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Our vision of the union, and more // Tailgate Newsletter // July 6, 2022

06 Jul, 2022

Welcome to The Tailgate, the Bi-Weekly Newsletter of the Tower Climbers Union/CWA.
Edition 2 // July 6, 2022

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In this issue:

  1. My Vision of the Union is…
  2. CWA Members’ Victory at AT&T
  3. TCU/CWA Safety Committee Update
  4. Did You Know?
  5. Guess this tool...
  6. Ways to Get Involved

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My Vision of the Union is…  

"As a worker in this battered industry, I visualize a united, strong and combative community.

Let's do our part to make it a reality. Let's unite and form our union with CWA!"

Carlos Vásquez-Uscanga
Las Vegas, NV

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CWA members who work for AT&T achieved a groundbreaking Tentative Agreement in the new contract negotiations.

CWA members under the Orange contract at AT&T Mobility have won a groundbreaking tentative agreement that met or exceeded all of the goals they had set for the bargaining committee. The Orange contract covers retail workers, call center representatives, and technicians in 36 states in the Northeast, Midwest and West, and the District of Columbia.

Members mobilized around the need for wage increases to address rising costs and the effect of AT&T’s shifting of work from company-owned stores to third-party authorized retailers. The proposed contract contains substantial increases to base wages, title-specific upgrades, and unprecedented adjustments to protect against inflation. It also has a first-time requirement for at least 20% of AT&T stores to be company-owned.

“This is your victory,” the bargaining team wrote in an email announcing the agreement. “Our bargaining team could not have achieved this breakthrough tentative agreement without the hard work that you did mobilizing.”

Other improvements in the four-year contract include limits on mandatory overtime, privacy protections for call center representatives who are working from home, the addition of two weeks of paid parental leave, and new health care options.

“These workers provided essential services during the pandemic, putting themselves at risk to enable us to stay connected to one another,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “They stayed united during contract negotiations and won an agreement that recognizes the importance of the work they do and shows what working people can achieve when they join together and demand respect.”

This is what we in the TCU/CWA are working towards, national agreements that significantly improve our working conditions. This AT&T contract was several decades in the making. We’re just getting started in our fight, but it’s inspiring and hopeful that we are working together with the CWA who can help frontline telecommunications workers achieve such victories. Let’s keep building our movement - reach out to 2 fellow Tower Hands today and get them to sign up and join the fight. Here’s our membership link.

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TCU / CWA Safety Committee

“No job is so important and no service so urgent - that we cannot take time to perform our work safely.”

This was the safety creed that AT&T placed in all its work locations starting in 1939. While many companies chose to ignore this creed, over speed and profit, it should not be ignored by the workers in the field. All the money made on the job means nothing if you don't make it home at the end of the day. As tower climbers, we know this all too well. We have heard the stories, we have seen lives lost and we have lost friends and we all agree that one tower climber injured or who dies on the job, especially if it was preventable, is one too many.

The TCU / CWA Safety Committee’s main goal is to make sure we never have to receive that phone call again and that every tower climber makes it home at the end of the day safely. The committee is made up entirely of tower climbers from all across the country who want to work on a set of safety standards created by tower climbers, for tower climbers. A set of standards that will be enforced by the members and by the companies we work for. The first step is to hear directly from the membership. In the last meeting, the committee worked on a survey that will go out to the membership to find out what the safety issues are, so we can work on formulating a plan to fix these issues. This survey should be going out to the membership in the next few weeks. When you receive the survey please take a few minutes to fill it out. Your response will be used to come up with a game plan that will work to keep your fellow tower climbers safe and save lives.

If you are interested in joining the TCU / CWA Safety Committee please email keithLhogarty@gmail.com

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Did You Know?

The Tower Climbers Union /CWA has created a Tower Climbers Bereavement Fund, which will give money to the spouse, partner or family member of any member who loses their life while working. It’s an outrage and a shame there even needs to be a fund. Safety should never take a back seat to pressure from employers to work quickly and unsafely. But we must take care of each other as we fight to make this industry safer. For more information about this Fund, contact Yonah Camacho Diamond at ydiamond@cwa-union.org.

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Guess this Tool...

Can you guess what this tool is for? First three correct responses will be sent a free CWA t-shirt.

Send your response to ydiamond@cwa-union.org

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Ways to Get Involved 

The most important thing members can be doing now is continuing to reach out to other tower hands and building the union. Here’s that membership link again: CWA.org/TCUSignUp. Share it widely.

Here’s some other important ways you can help build the union:

  • Build a majority of support in your shop. Be the next shop to win an election, or to be voluntarily recognized, and move toward bargaining a first contract.
  • Join one of the Union Committees. Here is a list of current committees, with a brief description:
    • Organizing Committee - leadership body of the organization, helps to guide the organization. Meets every other week.
    • Safety Committee - tasked with developing a union safety program, meets monthly and as needed.
    • Social Media Committee - tasked with building the social media presence of TCU/CWA, meets regularly.
    • Bylaws Committee - tasked with proposing Bylaws for the organization. Works in collaboration with CWA Legal Department. Will meet on an as needed basis.
    • Apprenticeship Advisory Committee - tasked with helping to design and implement a national apprenticeship program.
    • Newsletter Committee - tasked with helping to produce this bi-weekly newsletter. Meets on an as needed basis.

To find out more information about union committees, contact Plinio Cruz-Alvarez at pcruz@cwa-union.org.

Reach out if you have any questions, comments or concerns. You can contact CWA organizer Plinio Cruz-Alvarez at pcruz@cwa-union.org or 347-398-2005.Stay safe, sisters and brothers.