Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

AT&T/T-Mobile Deal Will Benefit Workers and Build Out Broadband

TU card

AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile USA is good news. AT&T will build out broadband to provide service to 95 percent of the country and workers at T-Mobile will benefit from a management record of neutrality in organizing.

The merger of AT&T and T-Mobile spectrum will improve AT&T's network and quality, along with the job security of CWA members.

In just the past two days since the public announcement was made, a new wave of T-Mobile workers is looking to have a real voice at their company.

CWA and ver.di, the German union that represents workers at T-Mobile and parent company Deutsche Telekom, formed TU to represent workers on both sides of the Atlantic. The forum at www.tuworkers.org is buzzing, and CWA organizers are providing workers with information about just how to get a union voice.

The acquisition must be approved by regulators; that process may take a year. But now, there is the opportunity for a fresh start for T-Mobile workers who currently work in an atmosphere of management fear and intimidation.

"This announcement is a positive development, both for the future of broadband in the US and Germany, and for the employees of T-Mobile USA in particular, given AT&T's record in respect of fundamental workers' rights," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings said, "We will continue our global union efforts for Deutsche Telekom to sign a Global Agreement with UNI to ensure all its workers around the world have the right to join a union and bargain collectively."

More Benefits to the Deal

AT&T and T-Mobile use the same GSM technology. With the benefit of shared spectrum, that's a big advantage for consumers over Sprint, the other company that was looking to buy T-Mobile.

Had the Sprint deal gone through, T-Mobile customers would, at the very least, have had to buy a new phone to use the Sprint network. The AT&T deal is debt-free and that means resources are available for investment not only in wireless broadband but in the critical wireline broadband buildout needed to connect anchor institutions like schools, hospitals and libraries in our communities.

The global labor movement has been a huge part of this campaign, with UNI Global Union and the International Trade Union Confederation working with CWA and ver.di to push forward on workers' rights for T-Mobile workers.

Join the March 29 Virtual Town Hall

Virtual Town Hall registration button

There's still time to register for the March 29 CWA virtual town hall meeting. CWA President Larry Cohen, Executive Vice President Annie Hill, executive board members and thousands of CWA activists will be on the phone in our third meeting since the fight for fairness in the states got underway.

This call will focus on the April 4 Day of Action, when CWAers and allies across the labor movement and progressive organizations will stand together for workers' rights.

We'll also get reports from the front lines of our fight to keep worker's rights in the states.

Click here or the graphic to the right to register.

Sign up for the virtual town hall today with your preferred phone number and we will call you on Tuesday, March 29 to connect you to the meeting. If you plan to participate using your mobile phone, you can also register by texting CWACALL to 69866. (Standard text messaging rates apply.)

Correction

In the Feb. 3, 2011, CWA Newsletter, the story "Printing Sector Locals Discuss Reorganization" should have read:

"Last weekend in Baltimore, local Printing Sector leaders met with CWA President Larry Cohen, Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Rechenbach and District 1 Vice President Chris Shelton to discuss options for reorganizing without filling Boarman’s job at this time."

How to Help Earthquake/Tsunami Victims in Japan

ICTJ letter of thanks

CWA President Larry Cohen received a letter of thanks from ICTJ President Tomoyasu Kato.

CWA has been in contact with President Tomoyasu Kato of the Japanese Federation of Information and Communications Technology Service Workers, which, along with NWJ, Japan's telecom workers union, is helping workers and family members in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The disaster has left more than 300,000 people homeless; the death tool has risen to 9,700 and 16,000 people still are missing.

Immediately after the disaster, the ICTJ moved to confirm the safety of members, families and retired members, and to assess the damages. Many remain missing. ICTJ members also are doing recovery work on a round-the-clock schedule, installing free public-phones and temporary phones, and providing satellite telephones. The recovery period will be long, the ICTF said.

CWA is encouraging locals and members to support relief efforts by contributing to CWA's Japan Tsunami Relief Fund. Checks made payable to "CWA Japan Tsunami Relief" can be mailed to the CWA Secretary-Treasurer, 501 Third St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001.

CWA also is contributing to the relief efforts.

NWJ has been a partner with CWA for many years on telecom issues, and has been a big part of the effort to ensure workers' bargaining and organizing rights around the globe.

During the 17-week strike by CWA members at NYNEX in 1989, NWJ loaned our union $16 million, without CWA even asking, after the strike fund was depleted. That allowed our strike to remain virtually 100 percent solid, a successful fight for justice.

Countdown to April 4

What are you doing for the National Day of Action on April 4?

CWA locals have been the leading the way in planning workplace actions and community events. We're joining with allies throughout the labor movement and progressive organizations in standing up for workers' rights and remembering Dr. Martin Luther King's commitment to helping workers gain those rights.

Visit www.cwaaction.org to put your event on the map and place orders for materials. There are stickers and signs available. Orders must be placed by Mar. 30 to make sure they're received in time for April 4 events.

The Latest from the States: The Fight for Workers' Rights Goes On

New Jersey

Governor Christie is refusing to bargain over health care for state workers after having said earlier that he would negotiate over the issue. Christie wants the legislature to pass a bill requiring public workers to pay 30 percent of the cost of their health benefits.

In response, the state Assembly passed a resolution that supports collective bargaining and calls on the Christie Administration to immediately begin to bargain in good faith with the state's public sector unions.

Ohio

More than 100 religious leaders signed a letter to House Speaker Bill Batchelder opposing the anti-public worker bargaining bill that some politicians are backing.

On Tuesday, clergy and other supporters, members of Clergy United Against Senate Bill 5, marched to the Statehouse to deliver that message in person. The bill passed the Senate by a 17-16 vote. A House hearing is expected next week, with a vote on final passage on likely in late March/early April.

Governor John Kasich is a big supporter of the bill, but he's finding that he's out of step with Ohio voters. A new poll by Quinnipiac University found that 46 percent disapprove of the job Kasich is doing, compared to 30 percent who approve. Some 53 percent said his budget proposal with spending reductions and no tax increases was unfair, and 54 percent disagreed with the attack on collective-bargaining rights.

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin law to end collective bargaining for public workers is on hold pending a hearing to determine whether Republicans broke the state’s open meetings law when they rushed to pass the bill two weeks ago.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the law from taking effect until hearings over the rush scheduling and lack of notice. The state attorney general is appealing.

Workers and allies are continuing to gather signatures to recall eight of the Republican senators who voted for the bill. Other Republican lawmakers and Gov. Scott Walker are expected to face recall efforts after being in office for one year.

New Hampshire

The NH House Finance Committee voted to amend the House budget bill to classify all public workers as "at will" employees when their contracts expire. The amendment states that after contracts expire, "salaries, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment will be at the discretion of the employer."

Flight Attendants Reach Tentative Contract at AirTran

AFA-CWA flight attendants at AirTran won pay increases and enhanced work rules in a two-year tentative agreement reached this week, in negotiations mediated by the National Mediation Board.

The agreement covers more than 2,000 flight attendants and will be sent to the membership for review and a ratification vote. The results will be counted on Apr. 18; if ratified, the agreement takes effect May 1.

"Over the past five weeks, AirTran Flight Attendants have been picketing across the country, sending a message that we would not rest until we had a new agreement in place," said Alison Head, AFA-CWA AirTran President.

Separately, AFA-CWA International President Veda Shook appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" to talk about concerns for air passengers and crews traveling to Japan and Asia. Watch her interview here.

Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, CLC. All Rights Reserved.
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