CWA News

CWA Statement on the Senate's Health Care Plan

5 days 16 hours ago

Statement by President Chris Shelton, Communications Workers of America, on the health care plan released today by the Senate:

“I wouldn’t have believed it possible but the health care proposal released today by Senate Republicans is in many ways worse than the version that House Republicans adopted.

This plan, drafted in complete secrecy by a handful of Republican leaders – all men – would leave millions of Americans without health care coverage. It allows states to drop coverage for services like maternity care and emergency services.

Many states would be forced to kick low-income and disabled people off their health care coverage once federal funding for the Medicaid program is cut, as this Senate bill would do. The Senate’s attack on Medicaid is even worse than that of the House bill.

Health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers and of course the wealthiest Americans still would get tax cuts, just like in the House version.  Union members fortunate enough to keep their coverage, however, will be punished with higher costs under the “Cadillac tax” that Republicans left in place. 

Many Americans will find the cost of health care premiums simply unaffordable.   

President Trump said that he hoped the Senate version wouldn’t be as ‘mean’ as the bill passed by House Republicans. In fact, it’s worse. It is a slap in the face to millions of hard-working Americans who need and want access to quality, affordable care.

We know where Democratic and Independent Senators stand on health care. Unanimously, they oppose this bill to strip health care coverage from millions of Americans in order to give more tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations. It’s time for those Republican Senators who today are expressing such concern about the impact of this shameful plan on ordinary Americans to show the courage of their convictions.  

As the Senate Republican leadership moves ahead on plans to rush this horrendous bill to a vote early next week, Senators will be hearing from us and millions of working people.”  

 

Candice Johnson

Bargaining Update

5 days 17 hours ago

CenturyLink

CenturyLink workers voted with a strong majority to ratify an agreement with CenturyLink that extends the current contract by 3 years. The contract covers about 10,300 employees in 13 different states including Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

The deal includes wage increases of 3%, 2.5%, and 2.5% over the term of the agreement.

In late 2016, CenturyLink made it clear to CWA that they wanted to roll back health and welfare benefits, increasing out of pocket costs and deductibles. The company also indicated they wanted changes to disability, pensions, life insurance, and the 401K plan. The bargaining committee was able to push back on many of these items.

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AT&T East

Workers at AT&T East ratified a new contract covering about 200 workers at CWA Local 1298.

The contract provides for pay raises, improvements in severance benefits, continued affordable healthcare and other improvements for AT&T East workers in Connecticut.

Sarah Splitt

Call Center Legislation Update

5 days 17 hours ago

CWA's nationwide fight to protect call center jobs continues with several states taking action to pass legislation that would help keep jobs in the U.S.

Ohio

Lawmakers from the Ohio House of Representatives held a hearing this week on state legislation that would stand up against the offshoring of call center jobs from Ohio.

Introduced in both houses of the state legislature, HB 245 would help revitalize the Ohio call center and customer service industry. The legislation would create a list of Ohio companies that offshore call center and customer service jobs to overseas locations and would deny these companies access to taxpayer dollars in any form. The bill also would require that all customer service and call center work done on behalf of the state of Ohio is done within the state.

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New York

The New York version of the call center legislation, sponsored by New York Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, passed in the New York State Assembly by 101 to 14 votes. The legislation will be taken up by the State Senate next.


New York Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal (fourth from left) sponsored CWA-supported legislation to save call center jobs.

Sarah Splitt

How AT&T's Outsourcing Compromises Customer Service and Job Quality

5 days 17 hours ago

Frustrated that AT&T has failed to come to the table with serious proposals that protect good jobs, wireless retail workers – members of CWA – are taking their concerns about the telecom giant's expanding web of third-party dealer stores, known as authorized retailers, directly to customers. Workers launched a new website – ATTConsumerAlert.org – that provides tips to help customers spot these dealer stores and their Wells Fargo-style quota systems that may create service headaches for millions of people.

A new report released by CWA provides an in-depth look at the company's vast network of more than 3,360 stores that operate under the guise of AT&T's logo but are actually owned by third parties that run a low-cost business model that brings risks of not only worker exploitation, but also customer harm. Over the past few years, AT&T has increasingly handed over the operations of its retail operations to these third-party dealers—they now represent over 60% of all AT&T branded stores.

"Because AT&T's authorized retailers push a 'quantity over quality' mentality, in my experience authorized retail employees simply don't have the resources to provide the trustworthy and reliable customer service customers expect," said John Morrison, an AT&T retail worker in Florida. "There is a never-ending stream of AT&T customers coming into my store with complaints from dealers. What's the result: my co-workers and I lose out on our own pay to clean up the mess and our customers get the runaround—all while AT&T brings in billions in profits."

