Family Updates & Retirements

Congrats to Mike Phillips on his retirement

In Sympathy

Brian Casto for the loss of his father

Retiree Melanie Carpenter, loss of huband

Jeffrey Carpenter, loss of father

Jennifer Wooten loss of her grandfather

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred on or after January 20, 2020.

Learn More

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America’s Test Kitchen Workers Vote to Join CWA

Monday - July 25, 2022
CWA Press Release

After the Company Failed to Voluntarily Recognize Their Union, an Overwhelming Majority of the Dedicated Team of Workers Behind the Famous Brand Voted to Join CWA

Boston, Mass. — In a historic win for worker organizing in the media industry, an overwhelming majority of workers at America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) have voted for union representation with the Communications Workers of America in a National Labor Relations Board election. The workers, members of ATK United (CWA Local 1400), will now seek to bargain a fair contract that recognizes the value of their contribution to the famous brand and their consumers.

“I am ecstatic about this win,” said Jackie Gochenouer, a photo test cook at ATK. “The executive team says they are willing to negotiate in good faith, and now it’s time to hold them accountable for this. Now is the time to show that we, the heart of the company, can be trusted with more transparency and a more powerful voice in the big decisions.”

For months, workers have been organizing around the low pay, expensive health care costs, understaffing, high turnover, and other working conditions that ATK had failed to effectively address. Now, the new unit that includes editors, test cooks, and video, tv, and podcast producers will be seeking to negotiate a fair contract that includes competitive salaries; affordable healthcare plans; improved benefits and wellness programs; increased subsidization of commuting costs; transparent and consistent processes for hiring, performance reviews, promotions, and pay raises; a sincere commitment to diversity at all levels; a continuation of remote work flexibility; and the establishment of processes for employee input regarding in-office policies.

“It’s been beyond heart warming and faith-instilling to see so many of my coworkers stand up and show up for one another,” said Emily Rahravan, an assistant editor at ATK. “Many have gone out of their way to ensure other people and departments are cared for and listened to. I am so excited to see how much more positive change ATK United can make in the future when we have a say in how the company’s resources are used.”

For nearly 30 years, America’s Test Kitchen, which includes Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines, as well as America’s Test Kitchen Kids, award-winning podcasts, and the upcoming Amazon-produced reality TV series ATK: The Next Generation, has been teaching home cooks the skills they need to be confident and capable in the kitchen. The dedicated team of workers behind the famous brand help produce and support ATK’s award-winning content in multiple ways.

Members of ATK United (CWA Local 1400) are proud to be part of and stand in solidarity with the growing movement of workers among similar media companies such as Condé Nast, the New York Times Wirecutter, and Gimlet Media, organizing to transform the food media landscape for the future.

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About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents working people in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, manufacturing, tech, and other fields.

cwa-union.org  @cwaunion
atk-united.com @atk_united

Blizzard Quality Assurance Workers in Albany Become Second Group of Activision Blizzard Workers to Form Union with Communications Workers of America

Monday - July 25, 2022
CWA Press Release

Albany, New York — A supermajority of quality assurance testers at Blizzard Albany (formerly Vicarious Visions) have announced the formation of the Albany Game Workers Alliance/CWA and filed for a union representation election with the National Labor Relations Board. Last week the workers asked that Activision Blizzard management voluntarily recognize their union and respect their right to organize without retaliation or interference. The company acknowledged the request but has not said whether or not they will recognize the union.

“There's issues in the video game industry that often go unnoticed because our work is seen as more of a passion instead of a job. Quality assurance workers deserve fair treatment and proper compensation for the work we do which is why we chose to form a union. Building the Albany Game Workers Alliance/CWA with my fellow co-workers will create a mechanism that allows us to make our voices heard. We know that by having a seat at the table our union will not only give us structure and power, but also give us a path forward to improve our workplace because management won't be able to ignore us all anymore,” said Amanda Laven, Associate Test Analyst at Blizzard Albany.

The Blizzard Albany workers are the second group of Activision Blizzard workers to request representation with CWA. In May, quality assurance workers at Activision’s Raven Software studio in Wisconsin won their union election and became the first certified union at Activision Blizzard. Although Activision CEO Bobby Kotick eventually sent a letter informing employees that Activision Blizzard would accept the results of the Raven QA testers' union election and begin negotiations, the company had worked tirelessly to prevent the election from happening.

