The CWA News | Bargaining Update

Volume 75, Issue #3 | Fall 2015

CWA is fighting for fair contracts across our union and sectors, bargaining for 200,000 CWA members and their families this year. It’s a tough challenge to get the 1 percent to share profits and productivity gains, but we’re determined to make it happen.

Standing up to Verizon

Verizon Rally in New York
CWAers from Virginia to Massachusetts rally outside Verizon Headquarters in New York.

Some 39,000 CWA and IBEW members at Verizon from Massachusetts to Virginia are working without contracts, which expired Aug. 1.

When negotiations began on June 22, Verizon made outrageous demands, looking to completely eliminate job security and contract out and outsource more work, shift more health care costs to workers, slash retirement security, eliminate disability protections and more. The company hasn’t moved much off those initial demands.

More than 16,000 CWA Verizon members and supporters have joined town hall calls that included reports from CWA President Chris Shelton; Vice Presidents Dennis Trainor, District 1, and Ed Mooney, District 2-13; bargaining committee members, and activists.

Bargaining updates and resources are posted at

CWA also is negotiating for about 100 Wireless technicians in New York State and 75 retail store workers in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Everett, Mass. Verizon is taking the same hard line in those negotiations.

CWA and allies are on the offensive, especially when it comes to Verizon’s refusal to invest in the traditional landline network. About 8 million customers from Massachusetts to Virginia are on the copper network, but Verizon has invested virtually nothing to keep the network from deteriorating. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, Verizon said it spent $200 million to maintain the copper landline network in 11 states and Washington, D.C. from 2008-2014. That’s a paltry one-third of 1 percent (0.39) of the more than $50 billion the company spent on its wireline network, most of that going to the FiOS fiber network. That means traditional phone service customers are subsidizing the FiOS buildout, and are getting shortchanged on the service they deserve.

CWA supports FiOS expansion, but Verizon has reneged on its commitment to build out FiOS broadband in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other jurisdictions. 

Fighting for Fairness at AT&T

Rally at ATT Headquarters
More than a thousand CWAers rallied outside AT&T headquarters in Atlanta, part of their fair contract fight.

Mobilization is in high gear at AT&T Southeast, where 28,000 CWA members in nine states are working without a contract. CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt said CWA negotiators “have pressed AT&T Southeast for weeks to get off its outrageous demands.”

The negotiations are about “respect, a better quality of family life and keeping good jobs in our communities,” the bargaining team said.

The company doesn’t seem to get it yet, but CWAers are mobilizing, with informational pickets, rallies, “white out Wednesdays” when CWAers wear white, actions at call centers and more. CWA President Chris Shelton joined 1,000 CWAers at a rally outside AT&T headquarters in Atlanta, and told members to keep it up.  “You should be extremely proud of the mobilization and the solidarity that you show, not only by being here, but every day since bargaining started. That’s what’s going to get you a contract. We can do all the yelling we want. If management knows you’re behind us, they’re going to have to move,” he said.

AT&T posted profits of $6.5 billion last year. It also just completed a $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV.


N.J. Public Workers: Whatever It Takes

N.J. Public Workers

CWA public workers and allies in New Jersey are fighting back against Gov. Chris Christie’s continued attack on pensions. Christie vetoed legislation that would have begun to reverse the governor’s refusal to make legally-required payments into the pension system. CWA and other unions have filed a lawsuit to block Christie’s grab of $2 billion that should have gone into the pension system and violated a 2011 deal. One in 10 New Jersey residents depend on the state pension system. CWA and other public workers unions also are suing Christie for freezing step wage increases.


Flight Attendants rally at San Francisco International Airport.

AFA-CWA filed for federal mediation through the National Mediation Board in negotiations with United Airlines, covering 24,000 Flight Attendants at United, Continental and Continental Micronesia. “Three years after the talks for a joint contract began, management doesn’t seem focused on negotiating a contract Flight Attendants can ratify,” said AFA International President Sara Nelson.  “We are calling on management to negotiate a fair contract within the reality of record profits,” she said. 

United Airlines is making record profits and its operating profit from 2015-2017 is expected to exceed $5 billion each year. The CEO’s pay is up by 32 percent over last year, United’s stock price is up 162% since negotiations began and the company plans to invest $100 million in a Brazilian airline.

AFA-CWA has held several Days of Action, where United Flight Attendants and supporters make it clear: We want a fair contract. Flight Attendants are not going to pay for this merger. At airports across the country, Flight Attendants are standing together for a good contract. This merger is working for executives and shareholders. It needs to work for all United Flight Attendants, too.

American Airlines Agents

American Agents in Miami, members of CWA, are mobilizing.

