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CWA e-Newsletter: Oct. 9, 2014

CWA e-Newsletter

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You Won't Believe What Verizon Has Done Now

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You might remember the video hit job that Verizon tried to do on CWA members, to stop Verizon Wireless workers from getting CWA representation.

The video, "This is the CWA," showed what Verizon thinks of the thousands of CWA members who are making this company successful, every day. And that tactic hasn't succeeded. In May, Verizon Wireless workers at six stores in Brooklyn voted for CWA representation, despite an intense campaign of management intimidation and captive audience meetings.

We know how Verizon sees us. This is who Verizon is: Watch.

Help Get Out the Vote

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With less than 30 days until Election Day, Nov. 4, CWA and union activists are joining labor walks, staffing phone banks, rallying for pro-worker candidates and doing everything possible to help get out the vote for these very important elections.


Left: Local 1120 member Alf Bjorkman, joined by son Dayton, make calls to union members on behalf of Cecelia Tkaczyk, candidate for the New York State Senate.
Right: A CWA Local 6222 member makes calls on behalf of Texas Democratic candidate for governor Wendy Davis and candidate for lieutenant governor Leticia Van De Putte.

Below: In Wisconsin, 27 CWA and IUE-CWA activists from Locals 4603, 4611 and 84811 join the latest round of labor walks and phone banking. It was the largest turnout from any union.


From Arizona to Michigan to Virginia, CWAers have been working hard to spread the word about the importance of electing candidates who support working families. In Texas, CWAers are standing behind Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis and Democrat Leticia Van de Putte, who is running for Lt. Governor. The lieutenant governor in Texas is particularly important because the office holder sets the agenda for the State Senate.

Wisconsin CWAers and labor activists are working hard to support Mary Burke who is challenging incumbent Republican Scott Walker. Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature attacked public worker bargaining rights and other workers' rights.

Want to join an event in your area? Make sure you have the latest on labor walks in your state and join other CWAers in these last weeks before Election Day.


Members of Local 6137 sign up co-workers for CWA's Political Action Fund.

How? Make sure you're connected with the CWA Movement Builder app. Download the app and receive information directly on your phone. Get download information here.

Once you download the app, make sure you set up your Profile. This enables you to check in at events, send photos from actions and more.

Why Doesn't the Supreme Court Want North Carolina Citizens to Vote?

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Yesterday, in the dead of night, the Supreme Court overruled the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that restored at least some voting protections to North Carolina citizens.


The appeals court had reinstated same-day voter registration during the early voting period and said that ballots cast outside a voter's precinct must be counted. The Supreme Court's decision allows North Carolina's new voting restrictions to stay in effect for the Nov. 4 elections.

The NAACP, League of Women Voters and other groups challenged the extreme voting laws adopted by the state legislature last year, pointing out that the changes were intended to restrict voting among people of color, the elderly and students. An exasperated 4th Circuit Court of Appeals judge asked during oral arguments: "Why does the state of North Carolina not want people to vote?"

The question now seems to be: "Why doesn't the Supreme Court want North Carolinians to vote?"

David Perdue: 'I spent most of my career' outsourcing

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In his Senate race against Michelle Nunn in Georgia, Republican David Perdue has been promoting himself statewide as a tireless and lifelong "job creator."

He forgot to mention that those jobs were created in Taiwan, Korea, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong – not in the U.S.

When asked in a 2005 deposition, "Can you describe your experience with outsourcing," Perdue replied, "Yeah, I spent most of my career doing that." Then he said, "I dealt with companies from Japan westward, all the way to Kenya and Lesotho in Africa, Dubai, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, all points west of Japan. Defend it? I'm proud of it." Now he can't run away from his record fast enough.

Perdue was much sought after by businesses looking to ship jobs offshore. He was a partner at Kurt Salmon Associates, a management consulting company that specialized in offshoring for apparel companies.

