CWA News

CWA Calls on FCC to Investigate Harmful Corporate Sales Practices in Telecom Industry

4 days 7 hours ago

Read the full filing

The Communications Workers of America called on the Federal Communications Commission to more fully investigate the causes of unethical sale practices that result in cramming and slamming – a serious problem across the telecommunications industry. This is a critical step in developing effective consumer protections that apply to all voice communications providers, whether traditional landline, interconnected VoIP or wireless, CWA said.

CWA submitted comments today in response to the FCC’s proposed rulemaking on methods to protect consumers from unauthorized changes and charges, to empower consumers to take action against slammers and crammers and to deter carriers from unethical sales practices.

CWA knows that good consumer and good employment practices go hand in hand. That’s why this union works hard to promote fair compensation practices and working conditions for frontline employees as the key to ensuring quality customer service.

It is critical that the FCC fully investigate the relationship between sales quotas, incentives, performance management systems and unauthorized and fraudulent charges on bills. These unscrupulous sales practices, including unrealistic sales incentive structures and punitive performance management systems, force frontline employees to meet unrealistically high sales quotas and benchmarks or face the loss of compensation and their jobs, CWA said. 

There is clear evidence to show that companies that impose unrealistically high sales quotas on sales and service representatives are responsible for driving unethical sales practices. That was the conclusion reached by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in its investigation of Wells Fargo Bank’s fraudulent account scandal, which resulted in some 3.5 million services being fraudulently added to customers’ accounts.

CWA, with the Committee for Better Banks, a coalition of frontline bank workers and community groups, was a driving force in spotlighting the ways that Wells Fargo’s extreme and unrealistic sales quotas and incentive structures forced some employees to cram unauthorized services and products onto customer accounts.   

As part of its $100 million enforcement action against Wells Fargo, the CFPB recommended that the bank hire an independent consultant to review its procedures, including the bank’s performance measurements and sales quotas. Following that review, Wells Fargo eliminated sales goals and implemented a new compensation structure that emphasizes customer satisfaction, the CWA filing noted.

CWA believes that the FCC should look to frontline workers to learn about the real world dynamics driving unethical sales practices in the telecommunications industry.

Similar to the Wells Fargo case, unreasonable sales policies have been adopted by many telecommunications carriers, CWA wrote, citing “unrealistically high sales quotas, incentive pay compensation plans, and performance management systems that force sales and service representatives to engage in unethical sales practices in order to meet the quotas or earn sales incentives.  Aggressive performance management systems discipline sales employees for failure to make the monthly sales quota and revenue benchmarks. Typically, failure to meet sales quotas for three time periods can lead to termination. The resulting high turnover impacts customer service, as new hires often lack the experience to provide quality service to customers. The constant pressure to sell also privileges sales over attention to quality customer service,” the filing stated.

The wireless industry is a major source of cramming complaints, yet “the Commission has paid insufficient attention to anti-consumer practices by wireless carriers,” CWA pointed out.

A complaint filed by the labor federation Change to Win, updated in June 2017, called on the FCC to investigate T-Mobile US for “a pattern of fraudulent enrollment practices that result in unanticipated charges for customers.” The request was based on extensive research into T-Mobile sales practices as well as interviews with T-Mobile sales representatives. The Commission has not acted on this request.

“These kinds of employer sales and compensation policies that incent unethical sales practices are particularly acute at call centers operated by vendors under contract with communications companies and the authorized retail stores operated by independent owners selling the telecommunications carriers’ brand. The employees working at contract call centers or authorized dealers typically earn significantly lower pay than corporate employees,” CWA said. The FCC has determined that carriers are responsible for the conduct of third parties acting on their behalf. That rule should be reinforced across the industry, the filing noted.

It is clear that Commission action is needed to protect customers from cramming. That means strong rules that apply to all voice service providers, including traditional landline, wireless and interconnected VoIP providers, CWA concluded, calling on the Commission to take these steps:               

1. Convene a workshop to gather information on the impact of telecommunications companies’ sales policies and performance management practices on cramming and slamming of unauthorized charges on customers’ bills. The workshop should include representatives of frontline sales and service employees and telecommunications companies. The Commission must ensure strong whistleblower protections for frontline sales and service employees.

2. Issue a report on its findings, with the goal of determining the best way to relieve the pressures caused by unrealistic quotas, to the benefit of workers and consumers.

