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Sun Feb 24, 2013, 01:54 PM

CWA: Thank You Democratic Underground/MoveOn (echos of Wisconsin 2011)

Two years ago the DU was a hotbed of information on workers and union members rights. The USW (Feb. 20, 2011) was the first national union to give the DU new exposure for all the effort MANY DU'ers were putting in to report up to the minute news in Madison. Just below the video: http://blog.usw.org/2011/02/20/on-wisconsin/

It seems we are relighting that fire on the DU. I hope the DU continues to spread the word of workers rights.

It started yesterday with this post: http://www.democraticunderground.com/11172128

The OP is a petition through MoveOn about 22 CWA members that were illegally fired. The OP made it to the Trending Now section on the front page. That alone doesn't happen much in the Labor Movement Group. In just three short hours the OP had 38 R's, 16 replies, and over 1,350 page views.

At the OP link above is the reply #19 from Christopher Calabrese, Executive Vice President, CWA Local 1109.

Happy Sunday Morning Everyone,

First off, on behalf of all the fired workers and the entire CWA family, I would like to thank you all for the outpouring of support. In the last few days over 30,000 people have sent a letter to James Dolan. Here are some facts that can give you a little more background on the struggle.

On January 26, 2012, 282 workers voted to join CWA Local 1109 by a vote of 180-86. In the year since the election,Cablevision has been trying to intimidate and harass the workers into voting their Union out. (the law states that after a year if 30% of the workers sign a petition, they can have another vote) The violations and tactics they used are too numerous to name hear, but what I can tell you is that in my 18 years of Union experience I have never seen anti-union behavior as aggressive as what I have witnessed this last year.

Through it all, the workers have stayed rock solid and unified. The company knew they had no chance of winning a desertification election or gaining enough support to go to the NLRB. So they went to Plan B. Four days after the one year anniversary of winning their union this is what they did:

1)They handed a letter to all the employees explaining that the time has come where they can decertify their union and gave them the number to the NLRB, for instructions on the process.

2) A half hour later they fired or "permanently replaced" 22 activist and shop stewards for requesting a five minute meeting with management.
3) While they were firing these 22 workers, they already had 22 replacement workers (scabs) hired. They told these scabs that they can only keep the jobs long term, if the Union does not object.

This is a 44 vote swing (they fired 22 union supporters and hired 22 anti-union supporters). They also had hired 20 new workers two weeks before and began poisoning their minds about the Union. This enabled them to receive the 30% they needed to bring a decertiication petition to the NLRB. Thankfully the NLRB has been investigating the events surrounding the firings, bad faith bargaining, and illegal surveillance of the workers. On Friday the NLRB determined that there was too much going on to allow a decertification election and has suspended it indefinitely. To follow this story more closely, visit www. thecablevision99.org.

In Solidrity,

Christopher Calabrese
Executive Vice President
CWA Local 1109

5 replies, 781 views

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Reply CWA: Thank You Democratic Underground/MoveOn (echos of Wisconsin 2011) (Original post)
Omaha Steve Feb 2013 OP
leftyohiolib Feb 2013 #1
Omaha Steve Feb 2013 #2
leftyohiolib Feb 2013 #4
tdubnau Feb 2013 #5
Starry Messenger Feb 2013 #3

Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 02:59 PM

1. as a cwa member i'm not so thrilled with the performance of the cwa lately


Last edited Sun Feb 24, 2013, 03:31 PM - Edit history (1)

iv'e been with them since 81 and since 2000 they've been more like and additional arm of the company with union ties- i agree they are neccessary but they've taken the attitude that the company has a right to run company business (their words not mine) so now all matters are company business.
they are afraid the persue grievances b/c the burdon of proof is on them and that arbitrators would most-likely side with the company.
so excellent news they got organized we need the organization but if this union wants to be seen as a good thing they ought to drop 'we need to work with the company' attitude.

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Response to leftyohiolib (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 07:30 AM

2. Read your contract first

Every contract has a managements rights section. If you are complaining about something outside that, take it to your steward, board, or local president.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 12:32 PM

4. i have taken my "complaint" to the stewart who said the company has the right to run company busines


so i was rfr'd to the local who said the same thing - i was then referd to the v.p. of cwa4340 who said the same thing and was refer'd to Mr Cohen, president of cwa, still waiting to hear from him. 20 years ago i wouldnt have heard this much dismissal of a grievance.
but make no mistake of my belief in the need for unions - i am 100% supportive but i am very dissapointed in cwa - the cwa agreed to - not strike anytime in any situation - the union agreed to not implement any work slow downs and that the company has the right to run company business. cant strike cant initiate slow downs grievances are largely ignored - what leverage do we have anymore?
but it is better to have any representation than none

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Response to leftyohiolib (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 01:59 PM

5. CWA, Cablevision, future of our union

I dont know the specifics of lefyohiolib's complaints, but I can say that the truth is that under our current weak labor law, management does have the right to run their business. So if a shop steward is telling you that, its probably accurate. This doesnt mean we as a union cant fight back, but we shouldnt shoot the messenger either.

When the private sector unions only represent 6.9% of the workforce, we will see our ability to win get harder and harder. Its not CWA's fault, and its not the shop steward's fault either.

In fact, CWA has agressively organized the cablevision workers in Brooklyn, going up against tremendous odds and a campaign of terror by the company. I am one of the CWA Organizers who helped lead this campaign.

I know I share leftyohiolib's frustration that its harder and harder to win. Sadly, as our union density slips even more, our fight will get more difficult still.

I can say that the Cablevision workers' fighting spirit is inspirational. We owe these brave workers everything. If we can win this battle and get a fair contract, maybe this will be the beginning of a fight back that can once again give workers more leverage at work.

In Solidarity,


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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 07:59 AM

3. k&r

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