His work for Reebok brought him to the attention of the failed North Carolina textile manufacturer Pillowtex Corp. There, Perdue oversaw the demise of that company and the loss of 7,600 American jobs.

Michelle Nunn said Perdue's record has caused a lot of pain for American workers.

"He would be the only senator that – from his own words – has built a career around outsourcing American jobs," Nunn said during a senate debate with Perdue this week. "That's not the experience we need in Washington...David in his deposition talked about 16 countries...but not once did he talk about creating jobs in the United States."

Perdue also isn't talking about the millions of dollars he made helping companies offshore U.S. jobs – the millions that he is using to run for the U.S. Senate.

Volunteer to get out the vote this elections season.

GOP Senate Candidate: Equal Pay Laws Are 'Campaign Gimmicks'

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North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, the GOP nominee running against Democratic Senator Kay Hagan, is making sorry excuses for his opposition to equal pay laws.

This week, in his second debate against Hagan, Tillis struggled to explain why he blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act in North Carolina's state legislature.

He said, "Let's enforce the laws that are on the books versus some of the campaign gimmicks that are going to put more regulations and make it more difficult."

That's the language candidates use when they don't want to address measures like equal pay, wage and hour laws, workers' rights and other issues. In April, Senate Republicans blocked legislation that would have helped restore pay fairness for women; Kay Hagan was a co-sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and a strong supporter of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Hagan responded: "Speaker Tillis, I think you need to read reports. Women in North Carolina earn 82 cents on the dollar. I didn't raise my two daughters to think that they were worth 82 cents on the dollar."

CWA activists are talking to co-workers and working to get out the vote. But we need more volunteers. Contact your local.

Truth Prevails in Iowa

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Republican Joni Ernst has been struggling to keep a new Democratic ad off the air, arguing that it's "demonstrably false." The only problem? It's completely accurate.

An Iowa television station has decided to continue running the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ad, "Gone." It holds Ernst, a GOP state senator who is running for U.S. Senate, accountable for supporting tax breaks for corporations that ship American jobs overseas. Today, more than 20,000 Iowa jobs have been lost to outsourcing.

"Joni Ernst even signed a pledge to protect their special tax breaks," the narrator says, "instead of protecting us."

Ernst is running against Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley to replace retiring Senator Tom Harkin. Braley opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and other bad trade deals that send jobs out of the country.

If you're in Iowa, volunteer to get the word out on the differences between these candidates.

Campaign Finance Reform Comes to South Dakota

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Campaign finance reformers are coming to the aid of Democrat Rick Weiland in his South Dakota Senate race.

A new ad released by Mayday PAC, a group founded by Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig to prove that voters care about getting big money out of politics, says, "Rick Weiland is running for U.S. Senate to take our country back from the big money that controls our democracy. He believes all of us – farmers, ranchers, workers, families – deserve a fair shake. Instead of tax breaks for millionaires and sweetheart deals for special interests, he'll raise the minimum wage, invest in education, and protect and expand social security."

The Huffington Post reports:

"Rick Weiland understands that as long as our representatives are held hostage to their funders – and not the people – the system will not work for Americans of either political party," Lessig, a native of Rapid City, South Dakota, said in a statement on Tuesday. "It's up to us to take our government back, and that is Rick Weiland's central campaign message."

The $1 million expenditure is part of planned $2 million campaign by a coalition of groups that includes Mayday, Communications Workers of America, Every Voice Action, Democracy for America and Progressive Campaign Change Committee. The multi-million dollar advertising contribution may have a big impact on a race that has been largely ignored by the two major political parties and major donors.

Read more here

Elections Are About Choices: Stop Bad Trade Deals Like the TPP

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U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman is doing a hard sell on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but ordinary Americans aren't buying.


A survey by the Pew Research Center spotlights Americans' skepticism about free trade. Just 17 percent of Americans believe more trade leads to higher wages and just 20 percent think trade creates jobs. The majority of Americans know that trade is destroying U.S. jobs.