“There is absolutely no reason for Activision Blizzard to refuse to recognize the Blizzard Albany workers’ union,” said CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens. “There is no doubt about what the workers want. Over 95% of the quality assurance testers have signed onto a vision statement requesting union recognition. Recognizing the union will show that Activision Blizzard’s management is serious about improving the company’s work environment. Engaging in a protracted union election fight would further undermine morale and cement management’s legacy as enablers of a toxic, hostile work environment.”

Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard, and has entered into a legally binding agreement with CWA to remain neutral when workers want to organize a union which includes a streamlined process for choosing union representation. In a vision statement, the members of the Albany Game Workers Alliance/CWA asked that Activision Blizzard management take the high road and follow Microsoft's decision and commit to a similar labor neutrality agreement so that Activision Blizzard throughout the company may join a union without fear of retaliation.

“All Activision Blizzard workers deserve a union and a say in how their workplace is run, no matter where they’re located. Game workers are often marginalized, and don’t have basic protections on the job such as benefits or job security. We are inspired by our colleagues at Raven Software for winning union representation with the Game Workers Alliance/CWA and for paving the way for Albany GWA-CWA members to have bargaining rights and a seat at the table. We hope to accomplish the same,” said Brock Davis, Associate Test Analyst at Blizzard Albany.

“We formed this union because we demand better treatment, compensation, and benefits for our crucial role in game development. All game developers deserve this, not just those of us in Quality Assurance. With our union, we will be able to negotiate for ourselves to get the treatment we deserve,” said Ryan Claudy, Associate Test Analyst at Blizzard Albany.

The Albany Game Workers Alliance/CWA will empower Blizzard QA workers and secure a legally binding contract that ensures competitive and fair compensation, better benefits, preserves QA testers’ current status as full time employees, and establishes transparency without fear of retaliation. Moving forward the union members hope management will come to the table to hold transparent contract negotiations that will ensure workers are protected and receive fair returns for their work.

“A collective bargaining agreement will not only give Albany QA workers a voice on the job, but also improve the games they produce and the company’s day to day operation,” said John Van Denburgh, President of CWA Local 1118 in Albany. "Activision-Blizzard should follow Microsoft’s commitment to a Labor Neutrality Agreement. Respecting the supermajority of Blizzard Albany QA workers' decision to form a union without hesitation is the only answer.”

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Follow Albany Game Workers Alliance/CWA at @WeAreGWAAlbany

Worker Power Update

Monday - July 18, 2022
D4 PRO Act Rally

Join Our Phone Bank to Build Support for CWA-Endorsed Candidates in Maryland

Ahead of the Maryland primary elections on July 19, CWAers are continuing to mobilize to build support for CWA-endorsed candidates in Maryland, including Gubernatorial candidate Tom Perez and Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards. Both candidates have an outstanding record of public service when it comes to improving the lives of working families, fighting discrimination, and taking on the forces that want to restrict democratic rights.

The next phone bank will be held tonight at 6 p.m. ET to help build support for Perez and Rep. Edwards. Join your fellow CWAers and fight for pro-worker and pro-democracy candidates. You don’t have to be a Maryland resident to participate. Click here to RSVP.


Check out this inspiring video of Tom Perez firing up the crowd at the 2022 CWA Legislative and Political Conference.

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CWA District 4 Members in Wisconsin Rally for the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act

On Wednesday, CWA members in Milwaukee, Wis., held a rally and a press event to call on lawmakers to vote for the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The CWAers were joined by other union members, elected officials, political candidates, activists, and community allies who demanded that their elected representatives stand with working families by supporting this critical piece of legislation. The event was held in front of Republican Senator Ron Johnson’s office. Democratic U.S. Senate candidates running to replace Johnson in the upcoming election including Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and Milwaukee Bucks Executive Alex Larsy took part in the rally.

The candidates spoke about their backgrounds working with unions and affirmed their support for the PRO Act. "It was [my parents'] union membership that gave me the opportunity to stand here in front of you all today as your lieutenant governor, and I will never give up that fight for working people,” said Barnes. "Growing up in a union family, I learned never to back down from a fight,” added Godlewski. Larsy called out Senator Johnson, "We need to make sure that we're taking care of our workers. Ron Johnson has done nothing but harm and take away the rights of all the workers that are up here...and actively wants to move jobs to another state."


Union members, elected officials, and community allies in Milwaukee, Wis., participated in a rally and a press event hosted by CWA to call on lawmakers to vote for the PRO Act.

