Read more here.


AT&T Southeast Contracts Expire Aug. 8

With contracts set to expire on Aug. 8, CWAers throughout District 3 have been turning up the heat on AT&T. Workers are mobilizing for fair contracts at AT&T Southeast, AT&T Utility Operations, YP Holdings and BellSouth Billing. The contracts cover more than 28,000 workers.

AT&T is a very profitable company, posting a net profit of $6.5 billion in 2014. But at the bargaining table, it's demanding givebacks. AT&T has made a substandard health care proposal, is looking to contract out more work and hire more temporary employees, and wants detrimental changes in work rules.

AT&T Locals

CWAers across District 3 are fighting back against AT&T's giveback demands. Here, members of Local 3204 (left) in Atlanta build support for bargaining. Members of CWA Locals 3410 (center) in New Orleans and 3902 (right), Birmingham, Ala, tell AT&T: we want a "fair contract and nothing less."

Malaysia's Failure to Act on Human Trafficking Shouldn't Be Rewarded with Trade Benefits

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In a strongly worded letter, 160 members of Congress have urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry not to upgrade Malaysia's ranking in the U.S. State Department's annual "Trafficking in Persons" report.

Currently, Malaysia is listed as a Tier 3 country by the State Dept., indicating that it has done little or nothing to fight human trafficking. Keeping a Tier 3 rating would mean Malaysia couldn't participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The report is due out any day now, and many members of Congress, including Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT 3rd District); Peter Defazio (D-OR 4th District); Eliot Engle (D-NY 16th District) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH 9th District) are alarmed at media reports that the State Department will upgrade Malaysia to Tier 2 status.

"The TIP Report has become the global gold standard in assessing how well governments meet the challenge of human trafficking," the Congress members say in their July 17 letter. "Around the world, the report is regarded for its honesty and thoroughness. Governments understand that this report tells hard truths about the reality of human trafficking, and the State Department should not shy away from telling those hard truths to good friends. As a result, lawmakers and activists focused on trafficking in persons, including forced labor and other abusive practices, credit the TIP Report for making a real difference in this critical struggle."

Set up by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the law includes specific criteria as to how countries are ranked. Countries included on the Tier 2 Watch List but that do little or nothing to fight human trafficking are supposed to be downgraded to Tier 3; Malaysia was downgraded in 2014.

"This lack of effort is what brought Malaysia down to Tier 3 last year," the letter continued. "And we've seen no reason during the reporting period for this TIP Report that would justify moving Malaysia to the Watch List. If anything, the situation in Malaysia has grown worse."

Upgrading Malaysia will destroy the credibility of this critical report that is doing such good in the world, they said.

"We request that the Department carefully consider the rank Malaysia has earned...before finalizing this year's Trafficking in Persons Report."

Flight Attendants Take on Fight Against Human Trafficking

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AFA-CWA is mobilizing the aviation industry in the fight against human trafficking. Flight Attendants and supporters are calling on Congress to make the Department of Transportation/Department of Homeland Security's "Blue Lightning Initiative" a mandatory training program for all U.S. airlines through the FAA Reauthorization bill scheduled for action this year.

With Blue Lightning training, flight attendants become the eyes in the skies that are helping to stop the epidemic of human trafficking. Check out this AFA-CWA video.

President Shelton Talks Bargaining at the White House

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CWA President Chris Shelton and other union leaders met with President Obama at the White House last week.


Shelton had the opportunity to raise several issues and gave the President an overview of bargaining covering CWA members this year at General Electric, Verizon, AT&T, United Airlines and others. Shelton also raised concerns about the need for action on the executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose campaign contributions, Malaysia's failure to address human trafficking and ways the administration can help move the German government on the need to address the treatment of T-Mobile US workers who are harassed for wanting union representation.

AT&T-DirecTV Merger Nearing Full Regulatory Approval

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This week, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said he will recommend that the Commission approve the merger of AT&T and DirecTV.

Separately, the U.S. Justice Department also gave the green light to the merger, stating that, "after an extensive investigation, we concluded that the combination of AT&T's land-based internet and video business with DirecTV's satellite-based video business does not pose a significant risk to competition."

Wheeler said AT&T's merger with DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite TV company, will "directly benefit consumers by bringing more competition to the broadband marketplace" and by AT&T's pledge to deploy high-speed fiber to millions of customers, especially in rural areas. The combined DirecTV and AT&T will have more than 26 million customers.

In congressional hearings last year, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that the merged company will offer to DirecTV employees the option to collectively bargain, or not. "That will be their choice," he said.

Did You Miss Netroots Nation?

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Don't worry if you weren't able to make it to Arizona for Netroots Nation last week.

Our panel – A Movement Not a Moment: Fighting Fast Track in Arizona – is now online.

