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High Stakes in Election Year Congress Celebrating Dr. KING's Legacy

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High Stakes in Election Year Congress Celebrating Dr. KING's Legacy Powered By Docstoc
					 C o m m u n i c a t i o n s Wo r ke r s o f A m e r i c a , A F L - C I O, C L C Vo l u m e 6 0 , N u m b e r 2 , F e b r u a r y 2 0 0 0
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      High Stakes in
  Election Year Congress
                                                 pg
                                                 3




Celebrating                                                           pg      New Contracts at Sprint
Dr. KING’s                                                            3
Legacy                                                                pg      ‘Extras’ Act on Media Guild Merger
                                                                      3
                                                                      pg      N.J. Workers Cash In on Pension Law
                                                                      5
    2       FEBRUARY 2000               CWANews
                                                                                            IN MY OPINION
                                                                                                              By Morton Bahr
                                                                                                               CWA President




    Gore is the Workers’ Champion – It’s a Matter of Record

                          S
                               ince the time of CWA’s endorsement of Vice President Al            despite the fact that AT&T had shut down a major manufacturing facility in his home
                               Gore for the presidency at our 61st Convention last July,          state of New Jersey.
                               Gore and Senator Bill Bradley have campaigned vigorously in                   From the vice president’s standpoint, these are not isolated cases of sup-
                               Iowa, New Hampshire and other primary states and have              port for working families. During Al Gore’s years in the Senate — representing a
                      engaged in many televised debates.                                          “right-to-work” state, I would stress — his record of support for AFL-CIO-backed
                            The news media have painted a picture of two Democratic candi-        legislation is topped only by that of Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.)
                      dates with little difference in ideology or on policy matters. One might               These were among the factors that the AFL-CIO executive council took
                      fairly ask, wouldn’t either candidate be good for working families?         into consideration in discussing whom to endorse at the time that both Bradley and
              Our endorsement and continued strong support of the vice president are              Gore were seeking labor’s support.
    based on the conviction that he is unique among all the candidates of both parties in                    Time and again,Vice President Gore has shown that his commitment to
    the strength of his commitment to working people, as well as his overall qualifica-           workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively is more than talk or political
    tions for the top office.                                                                     expediency.
              Al Gore was there for us long before he entertained running for the White                      NABET-CWA members at ABC well remember election night in 1998
    House, and he stood up for CWA members at times when then-Senator Bradley                     when the network locked them out — and when Al Gore stood up for them. The
    from New Jersey did not. It’s a matter of record.                                             vice president was slated for a high-profile network interview with ABC White
              Let’s look at two key votes before Congress that dealt with the fundamental House correspondent Ann Compton, which would frame the election coverage for
    issues of protecting pensions and jobs for CWA members.                                       the Democrats. Gore canceled the interview, declaring: “I don’t cross CWA picket
              First, when the AT&T Bell System was broken up in the early 1980s, CWA              lines, electronic or physical.” His example caused other Democratic politicians to
    mounted a legislative effort to give the workers pension portability as they were             refuse to appear on ABC throughout the long lockout.
    suddenly scattered among eight different corporate entities and were frequently trans-                   Gore walks the walk, demonstrating he means it when says, as he did last
    ferred back and forth during a period of personnel adjustment. Without congressional          Labor Day speaking to the 25th anniversary convention of the Coalition of Labor
    action, these workers had no guarantee of keeping their seniority when they transferred.      Union Women: “Let me tell you as plainly as I can, I am pro-union, pro-worker, pro-
              As a congressman from Tennessee, Al Gore voted for the CWA-backed                   family, pro-working family.”
    amendment to protect Bell workers’ seniority and pensions in 1983. When the                              And he spelled out a campaign agenda to back it up: Support for initiatives
    Senate took up a similar measure in January 1984, Senator Bradley sided with the              to make it easier for all workers to organize, further attention to equal pay for
    telephone companies and the Reagan administration, and against CWA, voting “no.”              equal work, improved day care and after school programs for working parents, and
    His vote helped kill the measure by 44-40. (Later the portability                                                expanding family and medical leave benefits.
    amendment would be passed in another legislative fight.)                                                                    These are the facts behind our union’s endorsement of
                                                                                     Our endorsement and
              In 1991, another key issue emerged that directly affected                                              Vice President Gore. This endorsement was reached following
                                                                                 continued strong support of
    jobs for CWA members at the Bell companies. With a bill pending                                                  the democratic processes that are the basis of all our actions in
                                                                                 the vice president are based
    to permit the Bell regionals to manufacture telephone equipment,                                                 CWA. A scientific survey of our members conducted for CWA
                                                                                  on the conviction that he is
    CWA was pushing for an amendment — opposed by the Bush                                                           showed overwhelming support for Vice President Gore, then dele-
                                                                                     unique among all the
    administration — that required the Bells to perform that manufac-                                                gates to our convention last summer made it official with their
                                                                                  candidates of both parties
    turing in the United States.                                                                                     endorsement of Gore’s candidacy for the presidency. CWA does
                                                                                     in the strength of his
              Al Gore, by then a senator, voted for the CWA domestic                                                 not presume to try to “tell” members how to vote. However, we
                                                                                   commitment to working
    content legislation on the key vote, while Bill Bradley was one of                                               do urge members to look closely at all the candidates and com-
                                                                                      people, as well as his
    only two Democrats to cross over and support a measure by                                                        pare their records — and above all, register, go to the polls and
                                                                                      overall qualifications
    Senator Phil Gramm (R-Texas) to kill the CWA amendment —                                                         participate in this great democratic process.
                                                                                       for the top office.




   CWANews
                 ®

                                                            Volume 60, No. 2    FEBRUARY 2000

Official Publication of the Communications Workers of America (AFL-CIO, CLC)
International Union Headquarters, 501 3rd Street, N.W.,Washington, D.C. 20001-2797
Phone: (202) 434-1100.
Address changes: Inquiries or corrections for CWA News subscriptions
should be addressed to CWA Membership Dues Dept.
E-Mail: subscribe@cwa-union.org
Produced by CWA Communications Department
Director/Executive Editor Jeffery M. Miller
Associate Director Candice M. Johnson
Senior Writer/Editor John Cusick
Senior Writer/Editor Janelle Hartman
Editorial Assistant Brenda D. Dawson
CWA News (ISSN 0007-9227) is published 10 times a year by Communications Workers of America,
501 3rd Street, N.W.,Washington, D.C. 20001-2797. Periodical Postage Paid at Washington, D.C.
Postmaster: send address changes to CWA, 501 3rd Street, N.W.,Washington, D.C. 20001-2797.
Printed at Kelly Press, Cheverly, Md.
Design by Chadick & Kimball,Washington, D.C.
CWA Executive Board • President Morton Bahr
• Secretary-Treasurer Barbara J. Easterling • Executive Vice President Larry Cohen
• Vice Presidents District 1, Larry Mancino • District 2, Peter Catucci • District 3, James E. Smith Jr. • District 4,
Jeffrey Rechenbach • District 6, Ben G.Turn Jr. • District 7, John Thompson • District 9,Tony Bixler • District 13,
Vincent Maisano • Communications and Technologies, James E. Irvine • Telecommunications,T.O. Moses • Public and
Health Care Workers, Brooks Sunkett • Printing, Publishing and Media Workers,William Boarman • Broadcast and
Cable Television Workers, John S. Clark • The Newspaper Guild/CWA, Linda K. Foley
                                                                                                                             CWANews                            FEBRUARY 2000         3




Film Extras Make PACT With TNG’s Canadian Media Guild;                                                                                          Arnold Amber. “They can’t vote on their
                                                                                                                                                contract, and they have the right to be
                                                                                                                                                represented.”

SBC Wireless Headquarters Workers Join CWA                                                                                                          TNG-CWA President Linda Foley
                                                                                                                                                noted that the potential exists for orga-
                                                                                                                                                nizing at least 1,000 freelance “extras” in



I
     t seems like everyone is getting into      PACT members listen to proposal that led to an                                                  Canada and praised the Canadian Media
     the act, but not everyone who              overwhelming vote to merge their organization                                                   Guild for “its unique ability to attract new
                                                with the Canadian Media Guild,TNG-CWA Local                                                     members.”
     appears in Canadian movies and tele-
                                                213. Leaders of the Professional Association of
     vision productions gets equal pay, ben-    Canadian Talent seated at the head table are,
                                                                                                                                                    Lareau said that PACT-CMG will seek
efits or job security under a strong union      from left, Board Chairman Ian Thurbide, Pres.                                                   out additional freelance extras by adver-
contract. That’s why more than 700 back-        Charlie Fife and Vice Pres. Dennie Foster.                                                      tising in trade papers across the country.
ground performers, or “extras,” last fall                                                                                                           The next step for PACT will be to
formed the Professional Association of                                                                                                          approve new bylaws Jan. 21, then apply for
Canadian Talent.                                                                                                                                a bargaining certificate from the Canadian
    On Jan. 7, following the recommenda-                                                                                                        Artists and Performers Professional
tion of their executive committee, more                                                                                                         Relations Tribunal, which under Canadian
than 100 members representing the asso-                                                                                                         law regulates collective bargaining in the
ciation decided to take PACT to the next                                                                                                        entertainment industry. A decision is not
level. In a spirited meeting they voted                                                                                                         expected before fall.
almost unanimously to become a branch                                                                                                               Maskell hoped a possible jurisdictional
of the Canadian Media Guild,TNG-CWA.                                                                                                            challenge from ACTRA could be resolved
    “We are now an official trade union,                                                                                                        amicably. “Hey, we’re going to have to be
and we’ll take the necessary steps to                                                                                                           at the same bargaining table,” he said.
obtain a certification order that will give
us the right to engage in collective bar-                                                                                                       Wireless Solidarity
gaining,” said PACT President Charlie Fife.                                                                                                     CWA Local 6215 won its second major
    CMG President Lise Lareau said the                                                                                                          unit through a card check election at SBC
Guild at first tried to help PACT hook up                                                                                                       Wireless.The unit of 400 SBC Wireless
with another union, the Alliance of Canadian                                                                                                    Headquarters employees, said District 9
                                                provide that a certain number of ACTRA            ground performers in their bargaining cer-
Cinema,Television and Radio Artists                                                                                                             Organizing Coordinator Sandy Rusher,
                                                members must be employed as back-                 tificate,” explained CMG Staff
(ACTRA). PACT chose to instead become                                                                                                           brings the total to 1,200 SBC Wireless
                                                ground performers at union wages, but             Representative Keith Maskell. “But these
a branch of CMG when ACTRA showed no                                                                                                            employees organized in the Dallas/Fort
                                                allow producers to hire an unlimited num-         people are not in ACTRA.”
desire to have them as members.                                                                                                                 Worth area within the last year.
                                                ber of extras who are not represented.                 “These people have no representation
     “It’s pretty surprising we’re at this                                                                                                         CWA Vice President Ben Turn Jr., of
                                                    “ACTRA says these people (PACT) are           and no involvement in that union,”
point, but we’re glad to have them join         represented because they have back-               stressed TNG-CWA Canada Director                                      (Continued on page 4)
us,” Lareau explained. “For the Canadian
Media Guild and the entire union, this is
an entry into the film industry. It’s a con-
vergence of the people who do content.
For us, it’s a direction we should be going.
                                                Sprint Units Settle on 3-Year Pacts, Avert Strikes
If you’re a media union, you should repre-




