Communications Workers of America | E-Activist Newsletter

Listen to Verizon Virtual Union Meeting Tonight at 7 pm EDT

Verizon workers and supporters from throughout CWA can hear updates on the strike at tonight's "virtual union meeting." Leaders from CWA and IBEW, along with activists, will provide field reports and updates. Tune in at 7 p.m. to www.cwa-union.org/verizoncall.

Bargaining Continues, Verizon Demands Remain Unchanged

Members of Local 13500

Members of Local 13500 demonstrate outside a Verizon office in Pittsburgh.

Below: Members of Local 2336 passed out red T-shirts and information about Verizon's unfair demands in Washington, D.C.

Members of Local 2336

Verizon returned to the bargaining table this week, but CWA and IBEW bargaining teams still are waiting for the company to bargain fairly and end its attack on middle class workers.

The company is demanding $1 billion in concessions, which amounts to $20,000 per Verizon worker per year. Those demands have been on the table since bargaining began on June 22.

Members of Local 1103

100 members of CWA Local 1103 picket a Verizon Wireless store in Mohegan Lake, N.Y.

Some 35,000 CWA members and 10,000 IBEW members are on strike. Also on strike are about 70 Verizon Wireless workers.

Workers are prepared to return to work when the company demonstrates that it's ready to bargain fairly.

Verizon is a very profitable company with annualized revenues of $108 billion. It has paid compensation of $258 million over the past four years to its top five executives. Verizon Wireless also will pay a $10 billion dividend to parent company Verizon and Vodafone. But when it comes to workers, Verizon wants to push workers and their families out of the middle class.

Keep up with the latest at www.cwa-union.org/verizon. Sign the petition, join a picket line and stand with the Verizon workers as they stand up for middle-class families.

Verizon Workers Standing Up for Middle-Class Jobs

At Verizon and Verizon Wireless offices, call centers, phone stores, outdoor garages, and hundreds of workplaces from New England to Virginia, 45,000 CWA and IBEW members are standing strong in their strike to save bargaining rights and middle-class jobs at one of the nation's most profitable companies.

San Francisco Verizon Picket

CWAers, including members of NABET and the Pacific Media Workers Guild, support striking Verizon workers by picketing outside a Verizon Wireless store in San Francisco.

Picket lines are strong and growing at Verizon and Verizon Wireless locations as workers are being joined on the line by CWA members from other companies and members of other unions as the battle continues to get the company to start bargaining seriously. CWA's 70 technicians at Verizon Wireless are also on strike; Verizon's wireless division has fought for years to prevent wireless workers from organizing and improving their jobs.

"They haven't moved off of any of their regressive demands," said CWA Local 1122 President James Wagner, whose local represents nearly 600 Verizon workers in the Buffalo area. "Verizon's way of negotiating is their way or the highway. Our bargaining rights are under attack, and we're not going to let it happen here in Western New York."

Verizon's demands would roll back 50 years of bargaining gains and would push Verizon families out of the middle class by slashing jobs and benefits.

CWAers and allies across the country are supporting the striking workers.

In District 9, hundreds of CWAers are picketing and holding mobilizations and rallies. "If we let Verizon succeed, major corporations will be using it as a model for destroying the bargaining rights and living standards for all union members," said CWA Local 9575 President Lisa Shafer.

She said that her members are stunned at the Wisconsin-style tactics that the company has been using and are picketing Verizon Wireless stores, Verizon garages, and other locations on a regular basis. Every day, they take part in a Verizon mobilization conference call.

Members of the local have also adopted CWA Local 13000 to show support for the strikers. "It means a lot to know that you are not alone," said Shafer. "I got a call from a Verizon member in Pennsylvania who just wanted to us to know how he was really touched to know others are standing alongside him and his co-workers.

Verizon Picket Locations

Click on CWA's Verizon picketing map to see where you can support workers' fight for a fair contract.

Members of Local 9510 will be conducting a mass hand-billing at a sold-out California Angels Major League Baseball game on August 16, and at an event at the Verizon Amphitheatre, an outdoor concert hall in Irvine, Calif.

"Our members are really energized," said local president Kenny Williams. "If Verizon is successful, other companies will be encouraged to follow suit, and that includes AT&T and other union employers."

There is a lot of support from allies. The 1.4-million member Teamsters union has told its UPS drivers not to deliver shipments to Verizon Wireless stores and other retail locations if it means crossing a picket line. "We cannot allow Verizon to strip away benefits and protections on the job for no other reason than to further enhance their profits," said Teamsters President James Hoffa.