3. Respond to the Change to Win request for an investigation of T-Mobile and its alleged unfair practices towards customers, including fraudulent enrollment practices.

4. Require that voice carriers receive a customer’s express consent -- documented in writing -- before adding any charges to a customer’s account, and adopt procedures to allow consumers to block all third-party charges.

 

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CWA represents 700,000 working men and women in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, public service and manufacturing.

Candice Johnson

Bargaining Update

5 days 9 hours ago

AT&T Mobility

A piece highlighting elected officials' support for AT&T Mobility workers who are fighting for a fair contract appeared in Fortune:

So far, 255 state and local politicians have sent letters to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson backing the workers, the Communications Workers of America union says. Among the senders are six Democratic senators and numerous members of California’s delegation in the House of Representatives.

"While we are aware of the changes that have taken place in the telecommunications industry, we know that AT&T wireless workers are the driving force behind your most profitable division," 12 members of the Arizona House of Representatives wrote to Stephenson in one recent letter. "They deserve to share in the company's success and growth."

Read the full piece here.

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Frontier Communications

CWA members in West Virginia and Virginia are keeping the heat on Frontier Communications as bargaining continues. The contract extension expires on Nov. 4.

Read the latest bargaining reports here.


Left: Elected Bargaining Committee members show they're CWA STRONG. (From left) Ken Williams, President, Local 2001; Rick McKinney, President, Local 2007; and Shannon Fink, President Local 2009. Right, members of Local 2001 turn out for informational picketing.

 

Sarah Splitt

Organizing Update

5 days 9 hours ago

The Los Angeles Times

Employees at the L.A. Times are working to join together in the NewsGuild-CWA to improve working conditions, raise pay, improve benefits, and improve worker protections. The newspaper's parent company, Tronc, has responded to the efforts by distributing anti-union flyers and holding meetings to try to persuade workers not to organize.

The L.A. Times Guild organizing committee writes on its newly-launched website: "Tronc has no argument for why Los Angeles Times journalists should not enjoy the same Guild representation – the same voice in our futures – as our peers at other major news organizations. So Tronc is instructing newsroom managers to tell us scary stories about pay cuts, layoffs, strikes, dues and that old standby, that the union is an outsider. The union is, in fact, the creation of a grassroots committee of journalists from the newsroom determined to address years of mistreatment by an out-of-touch corporation."

Read more here.

Sarah Splitt

CWA Runaway Inequality Training Aims to Stop Corporate Power Grab

5 days 9 hours ago

CWA's Runaway Inequality program has trained hundreds of CWA members – and now a growing number of allies – about the expanding power of corporate America, how that power has harmed working families and resulted in greater economic and racial inequality, and what we can do to upend this power grab.

For decades, corporations and Wall Street have been lobbying to cut taxes on the rich and corporations, eliminate government regulations for the financial sector, and try to damage the power of working people and unions.

Through the Take On Wall Street campaign, CWA and allies are fighting back to get rid of tax breaks for companies that offshore jobs and profits, eliminate the CEO bonus loophole, and make sure that Wall Street pays its fair share.

The Runaway Inequality education program got underway in 2016, and in that first year, 32 CWA activists from New York, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, and Missouri became member-educators, and have led 42 workshops for 629 CWAers.

This year, the program has expanded into Wisconsin, North Carolina, Indiana, Arizona, and Washington. In 2017, CWA member-educators led 27 Runaway Inequality workshops for 416 participants, and more workshops will be held by the end of the year. Recent CWA training sessions have been held in Indianapolis, Buffalo, Rochester, and New York City.

The program is being expanded to allies across the country. In New York, Michigan, North Carolina, and Minnesota, CWA member-educators have run workshops for participants from allied organizations, including the UAW and other unions, Jobs with Justice, and community groups.

CWA's Michigan Legislative-Political Coordinator, Mike Schulte, organized train-the-trainer sessions for 25 activists from labor, community, faith-based, and progressive organizations from the Detroit area. Most of the participants were members of South East Jobs with Justice Committee; their goal is to educate 800 new activists.

On Staten Island, N.Y., Runaway Inequality CWA Local 1102 member-educators Joe Tarulli and Ray Ragucci have led workshops for over 100 participants and are expanding those sessions to community allies. Local 1102 is part of the Sustainable Staten coalition, a group that grew out of the successful Verizon strike in 2016.