The Consumerist published a piece highlighting the issues with AT&T's network of third-party dealers:

"AT&T's third party dealer stores look like full-fledged AT&T outlets, but they are often skeleton operations with smaller staffs and less ability to meet customer needs,” reads a newly released report [PDF] from the union. "It appears that the companies running these stores are not looking to burnish the brand – after all, they depend on AT&T to provide a quality network and compelling marketing – rather they seem to be seeking to maximize sales with minimum expenses."

The CWA maintains that third-party owned locations provide a degraded customer service experience, and their report contains a long list of alleged issues that they claim stem from a sales-focused culture, lower pay, and aggressive commission structure offered by third-party dealers. The union is pushing for AT&T to commit to a specific ratio of corporate-owned to authorized retailers — a concession that would place a check on the growth of the third-party operations.

Read the full piece here.

Sarah Splitt

'Malicious Intent' of House Legislation in Full View

5 days 17 hours ago

Last week, CWA General Counsel Jody Calemine testified before a House Subcommittee on three bills that would deny workers the right to bargain for better wages and working conditions.

When we were watching Calemine's testimony, we wondered why the guy sitting behind him seemed so excited about these bills that would take away our freedom to join together and negotiate for a fair return on our work. Here's what we found out.

Sarah Splitt

Local 1031 is CWA Strong

5 days 17 hours ago


The CWA Strong movement continues to spread! On June 12, over 35 CWA Local 1031 elected officers, shop stewards, and branch presidents gathered for a CWA Strong training on building workplace power and resisting corporate attacks on our union.

Branch Presidents and Shop Stewards are putting plans in place to strengthen the union by signing up new members in the workplace. Local 1031 represents public sector workers at State Colleges and Universities, and several municipal libraries across New Jersey.

Sarah Splitt

Runaway Inequality

5 days 17 hours ago


CWAers from Locals 1101, 1106, 1109, and 1180 gathered for a Runaway Inequality training to learn how to fight for a better future for everyone – not just the top 1%.

Sarah Splitt

StoryCorps Employees Call on Management to Voluntarily Recognize Union, Stop Anti-Union Campaign

5 days 17 hours ago

A week ago, the workers at StoryCorps in New York City filed for a union election to join CWA, and instead of embracing the organization's values and listening to the voices of their workers, management has gone full anti-union. Workers have been forced to attend captive audience meetings and listen to anti-union lectures aimed at preventing them from exercising their right to organize and demand a voice on the job.

StoryCorps workers want a voice and a say in their working conditions. Anti-union captive audience meetings should not be something any worker has to endure to exercise their rights on the job – especially not at an organization that claims to have a work environment "where respect and dignity are paramount."

Take action and learn more here.


StoryCorps workers are fighting for a voice on the job.

Sarah Splitt

CWA-IBT Association Seeks Answers to American Uniform Problems

5 days 17 hours ago

After the introduction of new uniforms last September, hundreds of American Airlines agents reported negative physical reactions ranging from rashes and swollen eyes to nausea.

The CWA-IBT Passenger Service Association, representing around 15,000 agents at American Airlines, has documented these negative impacts and is working with American Airlines management to ensure that any future uniforms address agents' concerns about negative physical reactions and other health issues.

As the process of selecting a new uniform design and supplier goes forward, agents will continue to have several uniform options, including wool, polyester, 100 percent cotton, and off-the-shelf clothing.

"The union's primary goal is to ensure that no agent's health is put at risk on the job," said CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt, head of CWA's airline bargaining council. "We demanded that management investigate the problem and ensure proper testing while continuing to work on a long-term solution."

Sarah Splitt

CenturyLink Workers Ratify New Contract

5 days 22 hours ago

CenturyLink workers voted with a strong majority to ratify an agreement with CenturyLink that extends the current contract by 3 years. The contract covers about 10,300 employees in 13 different states including Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

The deal includes wage increases of 3%, 2.5%, and 2.5% over the term of the agreement.

In late 2016, CenturyLink made it clear to CWA that they wanted to roll back health and welfare benefits, increasing out of pocket costs and deductibles. The company also indicated they wanted changes to disability, pensions, life insurance, and the 401K plan. The bargaining committee was able to push back on many of these items.

“This contract is a win for CenturyLink workers,” said CWA District 7 media spokesperson Al Kogler. “We made substantial gains in base wages that will help offset the rising cost of healthcare for our members, and preserved the current pension and 401k plan.”

