Last week, graduate student workers at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences voted 229-15 to form a union with CWA. Their union, Fordham Graduate Student Workers (FGSW), which received an outpouring of support from Fordham faculty, state legislators, and Catholic organizations, will become part of CWA Local 1104 and will now look to negotiate a fair contract.
The workers join a growing number of CWA members in higher education including SUNY’s Graduate Student Employee Union (CWA Local 1104); Texas State Employees Union (CWA Local 6186) members at the University of Texas; members of CWA’s United Campus Worker chapters at public higher education institutions in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia; University Professional & Technical Employees (UPTE-CWA Local 9119) members at the University of California; and more.
A new video from More Perfect Union highlights the challenges that workers at Verizon Wireless stores in Everett and Lynnwood, Wash., are facing in the workplace and why they are forming a union with CWA to address them. “I have made less money every year for nine years in a row,” said Austin Hitch, a Verizon worker who is featured in the video. “Verizon made up to four and a half billion dollars in profit, but they’re taking up to forty percent in hard-earned commission checks from their frontline employees,” added Steve Yu, another Verizon employee featured in the video.
For years, the workers have been facing retaliation by senior management and poor working conditions, including understaffing and unlivable wages. Instead of addressing the workers’ concerns, Verizon has engaged in aggressive anti-union tactics, including flying out their in-house union-busting team to Seattle.
The workers’ union representation vote is underway and ballots will be counted on April 15.
Last week, a supermajority of workers at Common Cause asked the organization’s leadership to voluntarily recognize the Common Cause Staff Union, part of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild (TNG-CWA Local 32035). Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization with 1.5 million members and supporters dedicated to building a strong democracy. The workers plan to advance efforts that have already begun toward a more equitable workplace, a more just pay scale, and strengthened HR procedures.