The CWA News | 2015 Bargaining: It’s Our Turn

Volume 74, Issue #4 | Winter 2014

Chart of Seven Contracts

In 2015, CWA bargaining teams will be negotiating 180 contracts covering more than 200,000 CWA members across our industries and sectors. We want increased wages, jobs and fairness in our workplaces. Many of our employers are among the most profitable in their industries, and it’s time that workers get a fair share of those profits.

With our members’ help, many of our employers recovered from bankruptcy and the economic downturn of the 2008 Great Recession. We’re putting them on notice: it’s our turn.

American Airlines/US Airways 14,000 Workers Bargaining

Increase in corporate profits since 2009: 9.6 percent.

US Airways filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and 2004, and American filed in 2011. CWA passenger service members at US Airways made sacrifices during those bankruptcies to keep their airline operating. Today, wages are still lower than their pre-bankruptcy level. Agents at American lost jobs, pay and retirement security as that airline outsourced their work. Homebased agents saw their wages and benefits cut.

The two airlines merged in 2013. Last September, after 19 years of determination and organizing, American agents won a CWA voice. With their colleagues at US Airways, they are negotiating a first contract

AT&T Midwest, Legacy T and Southeast: 38,400 Workers Bargaining

AT&T is a very profitable company, with a CEO who was paid $20.6 million in 2013. CWA members want to continue to stay ahead of inflation with real wage increases and want focus on job growth and working conditions.

General Electric: 9,300 Workers Bargaining

Increase in corporate profits since 2009: 16.3 percent.

GE is a very profitable corporation, and it pays its CEO very well. For 2013, GE’s CEO was paid $19 million. That’s 491 times as much as an average worker, according to a Bloomberg analysis.

In 2014, GE sold its Appliance Park facility in Louisville, Ky., to Swedish-company Electrolux. We will fight to make sure that the Louisville workers have contract protections. 

Verizon Communications Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: 26,500 Workers Bargaining

Increase in corporate profits since 2009: 215 percent.

Verizon is a very profitable company and its CEO shares in those profits, with a 2013 compensation package of $15.8 million.

CWAers want to expand and keep good jobs, and gain a fair share of Verizon’s profits. Also bargaining are VZ Wireless retail store workers in Brooklyn, who last year stood up for bargaining rights and a CWA voice, and VZW technicians in New York. 

New Jersey: 43,000 State Workers Bargaining

New Jersey is one of the nation’s wealthiest states and the 1 percent is doing well. Under Governor Chris Christie, who’s big on corporate tax breaks and giveaways to the wealthy, the top 1 percent pay just 7 percent of their income in taxes.

Christie fought hard to strip workers’ bargaining rights over health care and retirement security. In 2011, he pushed through big cuts in public workers’ pensions but pledged that the state would begin to make bigger payments each year to the pension system. Last year, Christie reneged on that deal and grabbed $2.5 billion earmarked for workers’ pensions.

State workers also face the threat of privatization that will destroy good jobs and critical public services.

United Airlines: 24,000 Flight Attendants Bargaining

Increase in corporate profits since 2009: 161.2 percent.

United Airlines filed for bankruptcy in 2002, cutting thousands of jobs across the company. Flight Attendants endured wage cuts, health care cost shifting, work rule changes, and termination of their pensions. AFA-CWA members fought back and doubled the amount the company would contribute to the 401k plans, from 3 percent to 6 percent as the airline exited bankrtupcy.

The airline has fully recovered from its bankruptcy and in October 2010 merged with Continental and Continental Micronesia. Flight Attendants are bargaining for a single contract at the new United that would finally merge the operation and allow all 24,000 to access the benefits of the merger and share in the airline’s profitability.