                                                A
sent all the media.”                                    fter narrowly averting a year-end         activism of our local leaders and members         Facing a common thread of retrogres-
    The Canadian Media Guild,TNG-CWA                    strike, Sprint local service units        prevented that from happening.”               sive demands that varied somewhat by
Local 213, is The Newspaper Guild’s                     covering 2,700 workers are look-              Moses said he was “very appreciative      bargaining unit, Sprint locals in all five
largest local, representing about 4,500                 ing forward to 3 percent annual           of the dedication of staff and local com-     states kept up a high level of mobilization
journalists, anchors, producers, directors      wage gains, pension and savings plan              mittee members who worked through the         throughout bargaining. The day after
and announcers, as well as off-camera per-      improvements and enhanced pay incen-              Christmas holidays,” as well as the “coop-    Thanksgiving CWA and IBEW members
sonnel throughout Canada. Many of its           tives for service representatives. And            eration and active involvement” of CWA        passed out thousands of fliers calling
members work within the broad network           because CWA prevailed in getting the              Vice Presidents Jimmy Smith, District 3,      attention to a general deterioration of
of television stations that make up the         company to withdraw most of its retro-            Jeff Rechenbach, District 4, John Thompson,   local service and excessive compensation
Canadian Broadcasting Company.                  gressive demands,T.O. Moses, CWA vice             District 7 and Vince Maisano, District 13.    for Sprint CEO William Esrey, targeting
    Though PACT initially sought to affiliate   president for telecommunications, said he             The new pacts put standby assignments     such Sprint outlets such as K-Mart, Radio
with ACTRA — which represents the               expected ratifications to be completed by         on a volunteers-first basis. They include     Shack and Staples. Members wrote to
principal performers who have speaking          the end of January and satisfactory settle-       new medical options to offset higher out-     Esrey, asking if he would be willing to
roles in movies and TV — five meetings          ments for other Sprint units that bargain         of-pocket costs where employees pay a         forego his stock options. They talked to
in five months between PACT and                 this year.                                        share of medical costs, higher mileage and    proprietors of small businesses in their
ACTRA leadership failed to produce a                Sprint bargaining committees in               per diem payments, improved severance         communities, posted signs in their front
merger agreement.                               Oregon, Indiana,Tennessee and two in              pay for most units, new long distance tele-   yards and wore red or purple T-shirts to
    Part of the problem is that most PACT       North Carolina reached tentative agree-           phone concessions, and assurances that        work once a week in displays of solidarity.
members pass anonymously in front of            ment on new three-year contracts Dec. 30,         seniority will be considered ahead of qual-       Still, Sprint demanded to reduce or
the camera or mimic conversations in the        just hours before a strike deadline of mid-       ifications for                                eliminate double-time pay, to weaken
background of scenes. They are usually          night. A sixth committee, in Florida,             transfers and                                 seniority and to cut out certain kinds of
freelancers who work a day or two on            extended bargaining and on Jan. 3 agreed          recalls.                                      premium pay. The company also wanted
one production, then move on to another.        to send the company’s final offer to the                                                        to weaken recall rights and to freeze
Earning on average $7 an hour, with no          membership, once again averting a strike                                                        wages for certain technical classifications.
benefits, they often patch together careers     that would have begun the following day.                                                        CWA members responded with a 9-to-1
by working through several different                                                              In support of
                                                Ratification votes were underway as the           bargaining, CWA
                                                                                                                                                strike vote.
agents.                                         CWA News went to press, with Moses                                                                  The remaining Sprint local service units
                                                                                                  ran ads in major
    ACTRA members, on the other hand,           reporting that the Indiana,Tennessee and          newspapers in                                 that bargain in 2000 are: Missouri (333
typically work under a collective bargain-      Oregon units had voted to ratify.                 five states during                            members) and Kansas (140 members),
ing agreement and play speaking parts.              “Overall, these packages are very posi-       the last week of                              whose contracts expire Feb. 12; Ohio (687
They earn more than $18 an hour plus                                                              1999, calling
                                                tive,” Moses said. “Sprint management             attention to
                                                                                                                                                members), Feb. 28; New Jersey (222) mem-
overtime and benefits. ACTRA contracts          expected these negotiations would pro-                                                          bers, May 14, and Virginia (152 members),
                                                                                                  ongoing service
                                                duce big wins for the company, but the            problems.                                     May 15.
   4      FEBRUARY 2000            CWANews
Membership Grows at SBC Wireless
(Continued from page 3)                                                                                      Organizing             ROUNDUP                Thirty-seven workers make up those
                                                                                                                                                           units.
                                                                                                                                                           s Crossing guards in Middletown, N.J.
                                                                                                                                                           voted 65-1 to join CWA, with two void
                                                                                                            Victories Elsewhere:                           ballots, as certified by the state Public
                                                                                                            s Cellular One in New York state is            Employee Relations Commission. Ed
                                                                                                            nearly all CWA following card check cam-       Sabol, administrative assistant to District 1
                                                                                                            paigns in Rochester, Albany and Glens          Vice President Larry Mancino, credited
                                                                                                            Falls, District 1 Organizing Coordinator       CWA Local 1032 President Jim Marketti
                                                                                                            Jeff Lacher said outstanding efforts by        and organizer Bernice Krawzcyk.
                                                                                                            local organizers led to recognition for        s CWA Local 1040 President Carolyn
                                                                                                            more than 85 workers in the three loca-        Wade reported a victory at the Atlantic
                                                                                                            tions. The inside organizing committee in      County Division of Inter-Generational
                                                                                                            Rochester, where 49 workers are                Services for a unit of potentially 60 work-
                                                                                                            employed, was assisted by Local 1170           ers. The vote was 28-21 for CWA, in an
                                                                                                            organizers Don DePerna, Rich Downey            election conducted by New Jersey PERC.
                                                                                                            and Michele McGrath. Lacher called the         Organizer Tom Bruno spearheaded the
                                                                                                            victory “a great testament to the efforts      campaign.
                                                                                                            of Local 1170’s new president, Linda           s Tulsa (Okla.) Typographical Union 403
Local 6215 officers and organizers celebrate victory in card check campaign for SBC Wireless head-
quarters in Dallas/Fort Worth. From left are Sec.-Treas. James Allen,Winston Evans, Evelyn Toliver, Exec.   McGrath, and organizers in following           (CWA Local 14625) received voluntary
Vice Pres. Carol McGee,Vice Pres. Nancy Hall, Pres. J.D.Williams, and Doug Johnson.                         through during a very trying time.” The        recognition and has bargained a first con-
                                                                                                            local’s longtime president, Robert Flavin,     tract for four new members at
                                                                                                            died Nov. 4, about a month before the          Dimensions Printing. Hunter Phillips,
District 6, credited the win to the efforts               Better pay, consistent work rules and             card check. In earlier campaigns at Albany     administrative assistant to Printing Sector
of Local 6171 President J.D.Williams, the              recognition of seniority are among issues            and Glens Falls, Local 1118 organizer Pat      President Bill Boarman, credited local
local’s executive board and local organiz-             that will be addressed in bargaining,                Cumo and Executive Vice President Gil          President Jack Benning and Vice President
ers Evelyn Toliver, Doug Johnson and                   chaired by District 6 Southern Area                  Carey helped develop strategy and issues.      Jim Benning for both accomplishments.
Winston Evans.                                         Director Bill Davis Jr.
    Toliver said the local first approached
headquarters workers in 1998 when they
were working to organize customer ser-
vice. They backed off when they learned
that campaign was to be directed at Dallas
                                                       Lucent, AT&T Union Leaders Plan for 2000
“properties” only.



