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CWA e-Newsletter: Oct. 17, 2013

CWA e-Newsletter

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CWA Town Hall Call TONIGHT

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Tonight, CWA's 30-minute town hall call will be a roundtable discussion on the current state of collective bargaining.

Vice Presidents Chris Shelton, D1 and Jim Weitkamp, D9, AFA-CWA President Veda Shook and CWA President Larry Cohen will talk about what CWAers are doing in their districts and sector to get through tough times in bargaining.

And don't forget, when you sign up for the remaining CWA town hall calls this year, you will be entered in a drawing for a personalized iPad Mini! The winner will be announced in the CWA News and e-newsletter.

TNG Secretary-Treasurer to Retire

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At April's sector conference in Pittsburgh, Rothman shares a laugh with Minnesota Guild administrative officer Mike Bucsko.

Carol Rothman, secretary-treasurer of TNG-CWA since 2008, has announced that she will retire at the end of the year.

"Carol has brought reason, balance and conviction to her position. It is hard for me to imagine doing this work without her," Guild President Bernie Lunzer said.

Rothman, who was a career Guild activist while working on the commercial side of Philadelphia's newspapers, "doesn't tolerate inaction or indecisiveness and has been a positive force for change at a critical juncture," he said. "Working with her has been a real joy even as the issues we have faced have often been so dire."

Rothman's 43 years as a Guild member include a decade as vice president at large on the Guild's International Executive Board, from 1983 to 1993. From 1995 to 2008, she served as the first woman and the longest-tenured sector chairperson. "I am proud to claim that footnote in Guild history," she said.

Her work, from handling grievances and improving contracts to "just helping members and locals has meant so much to me," she said. "It has made my life complete, and left me with many lifelong friends."

Leaving her career isn't easy, but she said, "I hope everyone recognizes when the time comes to leave a job, even a job you love, and give yourself some time to enjoy life."

Lunzer plans to assign California-based staff representative Sara Steffens to help him handle Rothman's duties until an election is held at the next Guild sector conference in early 2015. At that time, Lunzer said he will run for re-election and is hopeful Steffens will run for secretary-treasurer.

Our Political Work

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New Jersey

CWAers in New Jersey phone bank for gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono. Buono, a progressive reformer who has been a steadfast supporter of collective bargaining, is running against Republican incumbent Gov. Chris Christie.

Check out CWA's election guide here.


Below: CWA activists get ready for a precinct walk in Roanoke last Saturday. And check out CWA's election guide here.


Last night, nine members of CWA Local 6143 attended the Bexar County voter registration training in San Antonio


CWA members in Minnesota hit the phone banks this week. Activists called on Rep. Collin Peterson (D) to vote "no" on fast track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and asked Rep. John Kline (R) to end the government shutdown.


Missouri state workers and working families wait patiently outside Gov. Jay Nixon's (D) office to protest his plan that would cut nearly 58,000 people from the state's food stamp program.


At the T-Mobile call center in Wichita, CWA Local 6402's Chris Greer circulates our petition telling Congress to pass the Call Center Bill. Learn more at

New York

CWAers are working hard to get Bill de Blasio elected mayor of New York City.

Bargaining Update

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CWA members at CenturyLink (LegacyQwest) in D7 will vote on a new tentative agreement reached last week. A majority of the CWA bargaining committee is recommending ratification. For voting information and details on the tentative contract, go to The results must be provided to the District 7 office by locals no later than 4:30 MST, Oct. 25.


Members of Peoria Unit 86 of the United Media Guild approved a three-year contract extension -- with no concessions -- covering editorial and outside circulation employees at the Peoria Star-Journal. It includes digital training for all members and protection of copy-desk jobs. The United Media Guild represents journalists, media workers and activists in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana and Tennessee plus journalists at Truthout, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing independent news and commentary on a daily basis.


In New Jersey, the Hamilton township council unanimously approved a new contract with pay increases for the members CWA Local 1032. Read more here.


CWA Verizon West members from across southern California rallied in Long Beach to support the fight for a fair contract. About 4,500 Verizon West CWAers are working without a contract and are fighting back against Verizon's demands for givebacks.

Members of CWA Local 6171 in San Angelo, Tex., are protesting Verizon's plans to cut jobs at its Livesource wireless directory assistance operation.


In D6, CWA bargainers reached a tentative agreement covering workers at Verizon Enterprise Delivery. The four year contract provides for a wage increase and a ratification bonus. More information is available here.

CWA Officers Join Celebration of Call Center Action Month

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Members of CWA Local 3640 at US Airways reservations center.

Below: CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins met with members of CWA Local 3640 who work at the US Airways reservation center in Winston-Salem, N.C. With them is Local 3640 President Vicky Hoots.

At the AT&T Mobility call center in Oklahoma City, stewards and members of CWA Local 6016, with local president Monica Eason, join D 6 Vice President Claude Cummings, Jr. and assistant to the vice president Sylvia Ramos, in celebrating customer service month.

Members of CWA Local 13500 at the Verizon mega-center in Pittsburgh.

CWA's customer service professionals celebrated this week, with visits from CWA officers and executive board members and other activities to recognize the hard work and professionalism of call center workers.

This week, D6 Vice President Claude Cummings joined CWAers at the AT&T Mobility call center in Oklahoma City. D2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney met with members at the Verizon call center in Philadephia. Chief of Staff Ron Collins was on hand at the US Airways call center in Winston-Salem, NC, meeting with CWA reservations agents, and D4 Vice President Linda Hinton hit four locations in Indiana: AT&T Legacy Consumer; AT&T Legacy -Consumer; DSL support and the Home Solutions network center, in addition to stops at AT&T Mobility locations.

