Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

Activists Taking 'iWon't' Upgrade Message Nationwide

San Francisco Apple Protest

In San Francisco, CWAers got creative as they leafleted Apple customers about Verizon.

As bargaining continues, thousands of CWAers and allies are keeping up the pressure on Verizon and Verizon Wireless to bargain a fair contract.

Over the last week, hundreds of activists took the nationwide "iWon't" campaign to customers outside Verizon Wireless stories, urging them not to upgrade to Apple's new 4S phone until the company agrees to a fair contract.

Last week, Apple's flagship Stockton Street store in San Francisco was the place to be for CWAers, IBEW members and other allies who passed out leaflets asking customers to delay their upgrades.

"We know tech lovers are eager to get their hands on the latest offering from Apple," said CWA District 9 Area Director Libby Sayre. "We're asking that when they do, they take into account the labor record of the service provider they choose. We gave out hundreds and hundreds of fliers, and walked carrying our banners up and down the long line. We got lots of attention."

At iWon't and related Verizon and Verizon Wireless mobilizations across the country, CWA members are being joined by supporters from MoveOn.org, the AFL-CIO, US Action, Jobs with Justice, and other groups. Leafleting was also held outside Verizon Wireless stores in Florida in Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale, and at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, where CWAers hand-billed sports fans attending the Atlanta Falcons game. Sign CWA's "iWon't Upgrade" pledge to support a fair contract for members at Verizon and Verizon Wireless.

Members of CWA Local 1109 have a great video explaining why the Verizon and Verizon Wireless mobilization campaign is about saving good Middle Class jobs. View the video here.

Sign Up Now for Next Week's Verizon Update Call

National and district CWA leaders will be updating members on Verizon and Verizon Wireless negotiations and mobilization next Thursday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. (EDT).

Register now for the call by texting VZCALL to 69866 or sign up online at www.cwa-union.org/verizoncall.

If you'd like to submit a question for the call, use the online sign-up form, even if you've registered previously.

Policy Experts, Academics Talk Inequality, Innovation at CWA Forum

Innovation Forum

CWA President Larry Cohen discusses the roots of wage inequality in the U.S. with Goldman Sachs' Abby Cohen and White House economic advisor Jason Furman.

CWA, Georgetown University's Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor and the Center for Economic and Policy Research hosted a forum for economic and policy experts on wage inequality, innovation and global and competitive challenges facing the U.S.

The findings were presented to the U.S. Department of Commerce as part of its comprehensive study and report on the economic competitiveness and innovative capacity of the United States. CWA President Larry Cohen is a member of the Innovation Advisory Board that works with the Department of Commerce.

CWA's Cohen outlined the reasons why income inequality is growing in the U.S., particularly the elimination of collective bargaining rights that has meant fewer workers able to make real improvements in their wage and job conditions.

Abby Cohen, senior investment strategist at Goldman Sachs, discussed the impact of education rates that have been stagnant over the past 10-12 years, and also pointed to declining research and development and patents in the U.S. as another serious concern. Research and development spending as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product is just 2 percent, and just half of the patents issued go to U.S. citizens, the rest going to Asian countries.

Jason Furman of the White House National Economic Council cited unemployment as the most extreme form of inequality because it negatively affects growth and democracy. The President is focusing on his jobs plan and looking to other ways that innovation can expand opportunities for working Americans.

Also participating were leading academics, economists and other policy experts.

CWAers Join Thousands for Jobs, Justice March to New MLK Memorial

CWAers at MLK March

CWA members, their families and CWA's giant puppet marched to the new MLK memorial last weekend with thousands of other union and civil rights activists.

MLK March

Calling for jobs and economic justice, CWA members were among thousands of Americans who marched last Saturday to the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on Washington's National Mall.

Unions and civil rights groups joined together for the march and rally, one day before the new memorial was officially dedicated.

Local 3204 President Walter Andrews of Atlanta led the CWA delegation and denounced Congress for its inaction on the country's jobs crisis.