                                                       L
    A card check drive normally takes                          ocal union leaders representing              with Justice worked with Communications        about new union leverage at the compa-
three or four months. But because con-                         CWA members at AT&T and                      and Technologies staff in presenting the       nies. In bargaining unit meetings, partici-
tacts had already been established,Toliver                     Lucent Technologies met to sharpen           three-phase mobilization program.              pants set out short and long-term goals
said,“This campaign moved relatively fast.”                    skills and further develop strategies           Workshop participants also had the          for building union power at the compa-
    The first card was signed Sept. 30,                to stop the companies from shifting work             opportunity to develop skills to work bet-     nies. Lucent delegates voted to encourage
1999, which started the 60-day clock per               away from quality union jobs. The week-              ter with the media, both on and off cam-       participation at the Lucent shareholders’
CWA’s agreement with SBC. By Nov. 29,                  long leadership conference, held in                  era, in sessions presented by the CWA          meeting set for Feb. 16 in Oakland, Calif.,
the local had collected 242 signatures out             Orlando, Fla., brought together 325 union            Communications Department.                     and put in place a drive to collect proxies
of 366 eligible, figures Rusher reported on            officers, including many elected for the                Mobilization strategists for both Lucent    of shareholders. Lucent presidents will
Jan. 3 as certified by the American                    first time.                                          and AT&T met just before the conference        meet in Oakland the day before the
Arbitration Association.                                   Jim Irvine, CWA vice president for               to continue planning actions that will bring   shareholders’ meeting.
    Toliver said that even though the com-             Communications and Technologies, called
pany honored its neutrality agreement and              on AT&T and Lucent locals to step up
permitted on-site access, most meetings
with workers were conducted off the
premises of four headquarters offices.
                                                       their efforts to gain new leverage with the
                                                       companies. “Our relationship with both
                                                       Lucent and AT&T has drastically changed
                                                                                                            Lucent Stock Drop
    Service representative Gloria Garnett
took the lead at the Glenn Campbell
office, with 157 eligible workers. Garnett
                                                       over the past year and a half, and we’re
                                                       determined to use all the tools and new
                                                       strategies we have to make certain we
                                                                                                            ‘No Surprise’ To Workers
had been in earlier, unsuccessful campaigns            have their attention,” Irvine said.



                                                                                                            W
for Wireless. “She was eager to get start-                 Participants heard from CWA Secretary-                         hen Lucent Technologies              Lucent announced a downsizing of
ed on this one. She moved at least 80                  Treasurer Barbara Easterling; Vice                                 reported that its fiscal year    1,300 technicians in its small business unit
percent of her office in our direction,”               Presidents John Thompson, District 7, and                          first quarter earnings would     last November. In the meantime, the
Toliver said.                                          Vince Maisano, District 13; Ron Allen,                             be lower than anticipated, it    company has been unable to meet
    Toliver also singled out strong efforts            assistant to the CWA president; Ralph                caused a major drop in the company’s           demand for its equipment and products
by inside organizers Monica Murphy at                  Maly, assistant to Irvine and Mike Jones,            stock value — nearly 29 percent —              that can transmit a rapidly growing vol-
Revenue Management, 210 workers; Felicia               president of host Local 3108. The fea-               accompanied by analysts’ speculation that      ume of data and voice traffic, as well as
Jackson and Cindy Esparza, the Corporate               tured speaker was Lester Brown, who                  the company would need time to restore         installation and service, Irvine said.
Office, about 100 employees; and Vernon                motivated and energized the group.                   “credibility and confidence.”                      “At a time when the telecommunica-
Lincoln at Spring Valley Technical Support,                In workshop sessions on mobilization,               But “CWA members who work at                tions sector is exceptionally strong and
where 11 of 12 workers signed cards.                   participants looked at ways to expand                Lucent Technologies weren't surprised,”        demand for Lucent’s products and exper-
    Toliver said the fact that most of the             community coalitions, draw on support                said Jim Irvine, CWA vice president for        tise should be at its peak, Lucent is weak-
Wireless workers had union background                  from the international trade union move-             Communications and Technologies,               ening its own position by eliminating the
from previous jobs or had family members               ment, improve their one-on-one programs              because “we’ve been talking with Lucent        jobs of the very people who give Lucent
who belonged to unions helped tremen-                  and work with union and community part-              for months about its downsizing of             its competitive edge. Lucent needs to
dously. “They knew that working for                    ners to focus attention on the fight for             employees who install these sophisticated      maintain its quality workforce, not cut it,
Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. was total-             workers’ rights to organize. Seth Rosen,             systems and equipment, and how the             so that business customers can continue
ly different from working for Southwestern             assistant to CWA District 4 Vice President           absence of a long-term employment strat-       to receive the service they expect and
Bell Wireless, and the difference was CWA.”            Jeff Rechenbach, and Simon Greer of Jobs             egy will harm the business.”                   deserve,” he said.
                                                                                                                                    CWANews                            FEBRUARY 2000         5




New Jersey Bill Puts More Money in Workers’ Pockets
A
        new bill reducing the amount that          members’ aggressive mobilization and                 Workers in the Public Employees                increases amount to 14 percent over the
        New Jersey’s public workers con-           political action program, in a joint effort       Retirement System, or PERS, have been             next four years.
        tribute to their pension plan will         with the other public employee unions and         paying about 5 percent of their salary                The bill allows the contributions to be
        mean more take-home pay for                the New Jersey state AFL-CIO,” he said.           toward their pension. The figure is being         reduced again by as much as 2 percent
260,000 state and local government                    Mancino also praised the efforts of            reduced by 1.5 percent under the bill, sav-       after two years if the fund is healthy. If it
employees.                                         state Senate President Donald                     ing workers about $252 million between            isn’t, the contributions could be increased.
   Gov. Christie Whitman signed the bill           DiFrancesco, prime sponsor of the legisla-        now and the end of 2001.                              But CWA leaders say they expect the
into law Jan.18, the last day of the legislative   tion, and Assembly Speaker Jack Collins.             “The 50,000 public employees repre-            fund to thrive. District 1 Area Director
session. The State Assembly passed it by an           Brooks Sunkett, CWA vice president             sented by CWA will take home an aver-             Robert Pursell said the fund is estimated
overwhelming majority a week earlier.              for public workers, hailed the accomplish-        age of $600 more in their paychecks over          to have more than $8 billion in excess
   Larry Mancino, CWA vice president for           ment. “This is certainly good news for            the next two years,” Mancino said. “And           assets, a figure that continues to grow.
District 1, credited the bill’s success to         our members, who have served the state            that’s on top of the wage increases we’ve         The bill “will not cost the taxpayers one
hard work by CWA members and other                 loyally in both good and bad economic             negotiated with employers.” For CWA-              dime, and the pension fund will remain
unions. “This comes as a result of our             times,” he said.                                  represented state employees, those                very healthy,” he said.




Appeal Halts Return to Work in Detroit                                                                                                                 Aug. 30, 1996. Many activists, including
                                                                                                                                                       Foley, were arrested.
                                                                                                                                                           Rusnell, who began work at the Free
                                                                                                                                                       Press in 1969, wasn’t arrested. But the



T
         he Detroit News, the Detroit Free                                                                                                             company fired him anyway, claiming he
         Press and the company that runs                                                                                                               blocked access to the building. The arbi-
         the two newspapers are appealing                                                                                                              trator didn’t buy it, saying the evidence
         a judge’s order to reinstate 50                                                                                                               showed that “Mr. Rusnell did nothing
workers illegally fired for strike-related                                                                                                             whatsoever to impede movement . . . ”
activities in 1996, a delaying tactic expect-                                                                                                              The decision by the administrative law
ed by union officials.                                                                                                                                 judge wasn’t all good news. He ruled
    “They’re taking their usual militant                                                                                                               against 37 employees, who Mleczko said
position,” said Lou Mleczko, president of                                                                                                              were fired after participating in protests
TNG-CWA Local 22. “Their attitude is,                                                                                                                  nearly identical to the August event. The
‘We hate the NLRB and we’re challenging                                                                                                                union is appealing.
everything.”                                                                                                                                               “We were dismayed,” he said. “On the
    Detroit Newspapers Inc. employees                                                                                                                  one hand, the judge reversed firings for
have spent nearly five years out of work                                                                                                               civil disobedience. On the other hand, he
because of the 20-month strike and the                                                                                                                 upheld them. There wasn’t any consisten-
subsequent, ongoing lockout. The appeal                                                                                                                cy in the decision.”
to the full National Labor Relations Board                                                                                                                 One of the 37 was Kate DeSmet, a
means it could be months, or longer,                                                                                                                   reporter at the Detroit News for 17
before employees know whether they’ll                                                                                                                  years. Defying logic, the company fired
get their jobs back.                                                                                                                                   her three times during the strike. She has
    The order, from an NLRB administra-            Union activists staged a sit-down protest in August 1996 that led to arrests. Striking Detroit      no intention of giving up the fight.
tive law judge, instructed Gannett Co. and         Newspapers Inc. employees who were fired afterwards have been ordered to be reinstated by an NLRB       “I said to a union officer when we had
Knight-Ridder Inc. to pay back salaries and        administrative law judge.The newspapers are appealing.                                              just walked out that I felt I was born for
benefits with interest, remove references                                                                                                              this moment,” DeSmet said. “I’d been so
to the discharges from personnel files and         after two legal victories in December —           and start our lives again.”                       disgusted with the way journalism was
post notices announcing the decision and           the judge’s ruling and an arbitrator’s deci-          Rusnell was one of hundreds of work-          going, so disgusted with Gannett, so dis-
promising not to violate employees’ rights.        sion. “I was vindicated twice,” he said. “I       ers who took part in a sit-down protest           gusted with editors. I was flying high. I
    Linda Foley, president of The Newspaper        thought my family could get back on track         in front of the Detroit News building on          thought,‘Now I have a voice.’”
Guild-CWA, said the ruling,“proves once
again the Detroit newspapers will violate
the law in order to achieve their goal of
busting the union.”                                European Unions Join Call for Scrutiny of Sprint/MCI WorldCom Merger
     The companies were ordered by a
unanimous NLRB ruling in August 1998 to