As bargaining for a first contract for 14,500 agents at American Airlines continues, passenger service agents are gearing up mobilization and putting management on notice: “We’re standing together to get an industry-leading contract by 10-17-15.” That’s the date American Airlines consolidates all systems and operations with US Airways, and agents are reminding management that it could not have accomplished the merger without their hard work.

Negotiations are intensifying, and the CWA bargaining team is urging agents to ramp up their actions and do as much as possible, including volunteering for informational picketing.

Visit for more information.

Public Workers in Camden, NJ

Camden City and County workers stand together for fair contracts.

The CWA Camden Coalition, members of CWA  Locals 1014 and 1084, is rallying members around bargaining for fair contracts. CWA Local 1014 represents workers throughout Camden County, including 311 employees of the City of Camden. CWA Local 1084 represents 450 Camden County Board of Social Services workers.

Unfair labor practice strikes at at&t

CWA locals in two AT&T Southeast locations held unfair labor practices strikes that got management to back down.

Members of CWA Local 3410 in New Orleans walked out to protest the AT&T manager who, with his company vehicle, struck a local union officer on an informational picket line.  The manager purposely gunned his engine and drove carelessly through a peaceful picket line, and it wasn’t the first time the manager was the subject of an unfair labor practice, the local said.

So when AT&T management again refused to address the manager’s outrageous actions, members decided they had enough and walked off the job. As a result, the manager was transferred. 

In a separate incident in Pensacola, Fla., members of CWA Local 3109 began an unfair labor practice strike over illegal threats made by management to a union member. A manager threatened a CWA member that if he sought union representation for a performance warning, he would suffer more serious consequences and a longer period of disciplinary action.  The end result: the manager rescinded his warning altogether and wrote a letter of apology to the member and the local.

General Electrics

Members of IUE-CWA Local 81201 rally for fairness.

In June, IUE-CWA members ratified a four-year agreement covering 10,000 workers at General Electric. The contract included a general wage increase, cost-of-living increase and other improvements.

Philadelphia Media Network

Members of TNG-CWA Local 38010 ratified a two-year agreement at the Philadelphia Media Network, which owns the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and

The NewsGuild is the voice for digital journalists and now represents more than 2,000 online workers at publications like,, the Guardian US, TruthOut and others.

Most digital journalists juggle many responsibilities – reporting, writing, creating videos and posting to social media – as well as the pressure of the 24-hour news cycle. That’s where a NewsGuild voice comes in.

AT&T Midwest and AT&T Legacy

Members of CWA Local 4900 in Indianapolis take on AT&T Midwest.

CWAers at AT&T Midwest and AT&T Legacy ratified separate three-year agreements that provide wage increases, job security, pension improvements and new health care options. The AT&T Midwest contract covers about 13,000 CWAers in District 4 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin) and the AT&T Legacy contract covers 4,500 CWA Telecommunications and Technologies members.



CWA members ratified a three-year agreement with Windstream Communications covering 250 members of Locals 3371 and 3372 in Kentucky. CWA bargainers turned back the company’s attack on pensions and retirement security.

Frontier Communications California and Texas-Missouri

CWA negotiators in California and Texas/Missouri reached separate agreements with Frontier Communications that improve and extend the existing contracts with Verizon West and Verizon Southwest, pending Frontier’s acquisition of wireline business and assets.

The California District 9 contract covers 3,400 CWAers and is extended until 2019; it will add at least 150 new jobs. The Texas/Missouri District 6 agreement covers 2,000 CWAers and is extended until 2018; it will add 60 new jobs and provide for technician upgrades. Both agreements provide for job security and annual wage increases.

NBC Universal

NABET-CWA members ratified a three-year master agreement with NBC Universal that provides for wage and benefit increases and improvements for daily hire employees. The contract covers broadcast technicians, newswriters, building, air conditioning and plant maintenance personnel, staging services personnel, and couriers at network and  TV station operations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

Printing, Publishing and Media Workers

Salt Lake City Mailers Union M-21/CWA Local 14759 reached a two-year agreement with MediaOne of Utah; Central Illinois Typographical District Managers in the Circulation department at the State Journal Register reached a tentative agreement; in Missouri, members of the Joplin Typographical Union 350/CWA Local 14612 at the Joplin Globe reached a one-year agreement that improves wages and health care options for mailroom workers; Las Vegas Local 14922 reached six new agreements, with PDQ Printing, Time Printing, Copy Cat Printing, Nevada Bindery, A&B Printing, and Button Boy Inc.

The Washington Post

Journalists and news workers at the Washington Post mobilized and won a new contract.

Members of TNG-CWA Local 32031 at the Washington Post have ratified a two-year agreement that provides for wages increases and other improvements.