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CWA e-Newsletter: Sept. 5, 2013

CWA e-Newsletter

Want to be in next week's CWA Newsletter? Send your stories and photos to or @CWANews. Follow the latest developments at

You Won't Want to Miss the Next CWA Town Hall Call: September 19

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CWA's next town hall call focuses on the amazing partnership CWA locals and TU activists are building with our counterparts in the German union ver.di. Just last week, ver.di members held actions and leafleted at 20 T-Mobile locations to stand up for the rights of T-Mobile US workers. Join next week's CWA Town Hall Call on Thursday, September 19, at 7:30 p.m. ET to learn more and how you join the fight.

Register here:

Ralph Maly Retires as T&T Vice President; Bill Bates Sworn In

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Ralph Maly, CWA's outgoing T&T vice president, at the 2013 CWA Convention.

Below: CWA President Larry Cohen swears in Bill Bates as T&T vice president.


CWA's vice president for Telecommunications and Technologies, Ralph Maly, retired last week after 48 years of service to CWA members and our union. Bill Bates, who served as national telecom director and assistant to Maly, was appointed T&T vice president by the CWA Executive Board and sworn in this week.

In retirement, Maly will continue to be a CWA leader and activist and will join with Florida locals and staff in political work and movement building, including Central Florida Jobs with Justice.

He was elected vice president of CWA's Communications and Technologies sector in July 2001; the Telecommunications and Technologies sector later was formed by the merger of two telecom sectors, part of the Ready for the Future Strategic Plan adopted by convention delegates.

After joining Western Electric in Buffalo in 1965, Maly served as steward, chief steward and organizing coordinator for CWA Local 1162, in addition to working on national organizing campaigns. He transferred to the Atlanta plant where he served as CWA Local 3263 president for five years.

A CWA representative since 1989, Maly was named assistant to Jim Irvine, then vice president for Communications and Technologies.

Bates has been a CWA and union activist since 1973 when he joined AT&T as a communications technician in Detroit, Mich. A member of CWA Local 4050, he served as steward, chief steward, vice president and president, from 1988 to 2001.

A staff representative since 2001, Bates was appointed assistant to the CWA secretary-treasurer in 2006 and national telecom director in 2008.

Labor Day 2013 Highlights

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If you missed it last week, read CWA President Larry Cohen's Labor Day statement.

Listen to Labor Day messages from President Barack Obama and from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

And check out these photos of CWAers at the weekend's events:


Members of CWA Locals 6300, 6355 and TNG-CWA 36047 were among the marchers in the St. Louis's Labor Day parade.


Labor Day celebrations bring out members of TNG-CWA Local 36047, who are fighting to save The State Journal-Register, in Springfield, Ill.


Members of CWA Local 1123 march in Syracuse, NY.


CWA Local 1152 members march in the Great Syracuse Labor Council Labor Day parade.


CWA Local 4217 in Belleville, Ill., prep their Labor Day parade float.


The Canadian Media Guild participates in Toronto's Labor Day parade.

Movement Building

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Voices of Our Movement

Don Lewis, president of CWA Local 2222, posted this "voices of our movement" message that connects his work with Sierra Club, Jobs with Justice, BlueGreen Alliance and other groups with the fight for a fair workplace for every worker.

Tell us how you're building the movement. Go to and share your story.


Standing Together for Immigration Reform

In Ohio, activists working for immigration reform and a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants, helped collect 600,000 signatures that were delivered to House Speaker John Boehner's office. CWA activists alone collected 17,400 petition signatures.


Building Solidarity in Kansas

Solidarity was celebrated in Wichita, Kan., as immigration reform supporters, unions and social justice groups joined the opening unity parade, part of the 45th annual Wichita Black Arts Festival.

Sunflower Community Action, members of CWA Local 6402, SEIU activists, and members of Interfaith Worker Justice and the Hutchinson, Kans., AFL-CIO were among those participating.