In Massachusetts, CWA Runaway Inequality trainers Sarah Buckley and Deborah Timmons, Local 1168; Ray Ragucci, 1102; Sonji-Ann Roseborough, 1106; Dennis Dunn, 1108; and Elijah Zimmerman, 1109, held workshops for 120 UAW participants.


From top left: Participants from Locals 1102, 1106, 1109, 1180 at the New York City training; members and leaders from Locals 7200, 87140, 7304, and 7250 in Minneapolis; members of Local 1168 in Buffalo, and left, participants from Local 1170 in Rochester; CWAers at Indianapolis training session, and CWA trainers with UAW participants in Massachusetts (bottom two photos).

Sarah Splitt

Union Supports Workers as Hurricane Recovery Continues

5 days 9 hours ago

Kristie Veit, president of CWA Local 6137, wrote a piece for the Caller-Times (Corpus Christi, Tex.) about how union members are helping Texans in the wake of Hurricane Harvey:

As president of the local communication workers union, CWA Local 6137, and the Coastal Bend Labor Council, I was especially moved by the stories of those who worked around the clock — even through the storm — to secure and repair our electric and communications systems.

Electricians like Brent Falwell, Kevin Martinez, and Stuart Diegel left their families at home while they worked all day leading up to the hurricane on back-up power plans for the hospital. In the evening, they moved outside, standing guard all through the storm, to monitor power poles that feed electricity to the hospital. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for them to leave their families behind to weather the hurricane while they went out to do their jobs for the greater good of the patients in the hospital.

And when the winds died down, union members did not let up, even as they needed relief of their own. We may be a month out from when Harvey hit, but there is still so much more that needs to be done before working families in the Corpus Christi area can truly recover. Union members like Richard Rock volunteered to help temporarily restore water to a Rockport resident even as he had lived without power in his own home for weeks. This is the very belief that drives the labor movement: We are all in this together.

Read the full piece here.

Sarah Splitt

U.S. Must Seek Strong Protections for Jobs in NAFTA Talks

5 days 9 hours ago

The Daily Herald (Everett, Wash.) featured a Letter to the Editor by Michael Schendel, president of Washington Alliance of Technology Workers/TNG-CWA Local 37083, on how ongoing NAFTA negotiations must include strong protections for U.S. workers:

Already, the third round of negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is finishing up, and despite Trump's promises to make NAFTA better for workers, recently his team proposed only weak standards that would do nothing to stem the flow of jobs to wherever workers can be paid the least.

NAFTA and subsequent deals have cost more than 79,000 direct jobs here in Washington State, according to just one narrow government retraining program that for most of its existence didn’t even include service jobs like call centers that were closed and shipped overseas. These job losses push down everyone's wages: NAFTA-style trade has suppressed most Americans' pay by 12.2 percent, according to a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research. That means some $3,300 less in their pockets each year for workers earning the median U.S. wage! Workers in Mexico don’t benefit, either, from the dangerous, low-wage jobs that move in and dominate their economy.

Read the full letter here.

Sarah Splitt

CWAers Rally to Remove ISDS from NAFTA

5 days 9 hours ago

As NAFTA negotiations continued this week, CWAers joined Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), David Cicilline (D-RI), Dan Kildee (D-MI), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) at a rally in Washington, D.C., to remove ISDS from NAFTA. The new NAFTA looks a lot like the TPP, particularly in that it doesn’t include eliminating the private justice system for multinational corporations called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

ISDS rigs the system by allowing foreign investors and multinationals to challenge local, state, and federal laws before a private panel of corporate lawyers, instead of in a country's court system. The private panel decides if a corporation's "expected future profits" would be harmed by the government action being challenged, and if so, the panel assesses its often multi-million dollars fines against the government. Decisions can't be appealed.


CWAers joined Members of Congress, including Reps. DeLauro (at the podium), Kaptur, Slaughter, Ellison, Dingell, Cicilline, Kildee, and Schakowsky, at a rally to remove ISDS from NAFTA.

Sarah Splitt

CWA to FCC: Mobile Service Not an Adequate Substitute to Robust Wireline Broadband

5 days 9 hours ago

CWA submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) an expert report that demonstrates that wireless technologies are not adequate alternatives to robust wireline broadband. The report was prepared by engineers and analysts of CTC Technology & Energy.

CWA submitted the report in response to the Commission's annual inquiry about whether broadband is being deployed in a timely fashion. In that inquiry, the Commission seeks comment on whether wireless broadband is comparable to wireline broadband, and proposes to downgrade the definition of advanced broadband service from its current 25 Mbps/3 Mbps (download/upload) speed to 10/1 Mbps speed for wireless.