                                                   C
                                                            WA and unions abroad are turning         nications industry, for workers of the two        to protect their livelihoods.”
reinstate all fired employees but have
                                                            up the heat on the proposed $115         companies and for European consumers,”               CWA International Affairs Director
refused. Nearly 600 workers are still illegal-
                                                            billion merger of MCI WorldCom           said Philip Boyer, UNI deputy general sec-        Eduardo Diaz said UNI has encouraged
ly locked out. The strike involved six unions
                                                            and Sprint, as the deal faces increas-   retary.                                           thousands of European workers to express
representing nearly 2,500 employees.
                                                   ing scrutiny by the Federal Communications            In an editorial drafted for European          their concerns through letters to their
    CWA Vice President Bill Boarman, who
                                                   Commission and the European Union.                newspapers Jan. 14, Bowyer pointed out            elected representatives in the European
heads the Printing Sector, said the compa-
                                                       Union Network International, repre-           that the merger would thwart competition          Parliament, urging them to demand from
ny has appealed every decision that’s gone
                                                   senting 15 million members in 920 unions          by combining Europe’s largest Internet            the commission “a full and comprehensive
against it. “It’s time for them to accept
                                                   worldwide — including CWA — has                   backbone, owned by MCI WorldCom, with             review of the implications of the merger
responsibility for this travesty and put an
                                                   called upon the European Commission of            its second largest, owned by Sprint.              for Europe’s Internet backbone.”
end to the suffering in Detroit,” he said.
                                                   14 member states to take strong regulato-             “History shows that MCI WorldCom                 They join Sprint employees in the
“Put people back to work and give them
                                                   ry action against the megamerger.                 and Sprint, two avowedly antiunion com-           United States, who, at the urging of CWA
the money they’re due.”
                                                       “Combining these two telecommunica-           panies, will contemplate layoffs after the        Telecommunications Vice President T.O.
    Gary Rusnell, a CWA-represented
                                                   tions giants would be a gigantic step back-       merger,” Boywer said. “Without trade              Moses, are directing similar letters to FCC
printer, hoped that was going to happen
                                                   ward for Europe’s developing telecommu-           union support, employees will be helpless         Chairman William Kennard.
   6     FEBRUARY 2000         CWANews

I
      ssues of importance to working fami-                                                                                                     or about $3,000 below the poverty line
      lies are heating up once again with the                                                                                                  for a family of three. The real value of the
      return of the 106th Congress on Jan.
      24. CWA is pushing for a stronger
                                                 CWA Stakes Out                                                                                minimum wage has been falling steadily,
                                                                                                                                               because sporadic increases have not been
patients’ bill of rights, a raise in minimum                                                                                                   enough to offset decades of inflation. The
wage, and legislation to address the
increasingly widespread misclassification of
                                                   Legislative                                                                                 minimum wage now is worth 21 percent
                                                                                                                                               less than it was in 1979, and without an
employees as independent contractors.
    Along with the entire labor movement,
the union is defending against attacks on
                                                    Positions                                                                                  increase, the real value of the minimum
                                                                                                                                               wage will drop to $4.90 by 2001.
                                                                                                                                                   Also, House and Senate conferees will
overtime pay and efforts to thwart an
ergonomics standard that’s been put out
for public comment.
                                                   With Eye to                                                                                 attempt to resolve the differences
                                                                                                                                               between two health care reform bills
                                                                                                                                               passed in 1999, creating a single bill the
    At the same time, senators and mem-
bers of Congress are staking out positions
on issues like Social Security, Medicare and
                                                   November                                                                                    President can sign. The Bipartisan
                                                                                                                                               Consensus Managed Care Improvement
                                                                                                                                               Act (H.R.2723), introduced by Reps. John
tax cuts, as battle lines are drawn for the
November elections.                                 Elections                                                                                  Dingell (D-Mich.) and Charles Norwood
                                                                                                                                               (R-Ga.), passed 275-151 last fall with
    “You can bet that lawmakers who owe                                                                                                        CWA support. It would ensure that
their seats to big business and the wealthy                                                                                                    health care decisions are made by medical
will come at us on every issue of concern                                                                                                      experts rather than insurance company
to our members,” said CWA Secretary-                                                                                                           bureaucrats. The bill would provide the
Treasurer Barbara Easterling, who heads                                                                                                        161 million Americans enrolled in man-
CWA’s Government Relations program.                                                                                                            aged care plans access to needed special-
“In the short term, we’ll have to mobilize                                                                                                     ists and emergency room services and
to pass or to block legislation, but in         Abraham (Mich.), would have allowed            last session, but that doesn’t mean work-       assurance that doctors and patients can
November we’ll have a much better               employers to exclude from overtime any         ing families won’t face an attack on over-      openly discuss treatment options. It would
opportunity: to elect Al Gore President of      bonus payments made to employees. By           time pay and worker issues in the new           also set up an appeals process for denials
the United States, along with a more            reconfiguring their compensation systems,      session. Nor was this Congress’s first          of service and legal redress for injury or
union-friendly Congress.”                       employers could significantly reduce over-     attempt to cut overtime pay. Both House         death due to refusal to supply care.
    CWA will actively pursue legislation to     time payments, while still requiring           and Senate measures have been proposed              In conference, the bill must be recon-
prevent employers from misclassifying           employees to work the additional hours.        to restrict overtime pay to hours exceed-       ciled with a weaker Senate version that
workers as independent contractors. The         This amendment was approved by a 54-44         ing 80 within a two-week period.                contains more restrictive patient protec-
Independent Contractor Clarification Act        vote, with 44 Democrats opposing.                  Working fulltime at the minimum             tions and offers no expanded right to sue
of 1999 (H.R.1525), sponsored by Reps.             The House didn’t act on the measure         wage, a worker earns just $10,712 a year,       health care providers.
Gerald Kleczka (D-Wis.) and Amo
Houghton Jr. (R-N.Y.), would prevent
employers from denying workers the
umbrella of protections that an employer-
employee relationship confers.
                                                RSI Day Aims to Curb Workplace Injuries
    Microsoft workers represented by



                                                U
WashTech-CWA, some NABET-CWA TV                          nion leaders in at least 13 coun-     Employees, said the idea of an RSI day was
production crews, translators and inter-                 tries are calling attention to the    conceived by an injured Canadian activist. An
preters, and members of the Musicians’                   problem of repetitive strain          international planning committee was estab-
union are often treated as independent                   injuries this month by joining in     lished over the past year. The group has set
contractors, earning less and living with-      the first-ever RSI Awareness Day, Feb. 29.     up a website at www.ctdrn.org/rsiday.
out the strong job security protection and         Locals are being encouraged to host             Lichterman suggested locals consider
benefits of employees working under a           events in their communities, or among          bringing in an occupational therapist to
collective bargaining agreement. Freelance      their membership, to help people under-        talk about ergonomics, host discussion
journalists and photographers compete           stand what RSI injuries are and how they       forums or join with other community
for work that would be performed by             can be prevented. “What we’re trying to        activists to put on educational events in
TNG-CWA members, and subcontracting             do is increase awareness, prevent others       their towns.
is a rampant problem in the telecommuni-        from being injured and promote under-              Meanwhile, CWA staff is getting ready
cations industry.                               standing and acceptance for those with         to testify in support of a proposed                OSHA is holding three public hearings
    Minimum wage and overtime pay are           RSI,” said Joan Lichterman of UPTE/CWA         Occupational Health and Safety                  over the next three months, starting Feb.
two issues left over from the first session     Local 9119 in southern California.             Administration rule that would require          22 in Washington, D.C. The others are
of this Congress that will surely return. A        Lichterman, an editor represented by the    employers to correct ergonomic prob-            March 21 in Portland, Ore., and April 11 in
bill backed by CWA and sponsored by             University Professional and Technical          lems in the workplace.                          Chicago.
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) would
have raised the federal minimum wage,

                                                AT&T Backs Down on Threat to ‘800’ DA Service
now $5.15 an hour, by $1 an hour over a
two-year period. But that measure was
amended by the Republican-dominated
Senate. The Senate attached a “poison



                                                A
pill” measure that coupled a $1 minimum                  T&T has backed away from its          sharp criticism from CWA and from con-          tance and Internet-based directory ser-
wage increase over three years with a                    attempt to eliminate toll-free        sumer and public interest groups.               vices showed that these alternatives took
plan to allow employers to cut workers’                  directory assistance service, a big   Opponents cited hardships the move              longer than AT&T’s service and produced
overtime pay.                                            victory for CWAers who have           would cause to millions of people not           faulty results more than half the time.
    The Senate Republican plan would have       been fighting to protect operator jobs and     connected to the Internet — especially             “Universally accessible toll-free directo-
affected 73 million workers eligible for        preserve this important customer service.      the poor and the elderly — as well as to        ry assistance is a vital resource for con-
overtime pay and would have given                   AT&T had petitioned the Federal            disabled people and others who rely on          sumers, businesses, government and civic
employers new options in classifying            Communications Commission to allow it          the operator-provided service.                  organizations,” CWA told the FCC.
workers’ earnings. The amendment, intro-        to discontinue the operator-provided              In a CWA filing to the FCC, the union        “There is no reasonable substitute in the
duced by GOP Sens. Pete Domenici                “800” number directory assistance and          noted that a test of 411 directory assis-       marketplace.”
(N.M.), Rick Santorum (Pa.) and Spencer         shift that data to the Internet.This drew
                                                                                                                                  CWANews                                          FEBRUARY 2000            7




Manchester Guild a Step Ahead in Telecommuting Debate

A
         New Hampshire newspaper has                                                                                                                             to be available by phone during working
         the solution to the controversy                                                                                                                         hours.
         over a Labor Department letter                                                                                                                             But he said the union’s research indi-
         suggesting employers are liable for                                                                                                                     cated home-based workers may put in
job-related injuries suffered by home-                                                                                                                           more time than office-based employees,
based workers:                                                                                                                                                   “possibly because they feel some guilt
    Negotiate.                                                                                                                                                   about being at home.” In that respect, he
    While some members of Congress and                                                                                                                           said the union was wary, not wanting
businesspeople flew into an uproar over                                                                                                                          employees to violate the contract by
the “letter of interpretation” from the                                                                                                                          working uncompensated hours.
Occupational Safety and Health Administra-                                                                                                                          The federal controversy started when
tion, the Manchester Newspaper Guild,                                                                                                                            The Washington Post broke a story Jan. 4
TNG-CWA Local 167, can point to an                                                                                                                               about a letter OSHA sent to a Texas busi-
innovative contract that allows telecom-                                                                                                                         nessman, who raised questions about his
muting under rules acceptable to the                                                                                                                             responsibility for home-based workers.
union and management.                                                                                                                                               OSHA’s response wasn’t new policy,
    “When we proposed it to the compa-                                                                                                                           rather an informal advisory, Labor
ny, they balked a little at first,” said Tom                                                                                                                     Secretary Alexis Herman said. The letter