Federal Contract Workers at Maximus Continue to Raise Concerns About Working Conditions

Monday - July 18, 2022
Maximus Workers

On Wednesday morning, a group of Maximus workers, organizing to form a union with CWA, leafletted the company’s hiring event in Hattiesburg, Miss. They talked to potential future Maximus workers about the working conditions at Maximus, including the fact that a typical Maximus worker makes 40% less than other federal call center workers. Management sent everyone in line home and told them they would follow-up on Zoom.

Verizon Wireless Retail Workers in Flint, Mich., File for Union Election With Communications Workers of America

Monday - July 18, 2022
CWA Press Release

Verizon Wireless workers in Flint join unprecedented organizing wave at the notoriously anti-union company

Today’s filing comes one week after Portland-based Verizon Express retail workers filed for an election and follows a historic union election win by Verizon Wireless workers in the Seattle area

FLINT, Mich. — Verizon Wireless retail workers at two stores in Flint, Mich., filed for a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election today. The workers, who have faced years of poor working conditions, including understaffing, unlivable wages, and disrespect by corporate management, are seeking to be represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA). This group of Verizon Wireless retail workers, who operate two stores in the Flint area, is the latest to file for formal union representation and stand up to one of the most notoriously anti-union companies in the U.S. Last week, Verizon Express workers at two stores in Portland, Ore., filed for a union election.

If Flint-based Verizon Wireless workers successfully win union representation, they will join hundreds of thousands of telecommunications and customer service employees as members of CWA, including Verizon Wireless retail workers in the Seattle area who won a union election with CWA in April. The workers prevailed despite Verizon’s aggressive anti-union tactics, which included flying their in-house, union-busting team to Seattle the day after the workers publicly announced their organizing efforts and asked for voluntary recognition.

“After working at Verizon Wireless for a year, going up against long hours and severe understaffing, I am proud to be standing up with my coworkers to fight for a union,” said Verizon Wireless retail worker Robin Cook. “Verizon Wireless cannot succeed without its workforce. We have kept the company up and running throughout the pandemic and continued to serve the customers who rely on us, all while dealing with upper management who don’t seem to respect us or care enough to properly staff the stores. We cannot put up with this toxic culture anymore, and that’s why we’re joining our fellow Verizon retail workers nationwide to demand a voice on the job.”

Inspired by the groundbreaking union win in Washington, Verizon workers in Flint are demanding a voice on the job and remain united in their efforts to form a union. Fair compensation, comprehensive health benefits, wage increases, appropriate staffing levels, and safe working conditions are among workers’ demands.

“I’ve worked as a Specialist at Verizon Wireless for 8 years, and the working conditions and mistreatment by upper leadership have only gotten worse since I started,” said Verizon Wireless retail worker David Vanderstelt. “Right now, we’re dealing with a corruption of Credo, Culture, and Ethics. From speaking with my fellow Verizon workers in Washington and Oregon, I know this toxic culture isn’t unique to Flint–it’s an issue at Verizon retail stores across the country. With our growing union momentum, I know we can build a better Verizon, both for ourselves and our customers.”

Verizon has a long history of union-busting. In 2014, corporate executives and upper level management at Verizon Wireless launched an aggressive anti-union campaign targeting organizing efforts at its retail stores in Brooklyn, N.Y., the first Verizon Wireless retail location to form a union.

Despite workers in both New York and Washington ultimately triumphing and joining CWA, Verizon Wireless has continued to retaliate against workers interested in forming unions at its stores. CWA filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge with the NLRB against Verizon Wireless on behalf of Jesse Mason, a retail worker at Seattle’s Northgate and Aurora Village stores who was illegally fired after joining with his coworkers to organize a union. The retaliation firing happened days after Mason attended the workers’ union vote count at the Seattle area Everett and Lynnwood stores in solidarity. Mason is now supporting union organizing efforts at Verizon Wireless stores across the country, including in Flint.

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About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents working people in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, and manufacturing.

cwa-union.org @cwaunion

Communications Workers of America: “Digital Equity is Within Reach” with Nationwide Participation in Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All Initiative

Monday - July 18, 2022
Press Release

With all states and territories having confirmed their participation, CWA applauds the Biden administration for leaving no county behind, and ensuring that federal dollars support quality broadband buildout and union jobs

NATIONWIDE — Following the announcement from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that every state and territory in the U.S. will be participating in the Internet for All initiative, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) applauds President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and the entire NTIA for their comprehensive outreach campaign to ensure no state or territory was left behind.

