CODE-CWA Newsletter: February 17
CODE-CWA Newsletter: February 17
“We see this RTO order as a form of union busting, an attempt to disrupt our ability to organize, and effectively lay people off that are pro-union and potentially replace them with people that haven't been organized,” said Sam Regan, a Cognizant employee and Alphabet Workers Union/CWA member
Youtube workers at Austin based Google contractor Cognizant were hoping their employer would voluntarily recognize their union in good faith, but instead the company issued a return-to-work mandate. A significant amount of the employees live outside of Austin and rely on extra jobs to make ends meet. By returning to the office, they would have to deal with higher living expenses, but would also have to forgo their additional sources of income. When management did not listen, they organized the first ever strike in Google history. Support their strike fund here.
Employees at eBay subsidiary TCGPlayer are also organizing for better pay, benefits and more accommodations— especially for disabled workers. Since their union went public in January, management has been spying on workers on the shop floor and forcing them to attend illegal captive audience meetings. Now with the help of CWA, they have filed multiple unfair labor practice charges. The workers have even put together this powerful video explaining some of the many reasons they believe in unionizing! Signal boost the TCGunion here.
Both workers at Cognizant and TCGplayer are organizing not because they dislike their jobs. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Most of the employees at these companies love their jobs; they just want to be compensated and treated fairly for the work they do. Forming a union will ensure they have a voice on the job, and are able to get the change they deserve with legal protections. True organizing is not a zero sum game. It ensures a win-win for both employees and employers. So what are you afraid of? Reach out!
On Sunday, February 19th join us for an organizer training at 1 PM ET/ 10 AM PT where we talk about union basics, the CWA organizing models, and some key ways to connect with co-workers through organizing. And on Sunday March 12th at 1 PM ET/ 10 AM PT join us for a building the committee training where we talk about how to build a strong organizing committee. Check the CODE-CWA organizer training program for upcoming classes!
Workers at an eBay-Owned Company Are Trying to Organize a Union. eBay Is Trying to Bust It
CWA has filed a second unfair labor practice charge against TCGPlayer, an online marketplace for trading card games and subsidiary of eBay, for illegally forcing employees to attend mandatory anti-union meetings to influence their decision about whether or not to join a union. TCGunion-CWA’s Organizing Committee also delivered a letter to eBay's Board of Directors demanding the company commit to a labor neutrality agreement. The workers at the company are trying to unionize for a second time after their first attempt was derailed due to COVID. The push for unionization started when the company was acquired by eBay. Workers were informed of the acquisition at the last minute, which was troubling for many. They wanted to ensure that they would keep the conditions they already had, and wanted a say in their work going forward. The workers have tried speaking up but management has not listened to feedback. For example, the company does not accommodate people with disabilities. When something bad happens, the company is slow to respond, which makes the problem worse. Then when employees have to take time off to resolve the issue, they get write-ups. The working conditions are not fair, but TCG employees love their jobs, and unionizing will help them look out for each other. “It makes us all feel close together, that we’re looking out for each other. Because that’s what a union is. It’s holding management accountable, giving us power, but also just looking out for each other, making sure we’re all getting what we deserve, and making sure we’re all safe and that we aren’t afraid every time we go to work that we’ll be written up for something,” said Lindsey Gancasz, a TCGPlayer employee. The workers are inspired to fight for change, and are optimistic about the future. Read more here
YouTube Music Workers Call Strike Against Local Contractor
Almost 40 members from the Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) have been picketing in front of the Cognizant headquarters in Austin for over a week. Cognizant is a contractor with Google for Youtube music. The workers filed for a union election in October, and have been organizing for 10 months. Even though 85% of the department signed authorization cards, the company refused to voluntarily recognize the majority. Instead, Cognizant demanded the workers follow a return to office mandate, just one week after they filed for union election. Many people are opposed to the return-to-office because it would affect their livelihoods. Due to the high cost of living in Austin, several workers currently live outside the city, and 20% live out of state. Many employees even have extra jobs to make ends meet which is only possible since they work remotely. After this mandate, Alphabet Workers Union/CWA filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB, and employees tried petitioning with the company. When the company refused to budge, workers decided to strike— a first in the history of Google. As Sam Regan, a Cognizant employee and AWU member explains “When you file for a union election, [in] the period between filing [and the election] it's illegal for an employer to change working conditions in any significant way. This prevents them from bribing people with increased pay, etc. Our demand is to have them postpone return-to-office until after the election, so that we can collectively bargain with them in good faith." Read more here