And members of Congress are sending letters to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, calling on him to bargain fairly. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) wrote that "a failure to maintain good working conditions for employees of our major corporations is both socially unfair and economically unwise, since a deterioration in the living standards they are able to afford has a negative impact on our economy as a whole."

Here's what you can do:

Adopt a Verizon Wireless store to picket and leaflet.

Sign CWA's petition to Verizon CEO McAdams.

"Like" Verizon strikers on Facebook.

Click here to find a Verizon picket line.

CWAers Holding Lawmakers Accountable

So far in August, hundreds of CWA activists have taken part in more than 50 separate "Accountability Actions" aimed at holding members of Congress accountable for their votes on workers' rights and preserving the middle-class.

In Florida and Texas, CWAers and allies were joined by progressives and elected officials in demonstrations to hold Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) accountable for his part in the shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration. In Minnesota, activists contacted Sen. Al Franken (D) about the AT&T/T-Mobile merger and how it would bring broadband to 55 million more Americans.

Most of CWA's Accountability Actions in August are focusing on congressional votes on Medicare. In New York, CWA state Legislative Political Action Team Coordinator Joe Mayhew and Local 1103's Retired Member Council Chair Jeanette Spoor told Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) that her vote to turn Medicare into a voucher program was an attack on working families. Activists picketed a "Welcome Home, Nan" event at the Mt. Kisco Senior Center.

In Minnesota, Rep. Chip Cravaack (R) can't go anywhere without seeing CWA activists. He's received dozens of letters and phone calls and heard from CWA members at local events. Another Minnesota lawmaker, Rep. Erik Paulsen (R), has had weekly visits from CWA members. Paulsen also voted with the Republicans to end Medicare.

In Illinois, CWA LPAT activists have been leafleting worksites and phone banking members, asking them to contact their representatives about keeping Medicare secure. In Colorado, CWAers have attended half-a-dozen town hall meetings, pressing Reps. Scott Tipton (R) and Cory Gardner (R) about their Medicare votes.

Nearly 50 more events are planned by CWA LPATs and retirees, including rallies, worksite hand-billing and other actions.

Click here for more on the Accountability Actions during August and September.

AFA-CWA Leading Airport Actions to Prevent Another FAA Shutdown

As part of CWA's Accountability Actions for August and September, AFA-CWA flight attendants are calling on Congress to fully fund the Federal Aviation Administration and to keep the democratic voting standard for union representation elections.

"It is beyond time to negotiate a long-term FAA Reauthorization bill that improves our aviation infrastructure, grows our economy, delivers hundreds of new jobs, and keeps elections fair for airline and railway employees," said AFA-CWA President Veda Shook.

This week, AFA-CWA members are holding rallies and are picketing at airports and congressional district offices, including in the home district of Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), who played a key role forcing a shutdown of the FAA for nearly two weeks. Flight attendants are holding "stand-up" media events at Orlando and Jacksonville International Airports and will rally outside Mica's St. Augustine and Daytona district offices. Mica also was greeted by AFA-CWA members and allies outside a fundraiser in Houston.

Additional actions have been planned at airports in Seattle, Phoenix, Portland, Ore., Philadelphia, Charlotte, and Atlanta for Aug. 16 and at Chicago O'Hare on Aug. 26. More events will be held as Congress returns to work in September.

The FAA shutdown put more than 70,000 Americans out of work and cost the government nearly $300 million in lost revenue to pay for ongoing airport infrastructure and modernization projects.

Flight Attendants Vote on First Contract at Frontier

Frontier flight attendants are voting on their first-ever union contract that safeguards job security and long-term interests of the 1,000 air safety professionals. The workers voted for representation by AFA-CWA in May 2010. "We sent a very clear message that any agreement must provide job security and protect our interests moving forward," said AFA-CWA Frontier president Erika Schweitzer.

"Frontier flight attendants have always stood together in difficult times and this agreement recognizes their commitment to the airline and provides assurances that they will profit from its success," said AFA-CWA International President Veda Shook.

In related airline bargaining, 300 AFA-CWA members at PSA Airlines will vote whether to authorize a strike, with ballots to be counted on Sept. 14. Bargaining at PSA, a subsidiary of US Airways Group, is in mediation; progress has been blocked by management's unreasonable demands.

"US Airways has returned to profitability and flight attendants at all US Airways carriers should share in that success," stated AFA-CWA PSA Vice President L.C. Acor. PSA operates as a US Airways Express carrier out of Charlotte, N.C.; Dayton, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Washington, D.C.

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