                                                                                                                                                 Dexter Pierce
Thibeault, the local’s chief negotiator for                                                                                                                      said employers could be liable for work-
the 1998 contract with the Manchester                                                                                                                            related injuries at home but stopped
Union Leader newspaper. “But we point-           Veteran reporter Pat Hammond is shown at her home office, allowed under unique telecommuting                    short of saying companies needed to
ed out the advantages and they saw that it       language in The Newspaper Guild’s contract with the Manchester Union-Leader.                                    inspect an employee’s home work area.
could give them flexibility, too. They                                                                                                                              Herman withdrew the letter the day
decided it was worthwhile.”                                                                                                                                      after the Post story ran, saying she will
    The union and company agreed to a            provision for job sharing and a 35-hour           said,“they didn’t, even from the beginning,                   convene a conference of business and
three-year pilot program. All parties —          work week.                                        get their back up about it or say,‘This is                    labor leaders and set up an interagency
the employee, company and Guild —                   Local President John Whitson said              ridiculous.’ They seemed to see that the                      task force to study the issue.
must agree to the terms of the telecom-          union leaders aren’t surprised that more          way work life and family life overlap, it                        “We acknowledge . . . that employers
muting arrangement, which is worked out          people haven’t taken advantage of                 could allow people to work and live their                     are responsible for employee safety and
on a case-by-case basis. The contract lan-       telecommuting — yet. “We were looking             lives in a less stressful way.”                               health, but we don’t know what that
guage is believed to be the first of its kind    more toward the future and where tech-                Whitson said the company wanted to                        means and how that applies to these new
in CWA.                                          nology is going,” he said.                        ensure that “they were going to get work                      work arrangements in the home today,”
    The contract specifies that the work            Even though the company didn’t imme-           out of the employees” at home, and                            she said. “That is why we need a national
station must be ergonomically correct,           diately embrace the proposal,Whitson              inserted language requiring the employee                      dialogue on this subject.”
one that is satisfactory to the joint union-
management safety committee. Under
the contract, the company is responsible
through Workers’ Compensation if the
employee is injured in the designated area
during scheduled work hours. The com-
                                                 Celebrating Dr.King’s Legacy
pany isn’t liable for injuries suffered by
family members or visitors.
    The newspaper had tried telecommut-
ing, successfully, since 1996 with a
reporter who lives 90 miles from the
paper. Pat Hammond made a pitch to
work at home when complications from
breast cancer surgery caused one arm to




                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Johnny A. Knox
swell, forcing her to spend four hours a
day on a machine designed to relieve the
condition.
    Hammond, 69, works on the Union                                                                                                                              Across the country, from Seattle to Miami to
Leader’s Sunday News and comes to the                                                                                                                            Washington, thousands of union members gath-
office on Saturday. Otherwise she works                                                                                                                          ered to remember Dr. Martin Luther King and to
on a laptop at home, talking to her editor                                                                                                                       build on his call for social and economic justice.
about once a day. “It’s a very simple arrange-                                                                                                                   Atlanta — Dr. King’s home and the focus of his
                                                                                                                                                                 ministry at Ebenezer Baptist Church — was again
ment,” she said, adding “Oh, my gosh, yes,”                                                                                                                      the site of numerous events and activities for par-
when asked if she’d recommend it.                                                                                                                                ticipants seeking to advance civil rights. Members
    Hammond’s experience led the Guild to                                                                                                                        of CWA Locals 3263, 3204, 3250 and CWA staff
seek the new contract. Although she is the                                                                                                                       joined community service projects, civil rights
only employee now working at home,                                                                                                                               teach-ins, a town hall meeting at Clark University
                                                                                                                                                                 that included scholars, students and members of
Thibeault said another worker did so for a                                                                                                                       the Congressional Black Caucus, a church service
short period when a family member was ill,                                                                                                                       and labor prayer breakfast. The events were orga-
rather than take vacation or unpaid leave.                                                                                                                       nized by the AFL-CIO, the Atlanta labor council and
    Telecommuting isn’t limited to reporters;                                                                                                                    CWA activists. CWAers sorted and distributed
any job that can be done at home can be                                                                                                                          donated clothing for children, and members of
                                                                                                                                                                 Local 3204 shuttled residents to and from the
considered. The local represents 170                                                                                                                             march on Jan. 17. Above, Rep. Maxine Waters
members in editorial, advertising, circula-                                                                                                                      (D-Calif.) leads discussion at the town hall meet-
tion, janitorial, accounting and data pro-                                                                                                                       ing. From left, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.,) Waters,
cessing. Past negotiations have yielded                                                                                                                          Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), and Rep. Cynthia
other worker-friendly language, including a                                                                                                                      McKinney (D-Ga.).
   8     FEBRUARY 2000         CWANews
Union Fights Merger, Saves Jobs                                                                                                                  PBS station would cover 41, thinning out
                                                                                                                                                 state-mandated services to local school
                                                                                                                                                 districts, among other losses, NABET-

At Binghamton PBS Station                                                                                                                        CWA Staff Representative Bill Murray said.
                                                                                                                                                     “The union gave the community an
                                                                                                                                                 outlet,” Murray said. “A commercial
                                                                                                                                                 merger, you can’t fight. But a PBS station



I
     t was late September 1999 and union                                                                                                         belongs to the public. The community has
     leaders from NABET-CWA Local 26                                                                                                             put money into it for years and they
     had been summoned by management                                                                                                             should have a say in what happens to it.”
     from WSKG, the public broadcasting                                                                                                              In December, long after the two sta-
station in Binghamton, N.Y.                                                                                                                      tions’ boards of directors were supposed
   The news was grim, as union President                                                                                                         to vote on the merger, the deal fell apart.
John Ziller had expected as soon as he                                                                                                           Exactly what happened and why isn’t clear
saw the station’s lawyer arrive. A merger                                                                                                        but Ziller and Murray say they are certain
with a station 70 miles away was in the                                                                                                          the union’s actions played a role. The sta-
works, and WSKG employees were going                                                                                                             tion’s financial situation also improved
to lose their jobs.                                                                                                                              somewhat during the fall, which they said
   “We were pretty much told it was a                                                                                                            may have been a deciding factor.
done deal,” Ziller said. “They said it could                                                                                                         Ziller, who works for the FOX station
happen in a week, or two weeks or a                                                                                                              in Binghamton, which is part of the same
month.”                                                                                                                                          local as WSKG, said many employees “felt
   But it didn’t happen at all, thanks in       Members of NABET CWA Local 26 cele-                                                              like we were sunk” at first and doubted
part to quick, intense pressure from the        brate victory against merger that would have                                                     they could stop the merger. Ultimately, he
union, which covers 15 workers at WSKG.         cost them their jobs.                                                                            said their hard work strengthened the
   “We weren’t about to take this lying                                                                                                          union.
down,” Ziller said. Within days, the union      interviews and distributed thousands of         local programming would be lost, that all            “This kind of thing brings people
was getting its “Stop the Merger” message       postcards for community members to              PBS shows would come via a fiber optic           together,” he said. “In the small amount of
out on billboards and in TV ads, even a         send to station management.                     link from WCNY in Syracuse, N.Y. Instead         time we had, we really got a lot accom-
website. They issued press releases, did           Union members made it clear that             of covering 20 counties, the combined            plished.”




A Day Off to Vote                                                                                                                                and said the state’s job grade system and




T
      he 400,000 members of United
      Auto Workers will have plenty of
      time to cast ballots, drive voters to
the polls and do last-minute lobbying on
Election Day, thanks to a rare benefit
                                                     Spotlight
                                                 Labor & Economic News Across the Country
                                                                                                                                                 pay structure badly need to be over-
                                                                                                                                                 hauled. Kentucky workers are far behind
                                                                                                                                                 their peers in other states, he said.
                                                                                                                                                     Workers should be prepared for a
                                                                                                                                                 fight, however. Kentucky House Speaker
                                                                                                                                                 Jody Richards, a Democrat, and Senate
                                                                                                                                                 President David Williams, a Republican,
negotiated by union leaders last year.
                                                                                                                                                 said they don’t expect legislative support
    The UAW is getting a paid holiday on
                                                there were 268 billionaires and 34.5 peo-       unfettered access to U.S. borders.               for collective bargaining.
Election Day this year and in 2002. Most
                                                ple in poverty.                                     Teamsters and members of the
of the workers are in Michigan and Ohio,
                                                    The economy remains as divided as it’s      Amalgamated Transit Union persuaded
states that have played a pivotal role in
                                                been since the pre-Depression days of the       members of Congress to ask President             Union Beats Wal-Mart
recent presidential elections.
    UAW President Stephen Yokich told
                                                1920s: One percent of the country’s
                                                households have more wealth than the
                                                                                                Clinton to keep the border closed, citing
                                                                                                concerns about American jobs, as well as
                                                                                                                                                 In Las Vegas
The New York Times that the union’s goal
                                                bottom 95 percent combined, researchers         health and safety. Unlike the United

                                                                                                                                                 W
is to elect more candidates who care                                                                                                                       al-Mart, infamous for fighting
                                                said.                                           States, Mexico doesn’t have vehicle main-                  unionization, won’t be able to
about workers’ issues, regardless of their
                                                    “The rising tide has lifted the yachts to   tenance standards, a safety rating system                  build a “SuperCenter” in Las
political party. He said the union will
                                                tremendous heights, but many Americans          or restrictions on the number of hours a         Vegas, thanks to the efforts of the United
encourage members to vote, and not
                                                are still bailing out their boats after         trucker can drive. Federal officials say         Food and Commercial Workers.
treat the time off as an extra vacation day.
                                                decades of sinking real wages and wealth,”      Mexican trucks will continue to be                   The union led a community campaign
“It’s not a holiday,” he said. “It’s a day to
                                                the group said. “Average workers are            restricted to specific U.S. border commer-       against the discount giant, which would
show you’re a good American citizen.”
                                                earning less, adjusted for inflation, than      cial zones until Mexico addresses U.S.           have sold groceries — in addition to
    A 1995 study by the Bureau of
                                                they did a quarter-century ago. The             safety concerns.                                 everything else under the sun — at the
National Affairs found that only 6 percent
                                                lifeboats of homeless shelters and food                                                          proposed store. Wal-Mart tried to per-
of the country’s unionized workers had
                                                banks are overflowing with people caught
half or all of the day off on Election Day.
                                                in the undertow.”                               Governor Bucks Politics,                         suade residents that food prices go down
                                                                                                                                                 in towns where SuperCenters go up, but a
                                                    The study,“Divided Decade; Economic         Backs Unions                                     study by the Nevada Council of Senior
Rags and Riches                                 Disparity at the Century’s Turn,” is avail-
                                                able on the Internet at www.stw.org.
                                                                                                                                                 Citizens disproved the claim.
                                                                                                                                                     “Wal-Mart destroys jobs, neighbor-

