What I’m Thankful For: My CWA Contract

Lori Manuel, Executive Vice President of Local 3640 in Winston-Salem, NC, wrote about being thankful for the benefits of being represented by CWA:

This is the month that we get together with our family and close friends and celebrate what we are thankful for! I want to share with all of you what I am MOST thankful for: my contract.

My contract is between The Passenger Services Group with American Airlines, Inc., and CWA-IBT. It's like the blanket that I use when I'm cold at night. Seriously, I remember the days prior to our first contract. Management would treat agents however they saw fit. If they liked you, you got a good review, if they didn't care for you, your reviews were not favorable.

Throughout the years, we struggled to get a majority vote for the US Airways group. The third vote was the charm, with the passage of our CWA contract in 1999.

Since passing our initial contract we’ve gone back and forth with management; taking concessions to save jobs and coming back later to win better pay, benefits and standards for our members. We amended our contract in 2005 when we agreed to take major concessions to save US Airways. By giving concessions, we saved hundreds of jobs and saved our company from having to file bankruptcy. The concessions included a considerable pay decrease, losing one week of vacation, two holidays, partial pay for sick time, double time, and shift differentials.

By the end of 2012, we won all of our concessions back, with the exception of double overtime. And the most important event took place in October 2011, when all of our "offshore" offices were closed and the work was returned to the U.S. from Central America. Our workers gladly gave the concessions to help out, AND at the same time realized how important it was to have "contract" protection. The work was brought back because my union, the Communications Workers of America, negotiated with US Airways to bring back quality jobs.

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