Let’s Do This

Sisters and brothers,

This weekend I’ll leave to join our CWA bargaining team in Chicago, where we’ll begin negotiations on behalf of CWA members and their families with AT&T Midwest. Those who know me also know that I am not one to shy away from a responsibility, especially the one conferred on me by the Local 4009 membership to be their Local president. As a member of the CWA District 4 bargaining team, my commitment to my Local members, and all the CWA members who put their trust and hopes in our elected leadership, is that I and the rest of YOUR bargaining committee will be your unceasing voice at these negotiations.

Recent events seem to indicate that AT&T takes for granted our long and profitable relationship. In the face of almost embarrassing riches after receiving the recent tax-cuts, AT&T almost immediately began shedding employees. Days before Christmas. Outside of seniority. Recently, it has sometimes seemed to our members that arbitrary and capricious decisions and directions taken by management are almost designed to discourage us, to degrade our unity and divide us. Perhaps AT&T hopes we will tip our caps and say, “Thanks, Boss, may I have another?” Instead, these actions enrage us. And they strengthen our resolve to remind management that they have it backwards: We are not lucky to have a job; you are lucky that we show up in all kinds of weather, endure all kinds of mistreatment, to make AT&T profitable!

There are some things CWA members must do to help the bargaining succeed, to have your voice be heard:

  1. Listen up
    The bargaining team will put out as much information as possible, while still keeping other things under wraps as necessary to further negotiations. Sorry, that’s the way it is when you are engaged in adversarial negotiations. During such times, you will certainly be given information and encouraged to mobilize by your representatives. Receiving mobilization information and acting on it appropriately is critical for our success. I remind you to ensure that you can be contacted by your Local and that you follow the appropriate information sources (website, social media, etc.) so you know when and where to show up.
  2. Show up
    Whenever there is a craft-meeting, a Union-meeting, an informational picket or any other place to be that includes standing next to one of your Union brothers or sisters, that is the best place for you to help secure the best agreement. If one of your coworkers is in dispute with management, remind her or him to demand a steward. If you see a job-action, join it; this provides more protection and impact for all workers. Do not assume someone else will show up. You show up.
  3. Stand up
    Bargaining can sometimes produce tension in the workplace, especially in management. Union members have certain rights to make their point to management that are protected by federal law. These rights can be irksome to management from time to time and that’s just too bad. In fact, job actions and demonstrations are well-known to produce desirable contracts for Union members! Don’t worry, it is normal to be nervous when exercising your rights to picket, do job-actions, and the like. Bravery is proceeding to do the right thing, even when you are nervous, and bravery is easier when you are standing with your brothers and sisters!

Though I am “merely” your voice at these negotiations, and you the arms who raise the signs and legs who walk the lines, my voice is powerful because our membership is powerful. Our Union is powerful.

In Unity,

Tina Culver, President
CWA Local 4009

2 comments on “Let’s Do This
  1. Tom says:

    What’s the point in bargaining a new contract if there are no employees to bargain for. Att got their tax break. Now they are gonna clean house cause it’s “ the needs of the company” . Aka we are screwed! Sure they might offer us a job in another state away from friends and family and our homes. But I don’t see that as a benefit more a sign that they don’t care about their employees or what the union does.

  2. James Day says:

    “United we stand, divided we beg”

    I’ve heard that for the past five Contracts, yet at the District level, there has always been division. There should be One Contract with One Contract bargaining date to cover all 22 States at One time.
    Instead, there are at least five separate Contracts with five separate negotiations. Instead of 70,000 to 100,000 Union Members standing in Solidarity, District 4 is alone, with 12,000 Union Members standing alone.

    Why?

    There is no excuse for this. None.

    I’ve always paid my Dues, always participated in bargaining activities and always spoke up for CWA District 4. If this Contract brings results similar to the past five, I have doubts that I will continue to do so.

    If you truly believe that United We Stand, then the Districts need to Unite as One. Otherwise, you should stop using that slogan.

Leave a Reply