                                                                                                K
                                                                                                        entucky Gov. Paul Patton got a chilly


T
      he 1980s were supposed to be the                                                                  reception from state politicians after   hoods and businesses,” said Rebecca West,
     “greed” decade, but the number of
     billionaires in the United States
                                                Road Safety Warriors                                    he called on them to support collec-
                                                                                                tive bargaining for public employees.
                                                                                                                                                 president of UFCW Local 711.
                                                                                                                                                     Wal-Mart’s problems don’t end in Las
soared in the 1990s. So did the number                                                              “If a majority of the employees of any       Vegas. In January, the U.S. Supreme Court


                                                A
                                                       grassroots campaign by union mem-
of people living in poverty.                                                                    public employer want a union, then, just         let stand a lower court decision finding
                                                       bers has helped bar unsafe Mexican
     According to United for a Fair                                                             like in the private sector, they ought to        Wal-Mart liable for the racial harassment
                                                       trucks from U.S. highways.
Economy, an independent, nonpartisan                                                            have the right to one,” Patton said in his       of a Hispanic contractor — a $300,000
                                                   Under provisions of the North
research group, the country had 61 bil-                                                         “State of the Commonwealth” speech in            verdict. In another case, the U.S. Court of
                                                American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),
lionaires in 1989 and 31.5 million people                                                       January.                                         Appeals upheld a $157,000 judgment
                                                restrictions on Mexican trucks and buses
living below the poverty line. Last year,                                                           Patton, a Democrat, called for a bill giv-   against the company for denying work to
                                                were to be lifted Jan. 1, allowing them
                                                                                                ing public workers the right to unionize         a man with a prosthetic arm.
                                                                                                                                                      CWANews                                FEBRUARY 2000            9




Eugene Guild Fighting Company’s
Union-Busting Tactics

A
         year after the negotiating team for      they’re fighting every step of the way.
         The Newspaper Guild in Eugene,               “I think maybe they thought we’d just
         Ore., started to bargain a new           fold up, get frustrated and cave in,” chief
         contract with The Register-Guard,        negotiator Lance Robertson said. “It’s not
every major issue is still on the table.          going to happen.”
   Maybe that’s not surprising, considering           No one from the Baker family, owners
the proposal from the family-owned news-          of the 76,000-circulation paper, will come
paper amounts to nothing but take-backs:                                                                               Members of The Newspaper Guild-CWA in Eugene, Ore., after the Eugene Celebration parade.Their
                                                  to the bargaining table. Instead, Guild
                                                                                                                       entry featured a Humvee made of refrigerator boxes painted to look like the costly vehicle the company
A pay freeze for advertising employees, a         negotiators have stood firm against a                                bought to promote its website.
pay cut for beleaguered circulation work-         union-busting lawyer from Tennessee and
ers, changes that would lead to more part-        a human resources director who has                                       “We haven’t even bargained all the items         notice inviting colleagues to a barbeque.
time workers at less pay, and language that       defied a National Labor Relations Board                              in the contract,” Robertson said. “There’re          Union materials, which had been quietly
would cripple, if not kill, the Guild.            ruling.                                                              probably close to 20 items in their proposal         distributed for years by workers on their
   It’s a bleak situation for the 155-mem-            “For 53 years, we’ve had a fairly good                           and ours that we haven’t talked about.”              breaks, were barred.
ber Guild,TNG-CWA Local 194. But                  relationship with the Baker family,”                                     Still, the mediator agreed to step in. He            The NLRB sided with the union and, in
                                                  Robertson said. “This is a major departure                           met with the two sides, taking proposals             a settlement, the company agreed to rescind
                                                  from anything the Guild has seen before                              back and forth, for two days in December.            the policy. But the human resources direc-
                                                  at the bargaining table. The hiring of an                            Another round is scheduled Feb. 3-4.                 tor reinstated it last August as the union
                                                  outside negotiator like (Michael) Zinser,                            Robertson said the only sign of progress             was mobilizing against the company’s bar-
                                                  who has a reputation for breaking unions,                            was the company’s reluctant agreement to             gaining tactics. An unfair labor practice
                                                  is a clear indication of where the company                           create a committee of circulation workers            complaint is pending against the company.
                                                  wants to go.”                                                        and managers to review the company’s                     “This is a business that prides itself on
                                                      It’s not as if the company were broke,                           proposal for performance-based pay,                  protecting the First Amendment, protect-
                                                  or even close, Robertson said. The news-                             which starts with an 8-percent pay cut.              ing free speech,” Robertson said. “And
                                                  paper’s publisher has boasted about the                                  The company has been so petty that               here they are trying to stifle it — not just
                                                  paper’s profits and the family has started                           some Guild negotiators are being forced to           stifle it, but eliminate it.”
                                                  new business ventures — a fancy high-rise                            take vacation days or unpaid time to bar-                The union has taken issues public,
                                                  apartment building downtown and a $50                                gain. In December, the company docked a              starting with an entry in the annual
                                                  million business park near the company’s                             day’s pay for two negotiating team mem-              Eugene Celebration parade last
                                                  $40 million new offices.                                             bers, even though both had made up the               September. The Guild has followed up
                                                      The Guild has been so tough that the                             hours. The Guild is filing a grievance.              with speeches to community groups, radio
                                                  company took the unusual step of asking a                                The union is also fighting a no-solicita-        talk show appearances and, recently, a
                                                  federal mediator to intervene — unusual,                             tion policy the company first used, illegally,       radio ad produced by CWA.
                                                  because mediators generally aren’t                                   to thwart the Guild during a campaign in                 “The community support has been
Bill Bishop, a past president of TNG-CWA Local    brought in unless the two sides have                                 1997 to organize part-time employees.                great,” Robertson said. “We’ve had enor-
194, donned a devil’s costume for a city parade   talked over every issue and can’t come to                            Under the policy, employees couldn’t so              mous response from other labor unions,
last fall to represent the union-busting lawyer   agreement on specific points.                                        much as circulate a get-well card or post a          politicians and everyday citizens.”
hired by The Register-Guard newspaper.



County Trying to Fire Worker for Leaving During Bomb Threat

C
         lerical worker Brenda Hicks didn’t           “The county has decided that the issue                           Others called the union and got similar              hours combing the building. The threat
         worry at first when she saw more         isn’t their callous disregard of the safety of                       advice but have testified that they didn’t           was called in about 8:30 a.m. and the
         sheriffs’ deputies than usual roam-      the workers and the public entering the                              go because they feared retribution. Hicks            search was continuing when Hicks left at
         ing the Burlington County, N.J.,         building,” said John Lazzarotti, president of                        said she learned that another boss came              10:40 a.m.
Courthouse last Nov. 3. Then a supervi-           the Burlington County branch of 1034.                                into the records area after she left and                Six days after the incident, she was
sor told her why they were there.                 “The issue is that they’re the boss and the                          “was ranting and raving that he was going            notified in writing that she faced discipli-
    “They’re looking for a bomb,” the             union isn’t going to tell the workers when                           to fire or discipline anyone who left.”              nary action and could be fired. The mat-
woman told Hicks, a member of CWA                 they can leave the building.”                                            The threat was a hoax, but it was the            ter is before a county hearings officer,
Local 1034 in southern New Jersey.                    Hicks was the only worker who left.                              first such call to the courthouse in three           who has met with the parties twice. A
    “They’re doing what?” Hicks remem-                                                                                 years. Lazzarotti said managers acted too            third hearing was scheduled for Jan. 7, but
bers saying, her heart pounding. “Why are                                                                              quickly in deciding that no one was at               the county asked for a postponement.
we still here?”                                                                                                        risk. “Brenda Hicks exercised better judg-              In the meantime, the union has filed
    The supervisor said no one was                                                                                     ment that anyone else that day,” he said.            two grievances that the county has agreed
allowed to leave, but suggested Hicks call                                                                             “The county should have decided to evac-             to arbitrate. The first is on behalf of all
the union and get its position. A union                                                                                uate the building, instead of deciding that          CWA-represented employees, charging
officer told her she had the right by con-                                                                             they knew better than anyone else.”                  that the county violated their right to a
tract to a safe and healthy workplace,                                                                                     Hicks said she’d never been through a            safe work environment by failing to evacu-
meaning she could leave if she wasn’t                                                                                  bomb threat and was scared, for herself              ate. The second grievance stems from the
comfortable staying.                                                                                                   and the 6-year-old daughter she is raising           county’s refusal to give Hicks holiday pay
    She did. And the county wants to fire                                                                              alone. “I was a nervous wreck walking                (time and a half), for Election Day, the day
                                                                                               Philadelphia Inquirer




her for it.                                                                                                            home,” she said. “I was so worked up, I              before the threat.
    Outraged union leaders are vigorously                                                                              was nauseous.”                                          Hicks said the incident illustrates how
backing Hicks in an ongoing disciplinary                                                                                   She noted that while managers claim to           important a union is. “The union has
hearing, and have filed two grievances                                                                                 believe the threat was a hoax from the               backed me 100 percent,” she said. “That’s
related to the incident.                          Brenda Hicks                                                         beginning, deputies spent more than two              something I feel really good about.”
   10     FEBRUARY 2000           CWANews