The report conclusively finds that mobile and wireline broadband have been – and will continue to be – essential, complementary services. Americans who have access to only one service – wireline or wireless – will face significant disadvantages relative to their peers.

Read more here.

Sarah Splitt

Under Questioning from Sen. Donnelly, Wells Fargo CEO Sloan Admits Company's American Call Center Layoffs Due to Offshoring

1 week 4 days ago

Washington, DC – During a Senate Banking Committee hearing this week, Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) grilled Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan on the company’s practice of offshoring American call center jobs to cheaper overseas markets such as the Philippines. Upon questioning from Senator Donnelly, CEO Sloan admitted that recent rounds of layoffs at Wells Fargo call centers in America were directly related to the company’s increased hiring of call center workers in the Philippines – an admission at odds with the company’s supposed reasoning for the recent layoffs of hundreds of American call center workers.

Video of the exchange via CWA’s Twitter account:

You'll be SHOCKED to learn that @WellsFargo CEO Tim Sloan wasn't forthcoming when @SenDonnelly asked him about recent call center layoffs. pic.twitter.com/201MZTTxNs

— CWA (@CWAUnion) October 6, 2017

In September 2017, Wells Fargo announced it would eliminate 120 jobs at its Fort Mill, SC call center. In August 2017, Wells Fargo announced that it would eliminate 72 jobs at its Vancouver, WA call center and eventually close the center. The latest round of American call center layoffs continues a trend we saw in 2011 and 2012, when Wells Fargo laid off hundreds of American call center workers in such locations as California, Florida, and Pennsylvania. While the company blamed this new round of American worker layoffs on the drop-offs in foreclosures and changes in the mortgage servicing marketplace, Wells Fargo failed to mention its significant and growing presence of call centers overseas that are servicing the U.S. marketplace:

Wells Fargo Enterprise Global Services, LLC-Philippines, a subsidiary to Wells Fargo Bank, began in 2011 with fewer than 100 employees and now has more than 4,000 employees. In May 2017, the company highlighted that it was building a new location in McKinley Hill, Philippines that will seat more than 7,000 employees. Of note, these workers provide “business processing services” for the U.S. marketplace. In other words, these are call centers for U.S.-based customers of Wells Fargo.

Shane Larson, CWA Legislative Director, said, “It’s clear that Wells Fargo and many other corporations are laying off U.S. workers and shipping those jobs to the Philippines and other offshore locations. That’s why my union is fighting for bipartisan legislation to safeguard U.S. call center workers, the consumers they serve and the communities that depend on these jobs.”

The U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, co-sponsored by Senator Donnelly, requires that U.S. callers be told the location of the call center to which they are speaking; offers callers the opportunity to be connected to a U.S. based center if preferred; and makes U.S. companies that off-shore their call center jobs from the U.S. ineligible for certain federal grants and taxpayer-funded loans. A similar state bill in Indiana’s legislature, the “Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Bill,” has been introduced by State Senator David Niezgodski.

Call center offshoring also was a major focus of the recent Midwest Pick-up Tour: a series of rallies and events sponsored by CWA and Good Jobs Nation (GJN) that held President Trump and other elected officials accountable for their failed promises to America’s workers and drew attention to the continued offshoring of American jobs by the call center industry. From the first rally in Indianapolis to the final rally stop in Erie, PA, CWA local leaders, call center workers, and allies called on elected officials to keep their promises about bringing back good jobs to the U.S. At the Bloomington, IN rally, as Indiana Public Radio highlighted, Liz Watson, Democratic candidate for Indiana’s 9th congressional district in the 2018 election, spoke in support of state and federal call center legislation, noting: “I stand with Sen. Donnelly and his support for federal legislation that would keep our call center jobs in southern Indiana and in the U.S. And I stand in support of state legislation that would do the same thing.”

Larson said, “We thank Senator Donnelly for his leadership and support of this critical effort to save good U.S. jobs. We call on all Senators and Members of Congress to support bipartisan call center legislation to keep these good jobs here at home.”

Beth Allen

CTC Technology Report: Mobile Service Not an Adequate Substitute to Robust Wireline Broadband

1 week 4 days ago

Today, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) an expert report that demonstrates that wireless technologies are not adequate alternatives to robust wireline broadband. The report was prepared by engineers and analysts of CTC Technology & Energy.

