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CWA District 1 Worker Power Newsletter (Issue 3)

Union Organizing is On Fire in the Wake of Big Strikes

UAW, SAG-AFTRA, and the Writers Guild went on strike and won big in 2023, and their momentum has sparked a wave of new union organizing. More union members means a stronger labor movement, and a stronger labor movement means better contracts, wages, and working conditions for all of us.

And it’s not just Hollywood and auto workers who are on the move.

After years of membership decline, workers in different sectors across the country are coming to CWA to get unionized:

  • CWA is organizing thousands of workers who answer calls for Medicaid, Medicare, and Obamacare, mainly in the South. They work for a contractor called Maximus, and last November, over 700 workers walked off the job to protest unfair labor practices and demand that Maximus provide affordable healthcare and livable wages.
  • Last year, Microsoft bought the game manufacturing company Activision (“Call of Duty”). Under terms of an agreement negotiated with CWA, Microsoft pledged to remain neutral when Activision employees expressed interest in joining a union, providing a clear path to collective bargaining for up to 10,000 workers.
  • Over 400 workers at the New Flyer Bus company in Shepherdsville, KY organized last year and ratified a strong first contract this January. That’s on top of another 80 New Flyer workers in Jamestown, NY, who won a union earlier. These victories came under a so-called “card-check recognition agreement” that IUE-CWA reached with the company after a long campaign.

Sources: The American Prospect, 2/1/2024; Mississippi Public Broadcasting, 11/13/2023; IUE-CWA Press Release, 2/7/2023; IUE-CWA Press Release, 9/28/2022. 5., accessed 2/29/2024.

Federal Legislation Creates Millions of Good-Paying U.S. Jobs

President Biden has worked with congressional leaders to pass legislation that eases the burden on working families and helps with costs like healthcare, prescription drugs, and energy bills. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is projected to create 2 million new jobs per year over the next decade, and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) also contains multiple provisions to create good jobs in this country.[1]

Here are a few of the key provisions:

The IRA reduces costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate the best deal possible with drug companies, requiring them to pay an “inflation rebate” if they raise prices more than the rate of inflation, and capping the price of insulin at $35 per month and out of pocket drug costs at $2,000 per year for Medicare beneficiaries.[2]

The Build America, Buy America Act, part of President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, mandates that all taxpayer-funded infrastructure and public works projects use only American iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials.[3]

The IIJA is an historic investment in American workers and manufacturing. It requires that “the overwhelming majority” of its investments are covered by “prevailing wage” laws (Davis-Bacon), which means union scale on all construction projects—protecting wages for workers across the country and creating millions of new good-paying union jobs.[4]

The IRA sets aside $10 billion in tax credits to develop U.S. manufacturing of clean energy supplies, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and refine critical materials. This legislation will create new domestic manufacturing jobs and help break our dependence on unreliable foreign supply chains. America will once again manufacture clean tech at home and become the engine of our energy economy.[5]

Sources: 1. CWA, 12/21/2023; The Verge, 6/26/2023; White House Fact Sheet, 8/3/2021.
2. KFF, 1/24/2023. 3., accessed 2/29/2024. 4. Center for American Progress, 10/27/2022. 5., accessed 2/29/2024.


"As graduate student workers, we’re pretty siloed in our departments. Forming a union made us realize that most of us were experiencing the same issues and that if we came together, we’d be a lot more powerful in fixing them. Organizing wasn’t the end of our fight—we’ve been bargaining our first contract for well over a year. Movement at the bargaining table has been slow, but we’ve seen that getting more members to show up to actions really shifts the tone at the table. After a series of actions, we TA’d one of our top priority articles, an increase in protections for international graduate workers. But we are still miles away on wages and healthcare, so we are keeping up the momentum to fight for that equitable first contract!”

—Nicola F., Fordham University, CWA Local 1104

"As eBay’s first union, TCGunion-CWA has faced a brutal anti-union campaign for the past year. Fighting for what we deserve during one of the largest labor booms in decades has fueled me to continue this fight as an inspiration to new organizers everywhere. I’ve spoken at press conferences, interviewed with reporters, and visited the White House to speak with President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Senator Sanders to shed light on the challenges that organizers face in our struggle. I hope new organizers will stand proudly with their fellow workers and know that we are with you through all the challenges and the triumphs. When we fight, we win!”

—Briana T., TCGplayer, CWA Local 1123

"Here at Blizzard Albany, we have a chance to make history—not only for Blizzard as a whole, but for the entire gaming community. The video game industry feeds off the passion of gamers and makes billions of dollars, but then doesn’t give back to its average workers. We have gotten a seat at the table for our voices to be heard. As part of CWA, Blizzard will have to listen to our voices and offer better wages, better benefits, and better promotion paths for us.”

—Brock D., Activision Blizzard, CWA Local 1118