August 29, 2019
- Striking CWA Members Push AT&T Southeast to Reach Deal
- CWA Members Get Boost on Picket Line from Gerry Horgan’s Daughter
- Bargaining and Mobilization Update
- CWAers Mourn the Loss of Piedmont Agent Kendrick Darrell Hudson
- CWAers Make Thousands of Calls to Fight for Jobs on National Day of Action
- Presidential Candidates Support MAXIMUS Workers’ Fight to Form A Union
- 2020 Union Plus Scholarships Available for CWA Families
Thanks to the dedication of CWA members across District 3 who stayed strong on the picket lines throughout a historic four-day unfair labor practice strike, CWAers reached a “handshake deal” with AT&T Southeast on Tuesday on a new collective bargaining agreement for more than 20,000 AT&T employees in nine states.
Workers across the district walked out at midnight on August 23 because AT&T was not bargaining in good faith and failed to send representatives to the bargaining table with the authority to make decisions. In a separate action, CWA members in South Florida initiated an unfair labor practice strike on August 22 after the company disciplined members for wearing union memorabilia and for participating in activities that are protected under the National Labor Relations Act.
“CWA members’ spirit and solidarity over the last four days showed the company that we would not back down until they bargained with us in good faith,” said CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt. “This was a historic strike that showed the power that working people have when they join together.”
The action by CWA members was the largest private sector strike in the south in a decade, and was featured in hundreds of local and national news stories. Senator Bernie Sanders addressed strikers in Louisville, Ky., Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden posted tweets in support of the workers, and local elected officials joined picket lines across the region.
As the strike began, a CWA delegation of AT&T call center workers was in the Philippines to investigate AT&T’s offshoring practices, and workers at AT&T subcontractor Alorica pledged to monitor calls in case the company attempted to send calls that would have been handled by striking workers to their centers. Telecom workers from 66 countries showed their solidarity at the Uni Global Union conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the Unifor Union in Canadasent a letter of support.
CWA members across District 3 stayed strong on the picket lines throughout a historic four-day unfair labor practice strike at AT&T Southeast.
Community members turned out to support strikers all over the Southeast, but in South Carolina, one visitor had a special connection to CWA members on the picket line.
Christine Horgan-Klien was just two years old when her father, Gerry Horgan, was killed by a car being driven by a scab worker and daughter of a plant manager while walking on a picket line with fellow CWA members during the 1989 NYNEX strike.
"It was very moving to meet her on the picket line, she came out for two days in a row offering donuts,” said Local 3704 President Steven Auerbach. “I gave her a hug, thanked her for coming out and supporting us, and she said that CWA members were her family. I told her I've been involved in the labor movement for almost 16 years and I've heard all the stories about her father and it was an honor to meet her. She thanked us for what we were doing, and said she was behind us. We are so grateful to her for coming out and supporting us."
Since Horgan’s tragic death thirty years ago, CWA members wear red on Thursdays in remembrance of him and to pay tribute to his sacrifice. That tradition has continued over the last three decades, and today CWA members throughout the country, including workers at AT&T Southeast, don red every Thursday to honor Gerry's memory and to show that we are united in the fight for justice for all working people.
Christine Horgan-Klien, whose father, Gerry Horgan, was killed by a car being driven by a scab worker and daughter of a plant manager while walking on a picket line with fellow CWA members during the 1989 NYNEX strike, visited AT&T Southeast workers on strike to show support for her CWA family.
Cathay Pacific Airlines
U.S.-based Cathay Pacific Airlines flight attendants, represented by AFA-CWA, voted last week to ratify a first contract. The three-year agreement provides immediate pay increases, backpay, schedule flexibility, and retirement security for flight attendants based at SFO, LAX, and JFK.
“Cathay Pacific flight attendants based in the U.S. voted by 97% to join AFA-CWA and used that overwhelming solidarity to win the improvements that drove their organizing campaign, said Sara Nelson, AFA-CWA International President. “These flight attendants inspire all of us with their commitment to each other, to our union, and to our work as aviation's first responders. We congratulate the Cathay Pacific flight attendants' leaders, activists and members.”
