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What Does CWA Mean for AT&T Mobility Employees

What is the Communications Workers of America (CWA)?

CWA is a democratic, membership advocacy organization that represents 700,000 workers in the private and public sectors. Covered by 2,000 union contracts, CWA members work in telecommunications and high tech, broadcast and cable television, healthcare and higher education, the airlines, public service, law enforcement, manufacturing and other fields.

How many employees does CWA represent at AT&T Mobility?

CWA represents 40,000 and growing numbers of AT&T Mobility (formerly Cingular) employees across the U.S. in customer service, telesales, retail, technical support and other positions.

Why are non-union employees at AT&T Mobility organizing with CWA?

To get a voice in their working conditions just like AT&T Mobility's union-represented employees. This means having a binding contract with management, the ability to negotiate fair salaries and benefits, job security, and other issues, and to have a mechanism to resolve differences fairly.

How do we get CWA representation?

The first stage is for employees to contact CWA. Next, you and your co-workers form a committee of union supporters. The committee identifies and answers employees’ questions and helps develop union priorities. After assessing union support, the committee asks workers to sign CWA authorization cards. These cards designate CWA as your union representative. Once a majority of employees sign these cards, the cards are presented to an independent arbitrator for certification. Once the cards are certified, you have union representation. CWA and AT&T have agreed to allow employees to use the card check process rather than having to go through a federal government-supervised union representation election. You should only sign a union card if you support having a union.

What happens after AT&T Mobility recognizes CWA?

Once your union is certified, a CWA representative works with you and your co-workers to determine how your work group will be covered under CWA’s existing contract with AT&T Mobility. But that is not the end of the story - to maintain a strong contract, you need to stay involved and help make sure that the terms of your contract are carried out and enforced.

What can I do to get representation like other employees at AT&T Mobility?

If you believe that CWA representation would be beneficial to you and your co-workers, contact a CWA representative. Next, volunteer to be on a union organizing committee with your co-workers. As a committee member, your responsibility will be talking about workplace issues with your co-workers and assessing their concerns and support. As a committee member, you need to ensure that your co-workers are aware of the issues that the union is attempting to address. Being on the committee means talking with co-workers on a regular basis, plus spending a limited amount of time outside of work to exchange information with co-workers and other committee members.

What happens to my pay if we are represented by CWA?

The pay system at AT&T Mobility is covered under our union contract. It provides wage progression steps which means automatic 6-month increases for employees until they reach top of scale, in addition to annual wage increases. Typically, new employees who organize under an existing CWA contract move into the next higher step on the negotiated pay scale. If an employee’s pay happens to be over the pay scale, he or she will keep their current salary and receive any negotiated increases in the CWA contract as bonus payments until their salary is within scale.

What happen to my benefits if we are represented by CWA?

As a union member under a CWA-negotiated contract, your pay, benefits and working conditions are guaranteed for the length of the union contract at AT&T Mobility. Without CWA representation, your pay, benefits and working conditions are not guaranteed.

What is the CWA “Negotiated Grievance Procedure”?

Under the CWA-AT&T Mobility agreement, there is a formal grievance process to resolve any disputes that arise at work. You, along with a co-worker who CWA has trained to represent you and protect your rights, have the right to sit down with management to resolve your problem. Should the problem not be satisfactorily resolved it will proceed to a higher level of management. If still unresolved, your issue may be appealed to a neutral, third party arbitrator whose decision is final and binding.

With a grievance process, does it mean I can’t resolve a problem on my own?

No. The grievance procedure is for problems that you cannot resolve on your own, or for problems that effect many employees.

What about strikes?

Over 98 percent of all union contracts are reached without strikes. A strike only occurs if you and your co-workers vote to authorize it. In the unlikely event that there is a strike, CWA has a $300 million fund to provide payments to affected employees. There has never been a strike at AT&T Mobility.

What are union dues and when do I begin to pay?

Union dues for most CWA members, paid biweekly, are set at 1.3 percent of a member’s base pay (i.e., if your biweekly base wages are $1,200, your dues would equal $15.60 biweekly). But you do not pay any dues until you are covered by a contract CWA has negotiated with AT&T Mobility.

How are union dues spent?

CWA members decide how their dues money is spent. Of each dollar, $0.53 is spent by your Local Union for repre­sen­­tation in day-to-day prob­lems, grievances, training programs, education and member communications; $0.36 is spent by the national union to provide legal and on-the-job representation, contract negotiations and contract enforcement; and $0.11 is dedicated to the CWA member relief fund to support members who vote to strike (see “What About Strikes” next side).

What does it mean to be a CWA member?

CWA members are the union and they run the union. Joining CWA entitles AT&T Mobility employees to attend and take part in union meetings, express their opinions, serve on negotiating committees, vote on all union issues, and run for union office. Active members are the heart of CWA. They keep co-workers informed about their union contract and about CWA programs, services, and activities. Activists listen to the concerns of co-workers and support them by bringing their concerns to CWA.

Who can I contact if I have further questions?

Please talk to a CWA member at AT&T Mobility, and union supporters at your location. You may also contact CWA at 202-434-1100, or e-mail us. We will try to get you the information that you request, or put you in touch with someone who will.

What if I don’t want to support or join CWA?

We respect the right of each AT&T Mobility employee to make his or her own personal decision on whether to support or join CWA. CWA is a voluntary membership organization. Employees who become members join because they support the union’s goals to protect and improve working conditions for all represented employees.