Internet for All, a key piece of President Biden’s Infrastructure and Jobs Act, is a $65 billion federal program to ensure all Americans have access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet.

“With every corner of the country committed to bringing reliable high-speed internet to every household and business, digital equity in America is within reach,” said ​​Communications Workers of America President Chris Shelton. “CWA has been a leading advocate for this program from the start, and as states begin to develop their plans to utilize this funding, our members and leaders stand ready to be a resource. Our motto has been ‘build broadband better’ and CWA members know how to do just that. We look forward to being a part of the solution to bridging the digital divide and delivering reliable broadband everywhere.”

In addition to providing the funding states and territories need to expand internet access, the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program lays out requirements that effectively address many of CWA’s concerns about the failure of past programs to bring reliable, high speed broadband and good, union jobs to rural and underserved communities.

BEAD funding requirements recognize the importance of ensuring that broadband providers and their contractors have proactive plans in place to ensure labor compliance and high quality training, and address the problem of low-road subcontractors in the telecommunications industry, making it clear that federal dollars will not fund sub-par installations by fly-by-night companies.

In addition, BEAD requirements seek to ensure public funds are used to deploy future-proof fiber technology. CWA has long advocated for fiber-to-the-premise architecture, as it remains the best broadband option when it comes to speed, latency, reliability, and consistency in quality of service. Fiber technology will also ensure that the deployed network can easily scale speeds over time and meet the evolving connectivity needs of households and businesses.

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Organizing Update

Monday - July 18, 2022
Organizing Update

Verizon Wireless

The movement for union representation at Verizon Wireless is growing!

Workers at Verizon Wireless stores in Flint, Mich., and Portland, Ore., have formed unions with CWA and filed election petitions with the National Labor Relations Board. Earlier this year, Seattle-area Verizon Wireless workers won their union election after an aggressive anti-union campaign from the company.

The workers stand firm in their commitment to form a union and work together for fair compensation, adequate staffing levels, health benefits, work-life balance, and a safe work environment that is built on respect and positivity.

Bargaining Update

Monday - July 18, 2022
Bargaining Update

Verizon

CWA and IBEW have reached a tentative agreement with Verizon to extend the existing collective bargaining agreements for another three-year period. The current agreements are set to expire on August 5, 2023. The new agreements would extend through August 1, 2026. The contract will include long-term, work-from-home provisions. The details of the contracts are being distributed to locals and members will be voting to ratify the contract in the coming weeks.

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WIRED

Workers at WIRED, a tech magazine and website, reached a tentative agreement late Monday night after threatening to strike on Amazon Prime Days, two of the most lucrative traffic days of the year for WIRED Magazine. More than 95 percent of the workers, who have been bargaining for over a year, had signed on to walk off the job if the company refused to bargain in good faith and reach an agreement with the union. The workers, who are members of the NewsGuild of New York (TNG-CWA Local 31003), are part of a growing union movement at the magazine publisher Condé Nast’s publications, including Vogue, GQ, Allure, and Bon Appétit. Read more here.

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Equality California

Workers at Equality California, the statewide LGBTQ+ rights organization, are continuing their fight for a fair first contract. The workers, members of CWA Local 9003, won voluntary recognition a year ago. However, the organization falsely claimed that more than half of the unit are supervisors, a common anti-union strategy in the nonprofit industry. The workers appealed to the National Labor Relations Board and won recognition for the union’s full and undivided bargaining unit. Since then, the organization has failed to settle a fair contract by dragging out the bargaining process at every turn. The workers have demonstrated that they will continue to advocate for their rights in the workplace just as fiercely as they advocate for the health and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community. As a social justice organization, Equality California needs to do better by respecting its workers and bargaining a fair contract. Show your support by sharing this Twitter thread.

IUE-CWA Manufacturing Workers Got a Visit from President Kennebrew

Monday - July 11, 2022
Pres. Kennebrew Meets with IUE Workers

IUE-CWA Local 81102 members at Steinway Piano in New York extended a warm welcome to IUE-CWA President Carl Kennebrew during his visit last week. President Kennebrew, who has made it a priority to visit IUE-CWA-represented manufacturing facilities and connect with workers, got an opportunity to tour the facility and hear directly from workers.

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