Weekly Update: Workers Win Big


Verizon Workers Win Big

Workers represented by CWA and IBEW are back on the job today, following a landmark agreement reached between the unions and Verizon in one of the largest strikes in recent history.

CWA President Chris Shelton explained the importance of the agreement in a recent statement:

“CWA appreciates the persistence and dedication of Secretary [of Labor Thomas] Perez, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director Allison Beck and their entire teams. The addition of good new jobs at Verizon is a huge win not just for striking workers, but for our communities and the country as a whole. This contract is a victory for working families across the country and an affirmation of the power of working people. It proves that when we stand together, we can raise up working families, improve our communities and advance the interests of America’s working people.”

Statements released by IBEW leaders echoed the sentiment: this agreement is a step forward for working people.

“This agreement will keep good middle-class Verizon jobs here in America, while getting our members back to work serving the consumer,” said Boston Local 2222 Business Manager Myles Calvey, who chairs IBEW System Council T-6, which represents IBEW Verizon workers throughout New England.


“This was the major issue for my members: protecting American jobs and keeping them here at home,” said East Windsor, N.J., Local 827 Business Manager Robert Speer, who represents IBEW Verizon employees in New Jersey. “This agreement makes a lot of progress in reversing the outsourcing trend.”

The agreement and campaign to bring fairness to Verizon was especially important to Christina Martina, who works at a call center in Pennsylvania:

“Because we fought together as a union, my kids will be able to see me at night. We were all so worried about the potential of transfers and more offshoring, but now Verizon is going to bring more jobs back. All American companies should be doing more to keep good jobs in the country.”

Click here to learn about the details of the agreement and read more statements from labor leaders.


RubberWorkers Win in McMinnville

Our friends over at Northwest Labor Press reported some great news yesterday from McMinnville: Over 60 workers at Ultimate RB, a rubber recycling factory, have voted to stand together as a union and will be represented by the United Steelworkers!

Get the details about the campaign at Northwest Labor Press.


Stand with Oregon Shakespeare Festival Workers

Stagehands working at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland need your help:

“The run crews at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival believe in the power of working together to create a stronger community.   What started as a small group concerned about arbitrary changes in working conditions has since spanned into a larger vision of creating a more enriching, thriving environment for our technicians. We view this as a chance to improve the lives of the often unseen men and women in the Lighting, Sound, Stage Operations, Wardrobe, and Wig & Hair departments.”

“We are the backstage artists who skillfully replace the magnificent tin wall of Guys and Dolls with the turntable floor for Fingersmith within two hours between performances. We are the craftspeople who perfectly balance live music and dialogue in shows like Into The Woods. We perform the intricate choreography that allows an actor in The Unfortunates or All The Way to leave the stage in one costume and, like magic, return in another only thirty seconds later.  We are the ones who stir your soul with the beautiful lighting in the Pericles storm. We all work together to make sure patrons have the best possible experience at our theatre. Now, by forming a local union with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), we want to work together to make sure we succeed at OSF.”


“We’re proud of the work we do as a company and as artists, but it comes at a price. The unfortunate reality is that many of us on run crew use food stamps and the food bank to provide for our families. We have to access public assistance for health care. Many of us have to choose between contributing to our retirement or paying our electric bill, we have to fight to find housing we can afford in Ashland, and have to choose between paying our medical bills or our rent.”

“By speaking up together, we’re striving to create a system that allows us to thrive, not to just barely survive, while doing the work we love for this company we love. In order to achieve this, there’s much more to consider than just our hourly rate. With the random and ever-changing performance schedule at OSF, a guarantee of full time hours and appropriate minimum shift guarantees will help us create the job security we desperately need. They will allow us to focus on the magic that OSF has to offer the community.”

Please show your support for the run crew by signing this petition to OSF Executive Director Cynthia Rider, and Director of Production Alys e. Holden.


It’s Getting Hot!

The thermostat is rising across most of Oregon, and that means two things: remember to work safe if your job is outdoors and remember to use union-made products for your barbecues and cookouts once the job is done.


The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has an easy to use toolkit for workers and employers. Click here to check it out and remember the three essentials to working safe in the heat: water, shade, and rest.

And after work, whether you’re a propane enthusiast or a charcoal puritan, make sure you’re putting union-made products on the grill and union-made drinks in the cooler.

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Click here for a shopping list and click here to share the list with your friends on Facebook or Twitter.