CWA submitted the report in response to the Commission’s annual inquiry about whether broadband is being deployed in a timely fashion. In that inquiry, the Commission seeks comment on whether wireless broadband is comparable to wireline broadband, and proposes to downgrade the definition of advanced broadband service from its current 25 Mbps/3 Mbps (download/upload) speed to  10/1 Mbps speed for wireless. The CTC Technology & Energy report conclusively finds that mobile and wireline broadband have been—and will continue to be—essential, complementary services.  Americans who have access to only one service – wireline or wireless -- will face significant disadvantages relative to their peers.

The report analyzes the current and emerging generation of mobile wireless technologies and compares those technologies to wireline technologies such as fiber‐to‐the‐premises (FTTP), cable broadband, and copper DSL across a range of technical parameters, including reliability, resilience, scalability, capacity, and latency. The report evaluates wireless carriers’ mobile pricing and usage structures—including so‐called “unlimited” data plans—because those policies play a significant role in whether consumers can substitute mobile for wireline service.

The report concludes that, for both technical and business reasons, wireless technologies are not now, and will not be in the near to medium future, adequate alternatives or substitutes for wireline broadband.

Technology limitations:

Modern wireline broadband services are superior to wireless services in terms of capacity, reliability, and scalability. While cutting‐edge wireless technologies may surpass the theoretical bandwidth capabilities of some wireline products, FTTP networks easily surpass even the best of all planned or deployed wireless technologies. Even DSL networks can deliver a higher bandwidth and more reliable experience to consumers than can mobile so long as the DSL network is well‐maintained and includes adequate investment in electronics.

Today’s mobile broadband delivers only about one-tenth the speed available from wireline, is subject to interference from foliage and weather conditions, and is not suitable for many applications used by teleworkers, businesses, health professionals, students and others due to its more restricted reliability, latency, and capacity.

Existing mobile technologies must be evaluated based on their actual, current and relatively near‐term performance, rather than on the hypothetical speeds posited for “5G” technologies that the industry suggests will emerge in the coming decade or so. “5G” has not been defined and standards have not been finalized for this new technology. Rather, the term “5G” has effectively served as a marketing tool—suggesting that new technologies that will deliver far faster mobile speeds are somewhere on the horizon. That horizon, from an engineering standpoint, is quite distant—and the path to it is undetermined.

Suggesting that “5G” can currently or in the near to medium term serve as a substitute for adequate wireline service is suggesting that a non‐existent, non‐deployed technology should serve as an alternative. The hypothetical “5G” future should not serve as part of the current discussion about the relative merits of existing wireline and mobile networks.

The highest capacity wireless networks still require a large amount of fiber infrastructure for backhaul—meaning that rural communities and other areas where fiber infrastructure is scarce will likely have substandard, inadequate mobile service unless fiber is improved or expanded.

Business and usage policy limitations:

The business policies imposed by mobile companies further impact the usability of mobile service as a primary or sole source of broadband. Mobile pricing and usage limits make mobile service a poor substitute for wireline broadband services.

The recent shift in mobile pricing models from data caps to so‐called “unlimited” plans has not changed this outcome because, even though the product is not capped, users experience significant degradation of speeds via throttling after certain levels of use. Mobile providers dramatically limit customer usage and exert significant control over how applications run on their networks; these policies may have good technical or business justification but they have the impact of making the mobile service far inferior and less usable for consumers than wireline broadband service.

Read the full report here: https://www.cwa-union.org/sites/default/files/ctc_mobile_broadband_white_paper_-_final_-_20171004.pdf

“The CTC Report provides further evidence that Americans need access to robust wired and wireless networks,” CWA said in FCC comments. “The Commission must reject its proposal to ‘dumb down’ its broadband definition from 25/3 Mbps (download/upload speeds) to 10/1 Mbps for wireless service. There is still much to be done to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable high-speed broadband.”

Amy Fetherolf

T-Mobile Ordered to Rescind Illegal Policies

2 weeks 4 days ago

In a big victory, T-Mobile US workers have regained their right to speak out at work and other important rights on the job. The National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit have ordered T-Mobile to rescind its illegal workplace rules as of today, September 29, to notify all workers that this action has been taken, and to correct the current employee handbook and other work rules.

The NLRB notified T-Mobile of the Court’s decision enforcing the Board’s order earlier this month. In addition to the September 29 deadline for notification to all employees, T-Mobile must post notices in every workplace by October 6, alerting employees that the illegal rules are no longer in force.