Over the past year, progressive activists joined together across the country to organize unprecedented grassroots opposition to the deeply flawed Fast Track process for passing trade deals. In the session, CWA National Political Director Rafael Navar moderated a panel discussion on how we built this movement and what lessons we can carry forward as we work together on other issues.

"This panel is both about the reality of what happened in this fight and telling the story about what took place," Navar told the crowd. "But it's also inspirational in that this fight really provided a moment for us to dream and think bigger than we have before as individual organizations."

Check out the video here.

Also don't miss Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) keynote speech and call to action.

"We're running out of time," Warren said. "The middle class in this country has been hacked at, squeezed, and hammered until it's nearly at the breaking point. Unions are under a brutal attack. With no job growth in the middle, the poor are trapped, with opportunity only a distant dream. A generation of young people is trapped in a slow-growth economy in the U.S. while giant corporations build investments overseas. And as our world heats up and our oceans rise, billionaires buy more and more elections to protect their interests in coal mines and oil wells. We're running out of time."

Watch the senator's entire speech here.

Mark Your Calendar, Journey for Justice Kicks Off Aug. 1

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Marchers joining America's Journey for Justice will leave Selma, Ala., on Aug. 1 and walk more than 800 miles to Washington, DC, focusing attention along the way on the need for public policies that protect the lives of Americans, the jobs of our citizens, and the people's right to vote.

Rallies and teach-ins will be held in communities from Alabama to Virginia, beginning Aug. 3 in Montgomery, Ala., and ending with a rally and lobby day at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 15.

The Journey for Justice is a project of the NAACP and partners including CWA, the Democracy Initiative, Common Cause, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, 1199 SEIU, The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Sierra Club, National Bar Association, Black Women's Roundtable and others.

Read more here.

Support T-Mobile Workers' Right to a Union Voice, Sign the Petition

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In just one week, more than 2,800 CWA members and supporters have signed the petition that will be presented to the German Parliament and spark further investigation of the anti-worker actions of T-Mobile US. T-Mobile is owned by the German company Deutsche Telekom and the German government is a principal owner of DT. While Deutsche Telekom respects the rights of workers in Germany, its operation in the U.S. uses harassment and intimidation to block workers who want a union voice. Leaders and members of the German union ver.di developed the petition which will result in a government hearing; more than 25,000 German activists already have signed on.

CWA President Chris Shelton is encouraging members of Congress to sign the petition and help move the effort forward with the German government. This week, Shelton met with leaders and members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The petition is available here. Please print it out, sign it and mail it back to CWA headquarters no later than August 1st:

Attn: Louise Novotny
501 Third Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001.


Sister Campbell

Sister Simone Campbell signed the petition last week at the AFL-CIO convention in Austin, TX.



The Confederation of German Trade Unions urges members to sign the petition.



Albuquerque activists signed and gathered signatures at the local Summerfest last weekend.

Organizing Update

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Cricket Workers Join CWA Through Majority Signup


Cricket retail employees in Idaho have joined CWA Local 7603, District 7 Administrative Director Al Kogler said. Local 7603 President Mike Frost and Executive Vice President Jarom Eisley led the effort to support the 16 workers from stores in Boise and Nampa to organize.


Twelve retail employees in two metro Milwaukee area stores are now members of CWA Local 4603, said CWA District 4 Organizing Coordinator Joy Roberts. Local 4603 Vice President Kim Ward and Chief Stewards Wendy Fonseca and Dru Zellmer assisted workers in the campaign.


In the Buckeye state, 34 Cricket retail workers are now members of CWA Local 4320. The local's AT&T Mobility mobilizer Phil Pennington and AT&T Mobility steward David Lazarek supported the workers' campaign.

Point Park University Will Finally Bargain With Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh

More than 11 years ago, the faculty at Point Park University in Pittsburgh voted to join TNG-CWA Local 38061. But it wasn't until Monday that the university finally dropped its legal challenge over whether workers can form a union under the National Labor Relations Act and agreed to begin collective bargaining.

Michael A. Fuoco, president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he is "extremely pleased the administration recognized the democratic vote of its faculty, even if it took more than a decade to do so."

Fuoco, who is also a reporter at the newspaper, said, "We are happy the will of the Point Park faculty is being recognized by the administration and look forward to negotiating a first-ever full-time faculty contract that is fair and equitable to all parties."

Read more here.

CWAers, Minnesota Activists Target Corporate Greed

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About 30 CWA activists joined 350 community allies for a series of actions at U.S. Bank and the Minneapolis City Hall last week.