"As we dedicate this monument to Dr. King, we have another set of eyes watching these mean-spirited Republicans and these weak-kneed Democrats," Andrews said, as reported by NPR. "They need to stop playing games with America's working class people and put America back to work now."

Walter Andrews at MLK March

CWA Local 3024 President Walter Andrews

Speakers criticized Senate Republicans for refusing to let President Obama's jobs bill even come to the floor for a vote. The crowd chanted, "Pass This Bill! Pass This Bill!"

King's son, Martin Luther King III, told the crowd that if his father were alive, "he would be right here with all of us — involved in this demonstration today."

Unions Help Build 'Occupy' Movement; Send Us Photos from Your City

Occupy Austin

CWAers in Austin (above) and Boston are among thousands of union members helping the Occupy Wall Street movement grow nationally.

Occupy Boston

With a focus on good jobs, fair taxes and other policies to rebuild America's middle class, CWA and other unions are helping the Occupy Wall Street movement grow, from Boston to Austin and cities up and down the West Coast.

In Austin, members of the Texas State Employees Union-CWA Local 6186 took part in a large, peaceful assembly at City Hall two weeks ago and will march there again on Sunday. "Our objective is to help energize the labor movement in Austin by raising our voices together to say, 'Stop the War on Working People,'" TSEU said.

In Boston last week, CWAers helped lead a march, carrying a banner about Verizon and Verizon Wireless destroying middle class jobs.

The CWA Newsletter would like to collect high-quality (high-resolution) digital photographs of the many other peaceful Occupy protests that members are involved in nationwide. Please send us some of your best photographs, or a link if you have uploaded pictures to a website. Be sure to tell us when and where the events took place. Email us at news@cwa-union.org.

NYC Community Organizer Wins First-Ever Berger-Marks' Edna Award

Berger-Marks Edna Award Winners

Honored by the Berger-Marks Foundation for their social justice work are, from left Edna Award runners-up Laurie Kennington, and Mackenzie Baris, winner Ana Maria Archila and top-10 finalist Elizabeth Wilkins.

Chosen from more than 400 inspiring nominations, the co-director of a dynamic New York City grassroots advocacy organization has been named the first-ever winner of the Berger-Marks Foundation's Edna Award.

Ana Maria Archila leads Make the Road New York, which promotes economic justice, equity and opportunity for low-income Latinos and all New Yorkers through community and electoral organizing, policy advocacy, leadership development, youth and adult education, and legal and support services.

The Edna Award honors women 35 and younger who are leaders in the social justice movement. It is named for Edna Berger, the first woman organizer for The Newspaper Guild-CWA and an energetic social justice activist. Financial bequests from Berger and her husband created the Berger-Marks Foundation, which provides financial assistance and other support for women involved in union organizing.

Foundation leaders and judges said they were overwhelmed by the energy, passion and accomplishments of the young women who vied for the award. "The range of activities of the applicants to further social justice was remarkable — from union organizers and leaders to programs to end inner-city violence to immigrant rights advocacy and fundraising to help African children orphaned by AIDS," said Foundation President Linda Foley.

Archila, 32, and finalists for the Edna Award were honored Wednesday night at a ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Archila immigrated to the United States from Colombia when she was 17. Under her leadership, MRNY initiatives are engaging students and parents in school policies and funding; empowering young, low-income, and immigrant voters; and providing job training and placement services. MRNY also was at the forefront of the fight to win comprehensive legislation that cracked down on dangerous housing conditions in New York City.

Archila's award comes with $10,000 from Berger-Marks. Three finalists received $1,000. They are Emily Arnold-Fernandez, 34, who founded Asylum Access to advance the rights of refugees; Mackenzie Baris, 32, the lead organizer of Jobs with Justice in Washington, D.C.; and Laurie Kennington, 33, who has led highly successful organizing drives and won an historic contract at Yale University as president of UNITE HERE Local 34.

TNG-CWA Secretary-Treasurer Carol Rothman was one of the five Edna Award judges. The others were SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler, NOW President Terry O'Neill, and Valerie Ervin, president of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Council.