"We are not interested in better symbolism around labor, environmental and consumer standards while corporate interests are on the fast track," said CWA President Larry Cohen.

TPP is the latest in a string of trade deals that would allow corporations to challenge the laws and regulations that our elected representatives have enacted. How? Foreign investors simply have to show that future profits may be affected by a country's environmental standards, or public health laws or even a "Buy American" program. Then, the corporations can bypass a country's courts and directly sue national governments in international UN or World Bank tribunals. Three private attorneys sit on the tribunal and get to determine whether the country must compensate a corporation for losses in profits. These attorneys are not accountable to the citizens of any country. There is no outside appeal. This process makes a mockery of our democracy.

More than $430 million in compensation has already been paid out to corporations in cases brought by provisions in trade deals. Another $38 billion is pending in 19 more claims, all related to public health, the environment and other non-trade issues.

When we vote on Nov. 4, we need to make sure that we're voting for Representatives and Senators who stand with working families and against bad deals like the TPP.

Amazon Workers Take Security Check Woes to Supreme Court

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Every day, at the end of their shifts, Amazon warehouse workers line up for an airport-style security check that screens them for stolen goods. It can take as long as 25 minutes. And they don't get paid a single cent for the wait.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court grappled with whether or not workers should be compensated for this mandatory activity.

SCOTUS Blog reported

When the warehouse workers' lawyer, Reno attorney Mark R. Thierman, took the lectern, he made an effort to simplify the issues. The Court should start, he said, with the question "Is this work?" If the answer to that is yes, then ask: "Is it for the employer's benefit?" If the answer to that is yes, that's as far as the Court needs to go: the task is deserving of extra pay. It would never be necessary to answer whether the added task was closely enough tied to the worker's "primary activity," he said.

Thierman's argument seemed to grow stronger the longer it went, and he made what might be a telling point in noting that, in this case, the workers actually had punched out for the day before the screening began.


Amazon warehouse workers in Germany, with the support of the 2-million member union ver.di, protest for bargaining rights.

"Employers," he said, "make people do all kinds of things that don't make sense," and that should be a part of the legal understanding about paying for what one demands. "If an employer tells you to stay at work until 8 o'clock at night, you stay," he said, but you are entitled to pay for the added time, even if you aren't doing a thing.

The court will now begin deliberating on a decision. If the workers win, "Amazon and various staffing agencies it uses could be required to pay as many as 400,000 workers back wages amounting to $100 million or more," according to Bloomberg news reports.

In February, CWAers and other activists rallied outside Amazon's worldwide headquarters in Seattle to show their solidarity with German Amazon workers who have been carrying out rolling strikes since May 2013 to push Amazon to negotiate with ver.di.

Movement Building Update

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CWA Local 13000 members are standing strong with the American Postal Workers Union's boycott of Staples office products.

The APWU is fighting to stop a shady agreement between the U.S. Post Office and Staples that jeopardizes local post offices and thousands of good union jobs. The deal has set up postal counters inside 82 of the office supply stores staffed with Staples employees. Staples and the USPS now plan to expand the program to Staples' 1,500 locations nationwide.

It's time to say, "The U.S. mail is not for sale!"

Sign the online petition here


In Philadelphia, CWA Local 13000 President Jim Gardler and CWA members join postal workers and other supporters in protesting USPS contracting out and Staples stores.

Next CWA Telephone Town Hall Call on Oct. 16

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Sign up now for the next CWA town hall call, on Thursday, Oct. 16, starting at 7:30 pm ET. The call will last half an hour.

With less than a month until the Nov. 4 elections, we'll hear from Jim Hightower, a national radio commentator who supports turning Texas blue and a Texas CWA activist who will report on what Texas union members are doing to make that happen.

We'll also hear from Steve Abbott, president of the CWA Iowa State Council, who will report on the Iowa Senate race and the campaign for the seat held by retiring Senator Tom Harkin, who chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. And we'll hear from CWA President Larry Cohen.

Register at and pick up the phone when you get the call.