Sulma Arias, executive director of Sunflower, said, "It's really about working together, about saying we have a lot of differences, but if we don't come together and move an agenda forward we're all going to be in a lot of trouble. And we hope by having our presence there, to be able to send that message that together, we can make a difference."

CWA Local 6402 and Sunflower are working together for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship and in helping T-Mobile US workers get the union voice they want.

The Wichita Black Arts Festival Association is a nonprofit, all volunteer, cultural organization that educates and promotes the heritage of the African American culture, through arts programs throughout the year and a three day event over Labor Day weekend.



Keeping the Dream Alive

Some 2,000 CWA members were part of the historic 50th anniversary celebration of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Check out this video.


8/29 Strike

CWAers across the country joined a wave of fast-food strikes that hit 60 cities on Aug. 29. In St. Louis, CWAers, Missouri Jobs with Justice, St. Louis Can't Survive on $7.35 and other key labor and community groups joined together to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.


Bargaining Update

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Tentative Agreement for AirTran Airways Flight Attendants

AFA-CWA reached a tentative agreement with Southwest Airlines management covering more than 1,700 Flight Attendants who remain at AirTran during the AirTran/Southwest merger process. The Southwest/AirTran merger was announced in 2011.

"AirTran Flight Attendants' immense contributions have played a key role in the overall success of this merger. These negotiations have been difficult. Working in the limited time frame left for AirTran, it became clear it was time to make some difficult decisions, and bring these negotiations to a close allowing our members to determine the next step," said Alison Head, AFA AirTran President. "We would like to stress our appreciation for the support and efforts of our Mobilizers, and all of our Flight Attendants throughout these negotiations."

AFA-CWA President Veda Shook said, "This agreement provides certainty in pay parity with the Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants over the next 15 months. Whether or not Southwest Airlines management sticks to its merger timeline, our AirTran Flight Attendants will be protected."

Jobs with Justice: 25 Years, 25 Voices

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Jobs with Justice is celebrating its silver anniversary with a new book: "Jobs with Justice, 25 Years, 25 Voices."

A series of moving interviews and first-person stories, the book gives voice to the community, labor, immigrant, student, and faith activists that have built JwJ. On each page, activists tell us why the organization's core principal – the power of solidarity between unions, community groups, and immigrant, student, and faith organizations – continues to drive its victories at the local, national, and international levels. They tell us how the belief in solidarity leads not only to short-term alliances, but also to transformed relationships and permanent coalitions. They tell us how it has led – and will lead – to concrete victories for social and economic justice.

It includes an introduction from JwJ founder and CWA President Larry Cohen, as well as perspectives from CWA activists Margaret Butler and John Ryan, newcomers like Ai-Jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and the locally-based, working-class men and women who have built JwJ from the ground up.

Get your own copy at

Tomorrow in San Francisco, JwJ will be celebrating the release of the book at a Labor at the Crossroads forum, which will feature a presentation on labor community coalition building and innovative labor organizing strategies with Cohen.

RSVP and share the event on Facebook.

Mark Your Calendar for Call Center Month

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October is Call Center Action Month, and this year, actions will focus on compensation and professionalism.

The month-long campaign, organized by UNI Global Union, spotlights the work and conditions of customer service professionals worldwide and identifies strategies to build both compensation and respect for call center workers.

"In many countries, the average compensation for a call center agent falls short in comparison to other service jobs, despite the fact that a call center job requires a range of different skills and can be extremely stressful. In some countries, factors like external competition or outsourcing (and even insourcing) also drive down pay and conditions in the call center," UNI said.

Last year, U.S. call center workers lobbied members of Congress for national call center legislation to stop companies that move customer service jobs offshore from taking advantage of taxpayer grants and loans.

New legislation just was introduced by U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The "U.S. Call Center and Worker Protection Act of 2013," H.R. 2909, also includes "Press 1 For America," provisions that require call center employees to identify the country from which they are taking the call, and if that's outside the United States, offer consumers the opportunity to be transferred back to a U.S. facility.