Census Needs Help for Accurate Count                                                                                                                        Questions about Census
                                                                                                                                                            2000? Want to work as a

C
          ` ounting heads in an urban high
            rise or suburban cul-de-sac isn’t                                                                                                               census taker?
            the challenge of Census 2000.
               The real work is finding the                                                                                                                 Check the Census Bureau’s website
homeless family living in a broken-down                                                                                                                     at www.census.gov or call one of the
car, the migrant farm worker moving from                                                                                                                    12 regional offices:
job to job, the John Doe in a hospital
ward or a prison cell.                                                                                                                                      Atlanta ......................404-331-0573
    It’s an epic task, the federal govern-            community of young families may need                 of the 860,000 temporary census jobs.            Boston ......................617-424-4977
ment’s largest peacetime undertaking, and             funds for schools, another area may need             Much of the work can be done part-time           Charlotte..................704-344-6624
its results will help set the country’s politi-       services for seniors or job programs for             on nights and weekends. The jobs will            Chicago ....................312-353-9759
cal agenda for the next decade. CWA is                native Spanish speakers                              generally last four to six weeks and pay         Dallas ........................214-655-3060
encouraging members to take part.                        Census data is published collectively             $8.25 to $18.50 an hour, depending on a          Denver ......................303-231-5029
    “We proudly endorse and support the               and anonymously. Federal law bars the                community’s prevailing wage rate.                Detroit ......................248-967-9524
U.S. Census Bureau’s plan for a complete              Census Bureau from sharing specific                      Prospective workers must take a 30-          Kansas City ............816-801-2020
and accurate count in Census 2000,”                   answers with anyone, including immigra-              minute test with 28 questions measuring          Los Angeles ............818-904-6522
CWA President Morton Bahr said.                       tion officers, the IRS, courts, police and           skills, abilities and knowledge required by      New York City ......212-620-7702
“Especially important to us is a full enu-            the military.                                        various census positions.                        ..................................................or 7703
meration of the poor and minority popu-                  A resolution supporting Census 2000                   “It’s a comfortable, pleasant job,” said     Philadelphia ..........215-597-8312
lations that have been traditionally under-           was passed at the 61st annual CWA con-               Don Bishoff, a retired member of The             Seattle ......................206-553-5882
counted.”                                             vention in July, urging members to cooper-           Newspaper Guild-CWA Local 194, in
    The census, done every 10 years,                  ate with the count by returning census               Eugene, Ore., who was hired last fall to
decides how many seats a state gets in the            forms by April 1, two weeks after they’re            verify addresses for the upcoming count.
U.S. House of Representatives and can be              scheduled to be delivered nationwide. If             “You kind of work at your own pace, with
used to draw new lines for electoral dis-             forms aren’t back by April 26, census                informal quotas. I certainly enjoyed it.”      day he spent more than two hours trying
tricts, based on population. The results              workers will start knocking on doors.                    Bishoff said he earned about $8.50 an      to locate a distant home in Oregon’s
also help the government choose where                    The CWA resolution encourages                     hour, plus mileage, confirming that certain    Coast Range. “I think they’re genuinely
and how to spend your tax dollars. A                  members and retirees to apply for some               addresses did — or didn’t — exist. One         trying to find everyone they can,” he said.



Application Deadline Near for CWA College Scholarships

C
        WA’s Joseph Anthony Beirne                    and returned to CWA headquarters by                  advantage of this opportuni-
        Foundation will award 30 scholar-             March 31.                                            ty to win financial assistance
        ships of up to $3,000 for the                    Students engaged in undergraduate and             for college, community col-
        2000-2001 school year to active               graduate work are eligible, including stu-           lege or vocational school,
and retired CWA members, their spouses,               dents who plan careers in education and              to take the first step on
children or grandchildren, or those of                rehabilitation, special education and labor          the road to life long learn-
deceased members. Applications, available             studies.Awards are based on merit.                   ing and a successful, fulfill-
from local presidents, must be completed                 “We encourage young people to take                ing career,” said CWA
                                                                                                           President Morton Bahr.
                                                                                                               Each Beirne scholar-

Proud to be Disgruntled                                                                                    ship is renewable for a
                                                                                                           second year upon
                                                                                                           demonstration of satis-
                                                                                                           factory academic
                                                                                                           progress. In addition,
                                                                                                           the foundation will
                                                                                                           fund second-, third-
                                                                                                           and fourth-year
                                                                                                           awards of Ray
                                                                                                           Hackney scholar-
                                                                                                           ships, as well as
                                                                                                           grants for commu-
                                                                                                           nity and social ser-
                                                                                                           vices training and
                                                                                                           fellowships and internships.
                                                                                                               In 1974, CWA established the Beirne
                                                                                                           Foundation in memory of its founding
                                                                                                           president. The foundation is funded by         secretariat — in South and Central
                                                                                                           contributions from CWA members and             America and the Caribbean. The program
An online magazine has named IBM workers its “Disgruntled Employees of the Year” for an ongoing            locals.                                        was established in memory of a former
effort to organize with the help of CWA. Alliance@IBM/CWA was formed after the company schemed                 For the past 35 years, the Ray Hackney     CWA vice president who traveled exten-
to reduce pension plan benefits for mid-career workers. The Wall Street Journal said the workers’ battle   scholarship program has provided college       sively and worked closely with communi-
not only got IBM to backpedal, but drew national attention to the corporate trend toward cash-balance      funding to CWA members or family as            cations unions in those areas.
pension plans. “Everybody likes to talk about the new economy,” said Daniel S. Levine, editor of           well as to union members or dependents            The Hackney program is being incor-
Disgruntled magazine. But “when it comes to employees fighting for their rights and protecting their
benefits, some ideas from the old economy, such as collective bargaining, still have value today.” The     affiliated with Communications                 porated into the Beirne Foundation pro-
IBM workers are the first group recipient in the award’s five-year history. Above, CWA staff and sup-      International — now part of Union              gram this year, with Communications
porters of IBM workers rally in Washington, D.C.                                                           Network International, a worldwide union       International’s merger with UNI.
                                                                                                                              CWANews                          FEBRUARY 2000         11




Dave Kent, Award-Winning CWA News Staffer, Dies at 61

D
         avid P. Kent, associate editor of the   dinator of the Labor for McGovern cam-           for the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper          He was active in the CWA Staff Union
         CWA News and a union staff              paign, an initiative of several unions includ-   where he was an active Newspaper Guild         and served until recently on the union’s
         member since 1966, died on Dec.         ing CWA that took issue with the AFL-            member.                                        executive committee.
         31, 1999 after a 10-month battle        CIO’s neutral stance in the presidential            A native of St. Joseph, Mo., he attended       Kent is survived by his wife of almost
against lung cancer. He was 61.                  race between Richard Nixon and George            the University of Missouri school of jour-     12 years, Carol Ann Kent, a son, Gregory,
   In 1990, he received the Max Steinbock        McGovern.                                        nalism and took his first newspaper job at     a daughter, Sandra Golden, and three
Award, the top                                      Before joining the CWA staff, Kent            the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram in Ohio in       grandchildren.
feature writing                                  worked from 1961 to 1966 as a reporter           1960.
award of the
International
Labor
Communications
Association., for a
                                                 Retired CWA Representative Frank Lupinacci Dies
two-part CWA



                                                 F
News series on                                          rank Lupinacci, a retired staff repre-    go to work for                                 representative. He was noted for his han-
AT&T’s closing of                                       sentative in District 13 remembered       the company.”                                  dling of grievances, arbitration and bar-
a Radford,Va.                                           as a tough negotiator with a sense            Lupinacci                                  gaining, District 13 Vice President Vince
microelectronics                                        of humor, died Jan. 13 of complica-       served as presi-                               Maisano said.
plant and the shift Kent                         tions from Alzheimer’s Disease.                  dent of FTWP                                       “Frank always had a way about him.
of work to a                                         Lupinacci, who was 74, started work in       Local 43, on the                               He could be as tame and meek as can be,
maquiladora factory in Matamoros,                1947 as an installer for Pennsylvania Bell.      north side of                                  and then be very forceful when the time
Mexico. He described the devastating             From his early days in the Federation of         Pittsburgh. Later,                             was necessary,” he said. “He commanded
impact of the shutdown on the town of            Telephone Workers of Pennsylvania, he            he served as the                               a lot of respect from his colleagues, as
Radford, where workers had earned $9             fought for contracts giving workers basic        Pittsburgh division                            well as the companies he bargained with.”
per hour, and the exploitation of $1-per-        rights. “He used to tell us,‘There are           vice president,                                    Lupinacci was also active politically. He
hour Mexican workers living in shacks            things you wouldn’t believe, that members        one of four                                    served the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO as a vice
with raw sewage running past their door          take for granted today, that we didn’t           FTWP divisions      Lupinacci                  president and acted as the director of the
steps.                                           have,” said his son, Frank Lupinacci Jr., who    set up statewide to                            Committee on Political Education for the
   In 1972, Kent was selected by then-           is retired from Pennsylvania Bell. “I was        govern locals. When the union merged           Pittsburgh Council of the AFL-CIO. He
CWA President Joseph A. Beirne as coor-          very proud of my dad, and very proud to          with CWA in 1984, he became a CWA              retired in 1990.