Negotiations opened last week for a first collective bargaining contract for 52 workers at Altice in Beckley and Logan, West Virginia, where Altice provides cable, phone and internet services under its Suddenlink brand. The CWA union bargaining team emphasized the need for Altice to negotiate a fair contract with its workers that improves job security and puts a stop to the company outsourcing work to contractors.
On August 16, a large group of Nebraska Senators sent a letter to Nokia Executive Vice President Ricky Corker urging the company to continue to provide health and life insurance to retirees at their now-closed Omaha telecommunications locations as Nokia continues to implement an ill-advised corporate restructuring that aims to eliminate the entire CWA bargaining unit and replace its installers with subcontractors.
“Our sisters and brothers at Nokia have carefully planned their lives around the company’s longstanding commitments to provide them with the health and life care they need,” said Lisa Bolton, CWA Telecommunications and Technologies Vice President. “We will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure that the people who have long contributed to Nokia’s success get a fair and equitable contract and continued retirement security. CWA members remain rock solid on holding Nokia accountable to the obligations it has made to its current and former employees.”
Tragedy visited our CWA family on August 11, when Piedmont passenger service agent Kendrick Darrell Hudson died on the job at Charlotte Douglas International airport. Kendrick, who was only 24 years old, was moving baggage at night on an airport vehicle that turned over on top of him when he hit a piece of luggage on the tarmac.
Family, friends, and coworkers held a vigil on August 18, which included memorable tributes to Kendrick. Kendrick's family received his vest and a jar overflowing with dozens of notes from agents who knew and loved him. Mainline agent (and former Piedmont agent) Asia Henley created the jar of memories. Piedmont, Mainline, and Envoy agents honored Kendrick and his family with a moment of silence across the country. Kendrick will be deeply missed by everyone who worked with him.
Micki Siegel de Hernandez, director of CWA's Occupational Safety and Health Program, is working closely with the leadership of Local 3645 and District 3 staff during the ongoing OSHA investigation of Kendrick’s death. Donielle Prophete, Vice President of Local 3645, is the on-site union representative who has been participating in the OSHA inspection. CWA wants to ensure that any factors that may have contributed to this tragedy, such as insufficient lighting at night on the tarmac, are corrected to prevent future injuries and to keep pursuing improved workplace safety for all agents.
Family, friends, and coworkers held a vigil on August 18, which included memorable tributes to Piedmont passenger service agent Kendrick Darrell Hudson.
Last Wednesday, CWAers held a national Day of Action to call on Congress to put an end to greedy business practices that kill our jobs. CWA members across the country made nearly 2,000 phone calls to Congress to demand an end to outsourcing by passing the No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act and the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act.
Presidential candidates Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Governor Jay Inslee (who has now dropped out of the race), announced their support in recent days for MAXIMUS call center workers as they join together for better working conditions.
In a video message that was played for MAXIMUS National Organizing Committee members who met earlier this month in Richmond, Virginia, Warren said, “I stand with you in your fight to organize at MAXIMUS to be able to bargain collectively and get fair wages for the vital work you do for our government.”
Sanders, who has met in the past with workers at the call centers that MAXIMUS now operates for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, tweeted his support for MAXIMUS workers, declaring “I stand with them in their fight.”
“I’m so excited to know that you’re making an effort to create a union at MAXIMUS,” said Inslee in a video message to workers. “People having the ability to form a union is fundamental to America. I want to encourage you and tell you that I support you.”
“More and more people are joining our movement for the better pay and working conditions we deserve at MAXIMUS call centers every week,” said Sheronda Dove, a dual-trained Medicare and Federal ACA Marketplace agent at MAXIMUS’ call center in Hattiesburg, Miss. “It’s inspiring to see that we have leaders like Senator Warren, Governor Inslee, and Senator Sanders backing us up. It motivates me to know that we have their support, and makes me more confident that our organizing will be successful.
The new 2020 application for Union Plus scholarships, open to current and retired CWA members, their spouses, and their dependent children (as defined by IRS regulations), is now available!
Over the past 28 years, more than $4.5 million in scholarships has been awarded to students of more than 3,000 union families, including seven CWAers who were awarded Union Plus scholarships in 2019. The deadline is January 31, 2020.
The application is entirely online, allowing students to complete their application over time and save their responses. Learn more and apply here: https://www.unionplus.org/
August 29, 2019