Tesla Workers Launch Union Campaign in New York
Workers at Tesla, the company which has been trying to revolutionize the automobile industry, are trying to unionize. The more than 800 autopilot workers, and 1000 manufacturing workers at Tesla’s plant in Buffalo, New York are forming a union with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) affiliate, Workers United. The employees started discussing unionization several months ago after an internal chat channel, where employees could discuss issues, was shut down. Tesla is currently one of the only major automakers which has been able to curb unionization efforts in the US. Although the company does not think unions will help, workers disagree. “Unionizing will further accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy because it will give us a voice in our workplace and in the goals we set for ourselves to accomplish,” Said the organizing workers in a letter to management. The organizing workers want better pay, job security, and reduced pressures at work. Tesla, and especially Elon Musk, are known for making employees face tough deadlines, and very long hours. These pressures have been harmful to workers’ health, been mentally challenging, and have even caused employees to avoid going to the bathroom. Even though Musk demands unreasonable commitment and results, workers are not upset at the CEO. As employee Will explains, “I have nothing against the guy. I just want the ability to have a say in my workplace.” The workers have been inspired by organizing efforts in companies like Starbucks and Amazon, and want to show the world that unionization is possible anywhere— even at Tesla. Read more on Bloomberg
Apple Continues to Violate Labor Law by Holding Illegal Captive Audience Meetings
Last week the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed two unfair labor practice (ULP) charges against Apple for violating federal labor law. One charge alleges Apple's Jordan Creek store in Des Moines, Iowa mandated illegal captive audience meetings and issued threats to workers if they unionized. CWA also filed a ULP against Apple’s Fifth Avenue which alleged management falsely implied benefits would be withheld, and illegally suggested workers would lose their ability to have one-on-one conversations with their manager, if employees chose to form a union. This charge also asserted that management subjected workers to illegal captive audience meetings, where the above coercive statements were made. Over the course of one year, Apple has taken the low road in reaction to worker organizing at its stores by retaining notorious union busting firm Littler Mendelson, and launching a national union-busting campaign. In response, CWA has filed numerous unfair labor practices against the trillion-dollar company for violating its workers' right to organize for better pay and working conditions. “Another gross violation by Apple is coming to light less than two weeks after the NLRB ruled the company broke federal labor laws,” said CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffans. “Rest assured, if Apple continues to brazenly break the law and disrespect its workers’ rights, we will hold them accountable. No corporation is above the law.”
This Week in History
February 16 1926 – Beginning of a 17-week general strike of 12,000 New York furriers, in which Jewish workers formed a coalition with Greek and African American workers and became the first union to win a five-day, 40-hour week.
February 19 1975 – The U.S. Supreme Court decides in favor of sales clerk Leura Collins and her union, the Retail Clerks, in NLRB v. J. Weingarten Inc.— the case establishing that workers have a right to request the presence of their union steward if they believe they are to be disciplined for a workplace infraction.
Song of the Week
El Vals del Del Obrero - Ska-P
Orgulloso de estar entre el proletariado
es difícil llegar a fin de mes
y tener que sudar y sudar
"pa" ganar nuestro pan.
Éste es mi sitio, ésta es mi gente
somos obreros, la clase preferente
por eso, hermano proletario, con orgullo
yo te canto esta canción, somos la revolución.
¡SI SEÑOR! La revolución,
¡SI SEÑOR!, ¡SI SEÑOR!, somos la revolución,
tu enemigo es el patrón,
¡SI SEÑOR!, ¡SI SEÑOR!, somos la revolución,
viva la revolución.
"Estyhasta" los cojones de aguantar a sanguijuelas,
los que me roban mi dignidad.
Mi vida se consume soportando esta rutina
que me ahoga cada día más.
Feliz el empresario, más callos en mis manos
mis riñones van a reventar.
No tengo un puto duro, pero sigo cotizando
a tu estado del bienestar.
Éste es mi sitio...
En esta democracia hay mucho listo que se lucra
exprimiendo a nuestra clase social.
Les importa cuatro huevos si tienes catorce hijos
y la abuela no se puede operar.
Somos los obreros, la base de este juego
en el que siempre pierde el mismo "pringao",
un juego bien pensado, en el que nos tienen callados
y te joden si no quieres jugar.
eBay-owned TCGPlayer Illegally Fired Employee for Union Activity, CWA files Unfair Labor Practice Charge
Workers at eBay-owned TCGPlayer Allege Retaliation, Coercion, and Intimidation in Unfair Labor Practice Charges