With a drumline, the activists targeted U.S. Bank because it has stepped up its resistance to worker demands for fairer pay and more reasonable sales goals. U.S. Bank recently fired Israel Arnada, one of the workers organizing the campaign for fairness. The coalition, Minneapolis Works Campaign, includes CWA, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change; TakeAction Minnesota; SEIU; Centro De Trabajadores Unidos En Lucha; ISAIAH; Minnesotans for a Fair Economy; and many others.

The activists walked into the U.S. Bank headquarters building with drums beating, chanting to U.S. Bank CEO, "Hey, Ray Lewis, this ain't over, reinstate the whistleblower," meaning Arnada. They left a petition with 3,000 signatures demanding that Arnada be restored to his job that the bank meet other community demands, including fairer compensation.

Planning is underway for more actions against U.S. Bank and other corporate targets such as Payday/Pawn America, McDonalds and Target.


Israel Arnada, (seen with the megaphone on the left), was joined by hundreds of activists, including CWAers, demanding that U.S. Bank give Arnada his job back and agree to fairer pay and reasonable sales goals.

Berger-Marks Nominations Due July 24

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Do you know any young women on the frontlines of social justice and workers' rights? July 24 is the deadline to nominate them for two Berger-Marks Foundation awards.

The fifth annual Edna Award will grant $10,000 to one young woman who has made significant contributions to social justice and whose leadership is fueling social change. The Award is named for Edna Berger, the first woman organizer of The Newspaper Guild and a longtime activist for social justice.

The second annual Kate Mullany Courageous Young Worker Award will grant $1,000 to several young women who have stood up for workers' rights and organized their workplaces in the face of overwhelming opposition. The award is named for Kate Mullany, an inspiring young laundry worker who, more than 150 years ago, organized one of the first women's unions when she was just 19 years old.

Last year CWAer Ellen Brackeen won the Kate Award for telling T-Mobile US, "We expect better!" As a customer service representative at a T- Mobile call center in Kansas, Ellen was a strong TU activist, despite the company's harassment and intimidation of union supporters.

Remember: July 24 is the deadline!

Submit your nominations here.

Beirne Scholarships Awarded for 2015-2016

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CWA established the Joseph A. Beirne Foundation in October 1974 to honor CWA's founding president and his commitment to education.

The Foundation has approved the awarding of fifteen (15) partial college scholarships of up to $3,000 each; the winners also receive second-year scholarships for the same amount contingent upon satisfactory academic achievement. Scholarship winners are chosen by lottery drawing.

Eligible for the scholarships are CWA members, their spouses, children and grandchildren, including the dependents of retired, laid-off, or deceased members. Applicants must be high school graduates or high school students who will graduate during the year in which they apply. Undergraduate and graduate students returning to school may also apply.

Read more about the program here.

First-Year Scholarship Winners for 2015-2016

Nekayle Whitaker, son of Laurelle Whitaker, Local 1000
Maria Vitoria Aragao-Famularo, daughter of Paul Famularo, Local 1105
Brady Collea, son of David Collea, Local 1126
Candace Johnson, daughter of Coleen Marshall, Local 1180
Gabrielle Dobson, daughter of Melesia Dobson, Local 2204
Paul Keppel, son of Paul Keppel, Sr., Local 13000
Francis Zamora, son of Francis Zamora, Local 3121
Nina Johnson, daughter of Timothy Johnson, Local 3250
Nikolas Hill, son of Michele Hill, Local 4008
Elizabeth Donaway, daughter of Danny Donaway, Local 4703
Anthony Bottomley, son of Randy Bottomley, Local 6171
Marlon Adams, grandson of Joan Watson (Retired), Local 6222
Kristina DeMaio, daughter of John DeMaio, Local 7200
Jaquleyn Medina, daughter of Ruben Medina, Local 9410
Ryan Cortez, son of Elizabeth Zendejas, Local 9505

Second-Year Scholarship Winners for 2015-2016

Evan Penney, son of Brian Penney, Local 1190
Joseph Fattorusso, son of Joseph Fattorusso, Local 1109
Justina Almodovar, daughter of Robert Benamou, Local 1101
Keolani Williams, daughter of Anita Williams, Local 1180
Dorien Russell, son of Thaonne Malone, Local 2108
Joshua James, son of John James, Local 13301
Harmony Owens, granddaughter of James Owens, Local 3716
Amanda Stettner, daughter of Eric Stettner, Local 3104
Jena Rogers, daughter of William Rogers, Local 4773
Cristian Galvan, son of Michael Galvan, Local 4900
Andrea Gallegos, daughter of Joel Gallegos, Local 6171
Caitlyn Ramsey, daughter of Laura Ramsey, Local 6401
Juan Alvarez, son of Adolfredo Alvarez, Local 7777
Raquel Aguilar, daughter of Dionicia Aguilar, Local 9575
Linsey Nunez, daughter of Oscar Nunez, Local 9509