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CWA e-Newsletter: June 27, 2013

June 27, 2013

CWA e-Newsletter

Imagine Labor Day Without Labor Law

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CWA activists in Los Angeles say, "Give us five!"

That's a real possibility, unless CWA activists and allies turn up the heat on Democratic senators over the next two weeks. If the Senate doesn't confirm all five of the President's nominations to the NLRB before its August recess, there won't be any way to enforce labor law covering for 80 million workers.

We won't let this happen. CWA's goal is to generate tens of thousands of phone calls and letters to Senators and make sure they know that CWA members will hold them accountable.

CWA locals, IUE-CWA, TNG-CWA, NABET-CWA, Jobs with Justice coalitions, Sierra Club, NAACP and other allies have events planned for a National Day of Action on July 2 and leading up to the week of July 8, when the Senate is expected to take up the NLRB nominations.

The focus of all the actions will be worksite events, where members will be able to make calls to their Senators; rallies; and as many face-to-face meetings with senators as possible.

Here are just some of the actions being planned:

RALLIES: CWAers and partners will rally in San Francisco, St. Louis, Mo., Little Rock, Ark., Austin, Dallas, Chicago, South Bend and Indianapolis, Ind., Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, in Raleigh with "Moral Mondays," in Vermont with the Vermont Workers Center, and more. Many of the rallies will be held outside the home offices of senators who are in their districts over the July 4 recess. CWA activists and allies also will deliver hundreds more handwritten letters to their senators, reminding them that "we have always been there for we need your help."

WORKSITE ACTIONS: Leafleting and phone calls to Democratic senators at worksites nationwide. By calling 1-888-966-9824, members will be prompted to enter their zip codes and will be able to tell their senators: "I'm asking the Senator to confirm all five nominees to the National Labor Relations Board. And if that vote is blocked, I'm asking the Senator to vote to change the rules so that these nominations can get an up or down vote."

MEETINGS WITH SENATORS: Legislative Political Teams are scheduling meetings with Senators over the July 4 recess.

Supreme Court Decision Guts Voting Rights

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The Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key part of the Voting Rights Act is an affront to the right to vote and our democracy.

CWA strongly criticized the decision, disputing the majority's claim that the pre-clearance measures had worked sufficiently and should be dropped until Congress establishes a new standard.

"It wasn't in 1956 that the Shelby County community of Calera, Ala., attempted to restrict the vote and the voice of its African-American citizens. It was just seven years ago, in 2006.

"This example, and too many more like it, clearly demonstrates that the Voting Rights Act is needed today more than ever. Attempts to cut voting hours and polling places, limit early voting and restrict registration, especially targeting students, the elderly, people of color and the poor are all too pervasive in our nation today," CWA said in a statement.

The results of this disastrous decision will be longer voting lines, more restrictive ID laws and a continued effort to block people from exercising their right to cast a ballot -- voter suppression tactics that The Democracy Initiative  has vowed to fight.

Here's a report from Associated Press that shows voter suppression already underway:

"Across the South, Republicans are working to take advantage of a new political landscape after a divided U.S. Supreme Court freed all or part of 15 states, many of them in the old Confederacy, from having to ask Washington's permission before changing election procedures in jurisdictions with histories of discrimination.

"After the high court announced its momentous ruling Tuesday, officials in Texas and Mississippi pledged to immediately implement laws requiring voters to show photo identification before getting a ballot. North Carolina Republicans promised they would quickly try to adopt a similar law. Florida now appears free to set its early voting hours however Gov. Rick Scott and the GOP Legislature please. And Georgia's most populous county likely will use county commission districts that Republican state legislators drew over the objections of local Democrats."

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who has been on the front lines of the fight for civil rights and voting rights, said, "My message to the members of the United States Supreme Court is: remember, don't forget, our recent history. Walk in our shoes [...] come and walk in the shoes of those three young men that died in Mississippi. Come and walk in the shoes of those of us who walked across that bridge on 'Bloody Sunday,' March 7, 1965."

Watch his interview here.

CWA will continue to work with the NAACP and other allies to protect the right to vote for all citizens. The Democracy Initiative that CWA, the NAACP and environmental groups has founded will work for universal registration, as most democracies already use, to ensure that citizens are not deprived of their voice and their vote.

CWA at Netroots Nation

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Miss out on Netroots Nation?

You can still watch CWA President Larry Cohen's panel on Senate rules reform, voter suppression and the influence of corporate money on our democracy here.