T-Mobile was cited by the NLRB and the Court for 12 illegal workplace rules. T-Mobile workers, with the support of T-Mobile Workers United and the Communications Workers of America, fought back against this corporate gag rule that affected tens of thousands of workers.

A Judge found that, among other things, T-Mobile’s illegal job rules were written such that:

  • Workers were barred from discussing their wages and salaries with coworkers, the public, their union, or government investigators.
  • Workers were prohibited from disclosing and discussing other terms and conditions of employment, thanks to a vague and far-reaching confidentiality policy.
  • Workers were prohibited from using cameras or any other electronic devices to document unsafe conditions in the workplace or other problems.
  • Workers were prohibited from disclosing the identity of those involved in company investigations, keeping workers from working together to fight issues like sexual harassment.
  • Workers were required, under threat of firing, to sign a form stating that they would comply with the company’s illegal rules and report anyone who violated the illegal rules -- i.e., report those who exercise their rights under the law.

T-Mobile workers welcomed the decision, which came after years of hearings and appeals by the company. According to Justin Smith, a Messaging Specialist at the call center in Wichita, KS, “This is a big win for employees and another indication that unless we take a stand to force T-Mobile to follow the rules, they won't. It demonstrates the power of collective action.”

Victoria Singer, a Retail Support Representative at a call center in Albuquerque, NM, said, “T-Mobile is right in line with corporate America, implementing a multitude of rules meant to keep workers from talking to each other about our pay and working conditions. It’s a blatant attempt to keep us from organizing to improve our jobs and our lives. I’m proud to have been part of an effort to expose these illegal rules for what they are.”

“For years, T-Mobile maintained workplace rules that silenced, isolated, and surveilled workers. This was an unlawful regime. It stifled the employees’ right to organize. But thanks to some brave employees standing up and standing together, the rights of tens of thousands of American workers will now be affirmed. Their freedom of speech and freedom of association are being restored. And they can use those rights to bargain for a better deal at work. Exercising that organizing power isn’t just a good thing for them and their families, it’s good for their company, their communities, and the country at large,” said CWA General Counsel Jody Calemine.

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T-Mobile Workers United, CWA Local 6457, is an organization of T-Mobile and MetroPCS employees joining together for a voice and fair treatment on the job, and to work for positive change at the company.

 

CWA represents 700,000 working people in telecommunications, media, airlines, public service and manufacturing.

Tailor White

CWA President Chris Shelton on the Trump Tax Plan

2 weeks 5 days ago

"President Trump has promised that 'we will cut taxes tremendously for the middle class.' The truth is, this plan is a billionaire's dream masquerading as a tax cut for middle class families.

"Instead of funding programs that support working families, President Trump and Republican leaders are pushing steep cuts in tax rates that primarily benefit the wealthiest Americans and corporations.

"The idea that corporations will use these cuts to create jobs in the U.S. is laughable. Many U.S. corporations already pay taxes at a rate lower than that proposed by the Trump plan. Instead of investing in and creating good U.S. jobs, these corporations have slashed employment and are sending jobs overseas or to low-wage contractors. Any corporate tax cut will only further pad the bottom line of executives and top stockholders.

"For months, we've seen the White House and Republican leadership in Congress work furiously to try to cut Medicaid, health care, and other programs that working families depend on, to finance a big tax giveaway to corporations and the wealthy.

"Unfortunately, if this tax plan becomes law, we will see those attacks intensify, as revenue declines and our government finds itself unable to pay for repairs to crumbling roads and bridges, for disaster relief and first responders, and for the public services that are critical to our lives.

"Rather than benefiting from 'the biggest tax cut ever,' working and middle class families will be shouldering the costs. That’s not a plan working people can support."

Sarah Splitt

The Trump Tax Cuts By the Numbers

2 weeks 5 days ago

The Republican leadership and Trump administration are working overtime to sell their tax plan as a big tax cut for middle class families.

Take a closer look at the numbers. That claim just doesn't add up.

  • A married couple with one child earning $24,850 a year or less and claiming the standard deduction would get no tax cut.
  • A married couple with one child earning $48,700 (that’s the median income in 2015 for a working family) and claiming the standard deduction would get a net tax cut of just $180 for the entire year.
  • A household in the top 1 percent (meaning an income of $700,000 a year and up) would get about $150,000 a year. This group would get half of the tax cuts.
  • The top one-tenth of 1 percent of households (meaning incomes above $3.8 million) would get about 30 percent of the tax cuts, or an average of about $800,000 a year per household.