Read more about the call center bill that's been introduced in Congress this year, and sign the petition at

October is UNI Global Union's Call Center Action month, spotlighting the need for fair compensation and treatment of customer service professionals everywhere. Check out UNI's report, "Answer the Call" to learn more about what call center workers face around the world.

Don't Let TPP Become the Next NAFTA

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Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership is growing. More and more people are speaking out against this massive, secret trade deal that's shaping up to be "NAFTA on steroids."

The Washington Post wrote a recent article titled, "As White House Pushes Trade Deal Abroad, Opposition Grows at Home," that highlights that, "the Obama administration is facing a difficult sales job at home as key industries and unions grow cautious, domestic manufacturers move to protect their markets, and trade skeptics amp up their opposition."

CWA President Larry Cohen blogs in the Huffington Post, "TPP is bad for working families, because, like nearly every other trade agreement that's been negotiated by the U.S. in the past 20 years, TPP isn't concerned with U.S. workers or jobs. Every other nation starts out with jobs and the economy as their priorities. The U.S. unfortunately has a different focus, and looks at trade in terms of national security and global corporate interests, not ensuring the economic well-being of working families."

BusinessWeek writes that, "A growing chorus of lawmakers is calling for trade negotiators to address issues including currency manipulation, food-safety standards and competition with state-backed industries as the administration seeks "fast-track" authority to smooth eventual passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership."

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), in an op-ed published by the Youngstown Vindicator, writes, "The Trans-Pacific Partnership deal -- as it stands now -- could threaten the remarkable recovery of the U.S. auto industry."

Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa and Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune wrote in The Hill, "Countries that have fought hard for their protections -- environmental, labor or otherwise -- should not feel threatened by big corporations. Unfortunately, we expect the TPP will include provisions that allow foreign corporations to sue governments over just these types of laws and policies -- if the corporation feels the law undercuts its bottom line. Such investor protections are not only a fundamental threat to our democracy, but also to workers and the environment."


Edna Award Recognizes Wisconsin Organizer

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The Berger-Marks Foundation has awarded Jennifer Epps-Addison, the executive director of Wisconsin Jobs Now and vice-president of the Milwaukee Workers Organizing Committee, the 2013 Edna Award.

The Edna, which carries a $10,000 prize, recognizes young women who have distinguished themselves as leaders of the social justice movement. It is named for Edna Berger, a women's rights pioneer who started as a Philadelphia Inquirer receptionist and rose to become a writer, editor and the first woman organizer for The Newspaper Guild. The Berger-Marks Foundation works to bring the benefits of unionization to working women and to assist organizations committed to those principles.

With nearly 15 years of organizing experience, Epps-Addison used her organizing and communications expertise to play an integral role in winning campaigns on issues such as community economic development policy, paid sick days, and in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants.

Epps-Addison was the lead organizer behind Milwaukee's historic MORE Ordinance, which set community benefit standards for economic development projects that use public funds. In 2010, the MORE Ordinance won a City of Milwaukee prize in the National League of Cities' Cultural Diversity Awards.

"I fundamentally believe that the most effective way to increase economic security for women is to organize them into unions, and I would like to thank the Berger-Marks Foundation for its commitment to expanding opportunity for women across the county," said Epps-Addison.

Three women also received Awards of Distinction, a $1,000 prize. They are Cristina M. TzintzĂșn, executive director of the Workers Defense Project in Austin; Rachel L. Micah-Jones, executive director of Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. in Baltimore; and Andrea Cristina Mercado, campaign director of National Domestic Workers Alliance in Weston, Fl.

The winners will be honored at an Oct. 23 reception at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Morton Bahr Online Learning Scholarship Winners

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Today SUNY Empire State College has announced The Morton Bahr Online Learning Scholarship recipients for the 2013-14 academic year.

The Bahr online scholarship supports students enrolled in the college's Center for Distance Learning studying to complete their bachelor's online and was created in the name of president emeritus of the Communications Workers of America and college alumnus Morton Bahr.

"Today's jobs are rapidly changing and increasingly complex, which places new demands on working men and women," Bahr said. "Lifelong learning and online education are now becoming part of mainstream employment. A scholarship to Empire State College provides working men and women with help paying for college, the opportunity to learn online while holding down a job and the skills they need to keep learning throughout their lifetime."

The winners are:

Kenya Coleman, of Albany, N.Y., the current vice president for CWA Local 1141, who works as an administrative assistant with United University Professions. Coleman is pursuing a B.A. in business management and economics and plans a career in business management.

Jennifer Jacob, of Hilton, N.Y., a member of CWA Local 1170, who works as a library clerk at Gates Public Library in Rochester, N.Y. Jacob is studying to earn a B.S. in community and human services.

John Lawrence Llewellyn, Jr., of Matamoras, P.A., a member of the International Association of Firefighters, Local F-7, who works as a firefighter, hazmat and emergency medical technician for West Point Fire and Emergency Services. He is studying to complete his B.A. in labor studies with a concentration in labor-management relations.

Jordan Marsh, of Glens Falls, N.Y., a member of Office and Professional Employees International Union, Local 2, who works as a secretary II at the IUE-CWA GE & Aerospace Board. Marsh plans on continuing his education by earning a master's degree in labor studies.

Mendy Thorsland, of Rock Stream, N.Y., a member of New York State United Teachers. She is studying in the college's RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.