Read the recap  of his discussion with Democracy Initiative co-founders -- NAACP President Benjamin Jealous and Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford -- Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, Working Families Party co-chair Karen Scharff and Salon's Joan Walsh.

And check out this article in The Nation: "Union President Predicts '50-50' Odds for Confirmation Filibuster Reform".

CWA activists attending the Netroots Nation joined trainings on everything from social media to organizing. They reached out to new groups and forged new relationships with progressives -- growing our movement.

"A lot of conferences we attend are put on by labor, run by labor and taught by labor," said Eric Lindberg, secretary-treasurer of CWA Local 9423. "This conference was run and taught by so many organizations with so many passions, it makes you think outside the box."

Supreme Court Decisions on DOMA, Prop. 8 Move Nation Closer to Full Equality

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Read CWA's statement on the Supreme Court's decisions issued June 26 on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's statute legalizing same-sex marriage:

Today, the Supreme Court got it right. By striking down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, the Supreme Court moves our nation closer to a place where the rights of all people are recognized and respected. The federal government should not support discrimination of any kind. Today's decision that same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits opens the door to ending all discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Similarly, the Supreme Court determined that a California court's ruling on "Proposition 8," the law that had restricted marriage to opposite sex couples, should stand. That decision restores marriage equality in that state and means that same sex couples will be able to cast off the second class status that some have sought to keep in place.

It's the 21st century. It's past time to shed the prejudices that harm our society. Today's decisions are a good step in that direction.

Bargaining Update

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  • Negotiations got underway on June 24 between CWA and AT&T Internet for a new contract covering 3,900 workers at 13 call centers in Districts 3, 4, 6 and 9 and technical centers in Districts 6 and 9. The bargaining team includes Amanda Hill, Local 3606; Denise Catanach, Local 9400; Janice Porter-Moffitt, Local 9413; Val Givens, Local 6222; Martha Flagge, Telecommunications and Technologies staff; and Bill Bates, assistant to the T/T Director. The current contract expires July 13.

  • UPTE-CWA, Local 9119 is bargaining a new agreement covering University of California research and technical workers. The current agreement expires on June 30. The UPTE members work as staff research associates, lab assistants, animal technicians, electronics technicians, computer techcians and in other positions. UPTE members and allies from AFSCME and the California Nurses Association will rally on July 1 for a statewide day of action for fair pay and retirement security. UC management is demanding a two-tier system of pension and retiree health care, but the 44,000 UC workers are standing strong.

  • TNG-CWA Local 32035's bargaining committee reports that The Washington Post's publisher "dropped a bomb" on the first day of talks. The Guild says, "The Post would give managers the power to fire anyone for any reason without following the established disciplinary process and other rights we now enjoy. Thanks to the Guild's existing contract, the Post must go through a system of progressive discipline, including oral and written warnings, before suspending or terminating an employee." Read more here.

  • CWA Local 1168 has reached a tentative agreement with Kaleida Health. Read more here.

  • As negotiations with Verizon West continue, CWA members of Local 9575 rally at the Camarillo yard location.


Organizing Update

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News department employees at the Register Star & Freeport Journal Standard in Rockford, Ill., voted 14-10 for TNG-CWA representation. The 25-member unit was subjected to intense captive audience meetings and relentless one-on-one pressure from managers. The St. Louis-based United Media Guild Local 36047 supported the workers in their fight for a union voice. The campaign followed an organizing win last year at the Springfield, Ill., paper. Both are owned by Gatehouse.

Building a Movement 50 Million Strong

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The women of CWA Local 1036 join Women's Lobby Say at the New Jersey State House.

CWA activists rally for comprehensive immigration reform in Washington, DC.


Minority Leadership Institute

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Participants to CWA's 2013 Minority Leadership Institute focused on the crisis facing labor and the path to change through movement building. District 4 Vice President Linda Hinton gave the graduation address.

Bottom row: Mike Dickerson, Local 4100; Orange Richardson, Local 9410. Top row: Alanna Galloway, Local 7250; Lizbenet Vasquez, Local 3010; Pamela Zimmerman, Local 13301; Ken Beckett, Local 1101; Carmen Mata, Local 6733; and Penny Franklin, Local 82160.


Check out

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The Economic Policy Institute has launched a new website completely focused on income inequality: what it means for working people, how it came about and how we can fix it.

Since the 1970s, the gap between the rich and everyone else in the U.S. has grown tremendously. Today, 1 percent of Americans are taking home nearly 20 percent of the country's total income and own nearly 35 percent of the country's wealth. And it didn't happen by accident.

Check out