Source: Committee on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Read more here and here.

Sarah Splitt

Help CWA Members Devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria

2 weeks 5 days ago

CWA President Chris Shelton is urging CWA locals and members to help CWA members and their families in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Florida, who have suffered devastating damage from recent hurricanes.

Especially hard hit is Puerto Rico, where Hurricane Maria left countless homes damaged or destroyed. Residents are expected to remain without water or power for weeks or months. Communications remain spotty as CWA members work around the clock to restore mobile phone services.

Puerto Rico is home to two CWA locals, Upagra (TNG-CWA 33225) and CWA Local 3010. Local President Luis Benítez reports the 3010 offices are ruined; officers are securing a temporary site to serve as a member assistance center.

There are two ways members can help.

  1. Click here to sign our petition to ask President Trump and Congress to focus their attention on getting critical supplies and support to Puerto Rico as soon as possible.
  2. Donate to the District 3 Disaster Relief Fund at www.cwa-union.org/d3-relief. Every dollar will go directly to assist CWA members in need of shelter, dry clothing, and basic medical supplies. Donations are not tax-deductible.

In addition to the District 3 Disaster Relief Fund, the national CWA Disaster Relief Fund is also helping our members hurt by Hurricanes Irma, Maria, and Harvey.

It will take many months for CWA families to recover from these hurricanes and their aftermath. We need everyone's help today to respond to this humanitarian crisis and assist our brothers and sisters.

Sarah Splitt

Getting It Done in Jackson

2 weeks 5 days ago

CWA members in Jackson, Miss., are celebrating the end of two years of harsh furloughs. To balance the budget at the end of 2015, the former mayor initiated a two-day per month furlough for city workers. For Jackson city workers, this was equivalent to a nearly 10% wage cut.

MASE/CWA Local 3570, in conjunction with the Public, Healthcare, and Education Workers department, launched a campaign to challenge the furlough. Monthly actions pressured City Hall, and the campaign inspired over 50 new members to join CWA.

In the spring of 2017, then Mayoral candidate Chokwe Lumumba announced his opposition to the furlough, and CWA activists worked hard for his election. CWAers attended a Political Activist Bootcamp for city workers, knocked on hundreds of doors, and staffed phone banks. CWA was the only union to endorse Lumumba prior to the all-important Democratic primary.

"We are excited to announce the elimination of the furlough effective October 1, 2017," said Mayor Lumumba. "We have a progressive vision for our city, one that includes treating city employees with the dignity and respect they deserve. Ending the furlough allows us to demonstrate our commitment to and appreciation of our hard-working city employees."

CWA Public, Healthcare, and Education Workers Vice President Brooks Sunkett said the end of the furlough will spur further and deeper organizing in Mississippi. "Ending the furlough is just the first step. We won't stop until all public sector workers in Mississippi have rights on the job. His decision to end the furlough shows that Chokwe Lumumba is leading a new era for workers’ rights in the South."


Jackson CWA members rally for fair pay.

Sarah Splitt

CWA Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court's Decision to Hear the Janus Case

2 weeks 5 days ago

Statement by CWA President Chris Shelton on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear the Janus v. AFSCME case:

Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the Janus v. AFSCME case continues the campaign by corporate interests and right wing groups to restrict the ability of working people to stand together.

These groups have been plotting for decades to take away workers’ freedom to join together and negotiate for fair wages and benefits, and to improve our workplaces.

Labor law requires that a union, chosen by the majority, represent every worker in a bargaining unit. While no worker is required to join a union, workers can be required to pay their fair share for the cost of the representation -- the cost of bargaining higher wages and benefits and the cost of representing a worker through the grievance system. The right-wing attack on fair share is all about weakening unions, with the hope of giving corporations even more power and accelerating the assault on achievements like Social Security, civil rights, wage and hour and safety laws, Medicare, and public education that unions fight everyday to preserve.

We hope that the Supreme Court sees through this latest attack on the freedoms and rights of working people and deals with the issues in the Janus case fairly.

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The Communications Workers of America represents 700,000 workers in telecommunications, public service, health care and education, media, airlines, and manufacturing.