Tailor White

Communications Workers of America (CWA) Submits Comments to FCC on Proposed Gutting of Regulations to Protect Legacy Copper Network Customers

1 week 5 days ago

CWA has submitted comments in response to the FCC’s Public Notice in the 2017 Wireline Infrastructure Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), Notice of Inquiry (NOI), and Request for Comment. The comments read in part:

There is much the Commission can do to accelerate private sector investment in high-speed networks, close the digital divide, and promote digital inclusion. CWA fully supports policies that promote fiber expansion and does not believe that incumbent carriers should be required to maintain two networks indefinitely. But the policy proposals in this NPRM, NOI, and Request for Comment have nothing to do with accelerating broadband investment, and everything to do with allowing broadband providers to weaken or eliminate essential consumer protections, endanger public and worker safety, and undermine universal service obligations.

CWA urges the Commission take the following action that will facilitate private sector investment in broadband infrastructure while fostering the Commission’s enduring values of public safety, universal service, consumer protection, and competition during and after the technology transitions:

  1. Pole Attachments. The Commission should reject “one-touch, make-ready” proposals that short-circuit safe processes, leave third parties and their contractors without accountability for poor or unsafe work, and violate legally-binding collective bargaining agreements, eliminating good jobs in the community. The Commission should maintain its current timeframes governing pole attachments or, in the alternative, ensure that any changes in the timelines are sufficient to complete all aspects of the work (survey, cost estimate, make-ready, and inspection) safely and accurately.
  2. Copper Retirement. The Commission should retain the retail customer 90-day advance notification of copper-to-fiber migration. Clear, timely, and sufficient advance notice facilitates network upgrades by giving consumers the information and time they need to prepare for change. The Commission should maintain de facto retirement in its definition of copper retirement as a deterrent to incumbent LECs’ failure to maintain copper networks and as an incentive to upgrade those networks to fiber.
  3. Preemption of State and Local Laws. State laws that require incumbent carriers to maintain adequate facilities and equipment serve to further Commission broadband goals by requiring incumbent LECs to improve copper networks, which deliver DSL service, and encouraging incumbent carriers to upgrade to fiber to avoid copper maintenance costs. Moreover, Commission preemption of state and local statutes that promote universal service, consumer protection, public safety and welfare, and quality telecommunications service or manage rights-of-way and require fair and reasonable compensation for the use of public facilities would violate the language of Sections 253(b) and 253(c) of the Communications Act.
  4. Functional Equivalent Test. Congress enacted Section 214(a) of the Communications Act to make sure that the people in communities that have relied on a particular service are not harmed by its discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of that service. That task is a critical part of encouraging technology transitions. The Commission’s “functional test” correctly assesses the circumstances of the affected community to determine whether a replacement service exists. Stripping down the Section 214 protections would be a dangerous disservice to communities, particularly small towns and rural areas, where a functionally equivalent alternative may not be available.

Read the full comments here: https://www.cwa-union.org/sites/default/files/cwa_wireline_broadband_comments_final_with_appendices.pdf

Tailor White

Local 1180 is CWA STRONG

1 week 5 days ago

In a challenging time for labor unions, Local 1180 is organizing to make a difference.

Local 1180 is one of the largest CWA public sector locals, representing more than 8,500 workers and 6,200 retirees. Most work in one of dozens of New York City Mayoral agencies; others at the Health and Hospitals Corporation, the Board of Education, the Housing Authority, the Transit Authority, the School Construction Authority, and the state's Unified Court System. Local 1180 also represent workers at private companies such as the Jacob Javits Convention Center; and at not-for-profit organizations including Planned Parenthood of New York City, the ASPCA, Human Rights First, and Human Rights Watch.


More than 100 Local 1180 members took to the steps of City Hall for Equal Pay Day. The Union's favorable settlement with the City was announced at the rally, setting off a roaring round of applause.

Over the past year, the local has adopted a community-based internal organizing strategy to not only sign up new members, but also help members get engaged and build a powerful grassroots network in their local communities. With this strategy in place, Local 1180 President Arthur Cheliotes says that they've seen a big rise in members showing up to local borough meetings to make their voices heard.

"Our goal as a union is to make sure that we're an effective voice for workers in collective bargaining, as well as an organization that speaks for working people in our communities," said Cheliotes. "Our members – and not just stewards – are talking to their coworkers individually to make sure they know how the union is working to improve their lives, and to then get them actively involved in strengthening our efforts."

The work that the local has done has had concrete benefits for workers. This April, the local reached a favorable settlement in an EEOC case against the City of New York for pay discrimination, with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling that the city needed to give raises to the workers and back pay and other damages totaling more than $246 million. Additionally, the local was able to get 40 out of 51 New York City Council members to support a bill to require gender wage data for the public sector and City contractors to be made available and transparent to the public.

"Our union is here to make sure that workers are being treated fairly in the workplace, and to improve the lives of our families and communities," said Cheliotes.

Sarah Splitt
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1 hour 5 minutes ago
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