Read more about the Edna Award winners and the other work of the Berger-Marks Foundation at www.bergermarks.org.

Reporter Who Exposed War-Profiteering Wins Guild's Broun Award

Broun Award

Click here to read the Broun Award-winning investigation of war profiteering by life insurance companies.

A journalist whose investigation exposed wartime profiteering by more than 130 life insurance companies has won The Newspaper Guild-CWA's distinguished Heywood Broun Award.

David Evans of Bloomberg News will be honored with other groundbreaking journalists at the Guild's annual awards ceremony, being held on October 20 at the Maritime Institute Conference Center near Baltimore. The award includes a $5,000 check.

The panel of top journalists judging the 69th annual Broun award, named for the famed columnist who helped found the Guild, said "Profiteering from Fallen Soldiers" stood out in a field full of complex, high-quality entries.

"In the greatest tradition of Broun, Bloomberg News' entry champions the underdog and corrects an injustice," the judges wrote. "Evans goes behind the public scenes and uncovers the dirty little secret of profiteering off the death of soldiers, airmen, Marines and sailors. There can be no higher calling."

Two pairs of journalists are also being honored with Broun Awards of Substantial Distinction. Laura Sullivan and Steven Drummond of National Public Radio won for their three-part investigation of court bonding practices, "Bonding for Profit." Marshall Allen and Alex Richards of the Las Vegas Sun won for the meticulously detailed "Do No Harm," about the quality of the area's hospital care, a project that took two years of research. Both teams of journalists will receive $1,000 with their awards.

The ceremony also recognizes the work of student journalists, with the annual David S. Barr Awards, named for the Guild's late, long-serving attorney. Ben Breuner and Michael Weinstein of Redwood High School in Larkspur, Calif., won for their five-piece feature, "Targeting Teens," documenting how Marin County police were profiling teenagers. The college winner is Meagan Gillmore of Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ontario, for "Colborne Street Revisted" about the demolition of 41 historic properties in the city's downtown core.

"At a time when journalism has endured its own economic difficulties along with the rest of the country, this year's Heywood Broun Award entries show that the news industry is more than capable of continuing to provide the depth and complexity of work that a free press must if our society is to endure," the judges said. "It is also exciting to see the watchdogs still on duty at a time when our business is much maligned, which bodes well for the future of journalism."

Check Out the Latest at 'Eye on Sprint'

eyeonsprintlogo

The bad news just keeps coming for Sprint. Last week, Moody's Investor Service downgraded Sprint's credit rating, and Standard & Poors is reviewing Sprint's debt to possibly do the same.

Sprint has been talking trash about the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, but financial reporters and analysts are telling Sprint, "You're on thin ice."

Read the latest at www.eyeonsprint.org.

Biden Rallies with Supporters of 'Back to Work' Act

Teachers & First Responders Rally

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) joined hundreds of public employees and Vice President Joe Biden at a rally Wednesday to urge passage of the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) also spoke.

An overflow crowd of teachers, firefighters, police officers and union activists, including CWAers, joined Vice President Joe Biden for a rally inside the Russell Senate Building on Wednesday to call for passage of the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act (S. 1723).

"Watch them and see how they choose," Biden said. "Are they going to put 300,000 teachers back in the classroom, 15,000 firefighters back on the job and thousands of police officers back on the beat or vote to save people with incomes of more than $1 million a one-half of 1 percent increase on the their taxes for every dollar they make over a million?"

Biden stressed that President Obama and his advisors worked hard to craft a jobs bill that Republicans could support, only to have the GOP continue to play games with Americans' lives. The bill, "wasn't designed to put Republicans on the spot. It was designed to do something to help this country," he said.

Click here to send a message to tell your senators to pass the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act.

Show Your Support for T-Mobile Workers

Activists around the globe are continuing to join the campaign for workers' rights at T-Mobile. At the UNI meeting in Mexico City, CWA President Larry Cohen outlined the latest e-campaign to support T-Mobile workers. Go to www.weworkbettertogether.org to learn more.

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