Tailor White

Supreme Court to Hear Case Attacking Workers' Rights

2 weeks 5 days ago

The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear the Janus v. AFSCME case next year. Read President Shelton's statement:

Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the Janus v. AFSCME case continues the campaign by corporate interests and right wing groups to restrict the ability of working people to stand together. These groups have been plotting for decades to take away workers' freedom to join together and negotiate for fair wages and benefits, and to improve our workplaces.

Labor law requires that a union, chosen by the majority, represent every worker in a bargaining unit. While no worker is required to join a union, workers can be required to pay their fair share for the cost of the representation – the cost of bargaining higher wages and benefits and the cost of representing a worker through the grievance system. The right-wing attack on fair share is all about weakening unions, with the hope of giving corporations even more power and accelerating the assault on achievements like Social Security, civil rights, wage and hour and safety laws, Medicare, and public education that unions fight every day to preserve.

We hope that the Supreme Court sees through this latest attack on the freedoms and rights of working people and deals with the issues in the Janus case fairly.

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No matter how the Court decides, CWA members will meet the challenge and do everything possible to strengthen our union and withstand the attacks on our very right to exist. CWA locals are bringing more members into our union to strengthen our voice at the bargaining table and at every level of the political process. That's what CWA STRONG is all about.

Sarah Splitt

Health Care Repeal Fails Again - For Now

2 weeks 5 days ago

It appears that the Republican leadership has failed in their latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act – for now.

Republicans have been campaigning on "repeal and replace" for seven years, but they have never come up with an actual plan to replace the ACA that improves access to health care. The new bill, called Graham-Cassidy, was the most shameful proposal yet.

Their latest health care repeal bill would have raised costs, gotten rid of protections for people with pre-existing conditions, drastically changed how our entire health care system works, and eliminated coverage for millions of Americans. It would have put an 'age tax' in place, requiring older Americans to pay thousands of dollars more, it would have made health care bargaining much more difficult, and it would have slashed Medicaid.

The latest GOP failure shows that mobilization works. CWA members have been e-mailing, calling, and showing up in legislators' offices for months to let them know that these changes are unacceptable. It's only because of the loud public outcry that millions of people won’t be thrown off their health care plans.

But the fight isn’t over. We've seen the Republicans get within one vote of repealing the ACA, and with the Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, we know they will try again. CWAers fought hard to kill this attempt to repeal the ACA, and they'll be on the front lines if and when the GOP tries again to strip health care access from millions.

Sarah Splitt

CWA LPAT Activists Help Elect State Senator in Florida

2 weeks 5 days ago

Activists and members of CWA Local 3122 were the critical force in electing Annette Taddeo (D) to the Florida State Senate. The special election was Sept. 26.

A longtime supporter of CWA and working family issues, Taddeo backs legislation to keep good call center jobs in the U.S., ensure affordable health care for all, and fully fund public schools.

CWA Legislative and Political Team activists staffed phone banks and contacted every member in the Miami-Dade district twice, leafleted worksites, met one-on-one with their coworkers, and held two labor walks to build support and turnout for Taddeo.

Taddeo's opponent, a former contestant on the television show "The Apprentice" and a supporter of President Trump, outspent her by more than $1 million. But worker-to-worker contact made all the difference, and Taddeo was elected in a historically Republican district by a 51-47 percent margin.

The Senate special election was held following the resignation of Frank Artiles (R-40). Artiles had made racist comments but was refusing to resign. CWA joined community and faith leaders in protesting Artiles and demanding his resignation.


CWA LPAT activists celebrate with their new Florida State Senator Annette Taddeo (second from left).

Sarah Splitt

Organizing Update

2 weeks 5 days ago

M&R Strategic Services

Workers at M&R Strategic Services voted overwhelmingly to join the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA Local 32035. There are 82 unit members at the online advocacy company with offices in New York and Washington.

Workers fought back against an intense employer anti-union campaign, including an unsuccessful effort to label 19 workers as supervisors to exclude them from the bargaining unit.

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District 3 Organizing Retreat

Thirteen organizers from District 3 locals met in Atlanta to brainstorm about internal and external organizing throughout the District. CWA District 3 VP Richard Honeycutt said, "As the CWA STRONG initiative spreads, there is a new spirit of organizing in District 3. With the team of organizers we have in our district, there is no doubt that we will meet and even exceed our goals in the Southeast. Our organizers are excited, I’m excited, and together we will grow and strengthen our union."

Sarah Splitt
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3 days 8 hours ago
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