            CWA                                                                                   bers. They started with small stuff like selling candy to raise money. But when the Local



 Newsmakers                                                                                       2011 Retiree Club three years ago approached Aman about running a bingo operation,
                                                                                                  they got serious. West Virginia law requires that all proceeds from gambling be donated
                                                                                                  to charity, so all proceeds go to veterans’ programs, college and vocational school schol-
                                                                                                  arships and the local United Way. Aman shows up every Friday night to help run the
                                                                                                  operation. Vice President Art Helmick, Secretary Patt Lamp,Treasurer Stella
                                                                                                  Barnett and Steward Debbie Sleeth also contribute time. Says Aman,“Our ultimate
Terry Getty, a retired CWA member with                                                            goal is to be able to award full-tuition scholarships to all our members, retirees or
three decades of union service, has been induct-                                                  dependents. I am determined that we will get there.”
ed into the East Central Iowa/North Western
Illinois AFL-CIO Hall of Fame. Getty, who                                                                              CWA Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Easterling was featured in
worked as an outside technician for US West in                                                                         “Those Who Have Shaped Our Lives,” a special millennium section
Iowa, belonged to Local 7117 from 1967 to 1997,                                                                        in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The section looked at past and pre-
serving as a steward, chief steward, vice presi-                                                                       sent Ohio residents who have made significant contributions to soci-
dent, newsletter editor, safety chairman and com-                                                                      ety, including labor activists. Easterling began her career as a tele-
munity services chairman. Additionally, he served the Quad City Federation of Labor,                                   phone operator in Akron. The article highlighted Easterling’s five
AFL-CIO, as a delegate and board member. Vice President Al Gore came to the pre-                                       decades of union work, including a job in 1970 as chief of the Ohio
banquet reception for Getty and three other retired Quad Cities union members.                                         Labor Division. In 1980, she moved to CWA headquarters as an
House Minority Whip David Bonior (D-Mich.) was the keynote speaker. More than 500                                      assistant to then-President Glenn Watts. “She made history in 1992
people attended the event in Bettendorf, Iowa, Getty’s hometown.                                  when she became the first woman to serve as secretary-treasurer of CWA and again in
                                                                                                  1995 when she became the first woman to win an executive position with the AFL-CIO,
Three-time Olympic sprint kayaker Mike Harbold of CWA Local 2108 in Washington,                   as its secretary-treasurer,” the newspaper reported.
D.C., is on pace to compete once again in next summer’s Olympic Games in Sydney,
Australia. A cable splicer for Bell Atlantic, Harbold was featured in the February 1999           CWA Vice President Bill Boarman, head of the Printing Sector, has
CWA News. Since then, he has qualified for financial assistance and flexible scheduling           been appointed to a second term on the Maryland Commission on
under a special Bell Atlantic program to aid Olympic athletes, and his local union has            Judicial Disabilities, which oversees the conduct of the state’s 300
helped with fund-raising to allow him to maintain his grueling training schedule and travel       judges. Boarman was reappointed by Gov. Parris Glendening, who
to world-class competitions. Harbold made the U.S. National Team this year in a double            originally asked him to serve three years ago when the 11-seat com-
kayak, and he and partner Phillipe Boccara went as far as the semifinal in the 1,000 meter        mission was opened to five members of the public. Previously, only
events this summer at the World Championships in Milan, Italy.They will compete in the            judges and lawyers held seats. The commission reviews complaints
Olympic team trials beginning in May. The U.S. will field one single, one double and one          against judges around issues of ethics, impartiality and courtesy.
4-man sprint kayak in the men’s events at the 2000 Olympics.                                      Boarman said it’s hard at times “because I’ve spent all my life as an
                                                                                                  advocate for the worker, and now I sit as a disciplinarian.” But he said he never loses
CWA Local 2011 started a scholarship fund 10 years ago with small fund raisers and                sight of the “human side” of an issue. “Because I’m not a boss, not a businessman, not a
presented $500 awards to the children of just two members. A decade of hard work by               lawyer or judge, and I’ve been on the other side of the table, I think I help the commis-
President Linda Aman and the executive board and — bingo — the Clarksburg,W.Va.                   sion understand the problems of the individual on the job,” he said. In addition to
local closed out 1999 with 59 scholarships presented to dependents of its 248 mem-                monthly meetings, Boarman serves as chairman of the commission’s budget committee.
   12     FEBRUARY 2000           CWANews

Picking Up the Pieces
By Janelle Hartman
                                                                                                                     Hurricane Victim

T
        he flash flood that turned Albert                                                                            Getting ‘Back To
        Gomalka’s neighborhood into a
        deadly, diseased, putrid-smelling,                                                                            Normal Living’
        mud-covered landfill seemed like
the type of catastrophe that strikes far-
                                                                                                                       With Help
away countries.                                                                                                        From CWA
    But this was Bound Brook, N.J., popula-
tion 11,000, middle-class America. Or it                                                                                                                     Albert and Shelley Gomolka
had been before Hurricane Floyd turned
its fierce rains on the eastern seaboard
last September.                                                                                                                                                  “God let me collect baseball cards for
    Gomalka, a New Jersey state park                                                                                                                         45 years,” he said. “Now I’m giving them
superintendent represented by CWA                                                                                                                            back to Him.”
Local 1037, remembers it in vivid detail:                                                                                                                        Gomalka knew the collection wouldn’t
The first floor of his house filling with                                                                                                                    be covered in the event of a flood, but he
water in just 15 minutes. His family                                                                                                                         never expected that to be a problem. His
scrambling to safety upstairs. Ruined cars                                                                                                                   house is on an incline, nearly a mile from
floating down the street. The deafening                                                                                                                      the Raritan River. Bound Brook has flood
racket from rescue boats and helicopters.                                                                                                                    warnings five or 10 times a year, he said,
                                                      One day after the flood, waters are still high but receding.                                           but the problem is downtown. In his
                                                                                                                                                             neighborhood “we’d never had even a few
                                                                                                              to dig through the foul mess.                  inches of water, let alone a flood.”
                                                                                                                 “You just have to start, inch by inch,          He urges people to know exactly what
                                                                                                              hauling everything out,” he said, describing   their insurance policies will and won’t
                                                                                                              the scene. “There weren’t even garbage         cover, and cautioned that emergencies
                                                                                                              bags. All the stores were sold out. There      declared “national disasters” give insur-
                                                                                                              were piles of junk 40 feet high in the         ance companies all sorts of ways to wiggle
                                                                                                              street.”                                       out of their obligations. He got $221
                                                                                                                 The piles included Gomalka’s massive        from his homeowner’s policy and $5,000
                                                                                                              baseball card collection, which he’d stored    from the flood policy. His mortgage
                                                                                                              in his cellar. He started saving cards when    required the policy, which cost him up to
                                                                                                              he was 3 years old and said Sports             $1,000 a year.
                                                                                                              Collectors’ Bible had named his collection         He is enormously thankful for the help
                                                                                                              one of the “300 greatest” in the world.        from CWA and individual members. “I
                                                                                                              He planned to help finance his boys’ col-      can’t begin to express my gratitude for
                                                                                                              lege education with some of the cards and      the support and caring from my fellow
Piles of garbage, destroyed appliances and ruined furniture on Gomolka’s street were still being cleaned      open a collector’s store for his retire-       brothers and sisters in the union,” he said.
up weeks after the flood.                                                                                     ment. But he’s managed to be philosophi-       “They’re helping us get back to normal liv-
                                                                                                              cal about the loss.                            ing.”
Hundreds of spotlights that made the                  for $1,500, the maximum available from
midnight sky look like high noon.                     CWA’s Disaster Relief Fund.




                                                                                                              Feedback
    It was even worse when the waters                      “When I found out, I almost dropped.
receded the next morning. Two of                      I said,‘Wow, will that help.’”
Gomalka’s elderly neighbors had drowned.                  Gomalka got the news from his shop
Pets died. Furniture, clothes, appliances             steward, John Keator, who handed over
and keepsakes — notably Gomalka’s 1.5                 the check at a meeting of park superin-
million baseball cards — were destroyed.              tendents, all union members. “I think the
The stench of garbage, sewage and rotting             moment I got to present the check to him
animal carcases was sickening. Bleeding,              was the happiest moment of my union                                                                    impact for which I will always be indebted.
crying people ill with tetanus and other              volunteerism,” Keator said. “We both got                                                                  I am pleased to report that I have been
ailments filled a shelter. Armed National             choked up.”                                                                                            able to maintain Dean’s List status since
Guard officers cordoned off the town.                     In addition to the national’s donation,             Dear Editor,                                   my entry to the school in the fall of 1997.
    “It was like a war zone,” Gomalka said.           local CWA members chipped in another                                                                   My Grade Point Average stands at 3.894,
    Four months later, Gomalka, 48, is still          $1,300 out of their own pockets. One                    I would like to express my sincerest           and I am currently under review for admit-
cleaning and repairing his home and yard.             union colleague brought the family two                  thanks for the scholarships granted to me      tance to the Engineering Honors Society.
He has huge bills from electricians and               loads of furniture.                                     for the 1998-1999 and 1999-2000 school         Once again, thank you for your support.
plumbers. He’s filled out several lifetimes’              Gomalka, overwhelmed by destruction                 years. The Joseph Anthony Bierne
worth of paperwork for a small amount                 and debt, had contacted the union himself               Memorial Foundation Scholarship Program        Peter Snell
of federal aid. He’s been bullied by surly            to ask about disaster relief. Because the               has provided essential financial assistance,   Bogota, New Jersey
insurance agents who seemed to enjoy                  local unit had several members affected by              without which the cost of education
spelling out what his house, car and flood            Hurricane Floyd, Keator said the executive              would be overbearing.                          For information about this year’s scholarships
policies wouldn’t cover.                              board decided to make a $5,000 donation                    I am currently a junior at Rutgers          see page 10.
    In spite of it all, Gomalka feels blessed.        to the Red Cross, which was helping all                 University, the College of Engineering,
He, his wife and their three sons, ages 2, 4          victims.                                                where I am pursuing a degree in the field      The CWA News encourages feedback from
and 9, weren’t hurt. Family in nearby                     Gomalka said it was appropriate, prais-             of Electrical Engineering. I would like to     members. Send letters to: CWA News, 501
communities gave them shelter. The Red                ing the Red Cross for providing hot food,               commend you for the service you provide        Third St., N.W.,Washington, DC 20001, or
Cross gave them meals. And CWA’s                      coffee and cleaning supplies in the neigh-              to students like myself every year. In my      e-mail to jmiller@cwa-union.org. Letters may
national headquarters gave them a check               borhood for a month as residents began                  case, you have made such an incredible         be edited.

				
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