Brother and Sisters,
I would like to start by thanking each of you for your continued mobilization in your fight for a fair contract! In the 29 years of my union life, I have never reached a fair contract without a fight or frustration. The current negotiations with the CWA/Orange Mobility contract are like no other in its history. For the first time in the history of this contract, we are faced with the growing use of offshore call centers, authorized resellers and contractors who intend to squeeze us out of employment. This is in conjunction with a company effort to diminish commissions and many other vital working conditions that affect each member daily. We knew this fight would be difficult for a multitude of reasons. The continued corporate attack on unions has left us with less than 7% of the private sector unionized. How does this affect you? One of the most visible way would be if you were to strike for a lengthy time. 93% of the working population would not be there to support you as union members. All other wireless companies are almost wholly non-union. This makes our fight more difficult but let’s not let it diminish our power to fight.
I believe this fight is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s certainly better to pace ourselves rather than sprint to the finish line and find yourself last. We are faced with the most challenging contract in our history. This requires historical patience in today’s world and bargaining climate. To strike now, with no plan to return until an agreement is reached, would be a potential disaster for many of our working families. Why? What do you think it would take to make the company move via a strike? How long? Verizon was 49 days but also keep in mind this was the unit on the street in customers’ homes. How long would a strike last when the company is willing to close stores and shifts calls to vendors? I can’t say for sure but I would believe it may take a few months before public pressure resulted in any resolution. I believe there are many silent members out there who could not withstand this type of strike. Yes, there are vocal ones who say walk now and we will break the company. I believe we must be strategic and militant.
What are you doing to mobilize? What are you doing to stay informed? What can your local and its leaders do to support you while we let the bargaining committee do its job?
Did you hear the town call last night? I am not sure why there was not a Q&A but please email any questions you may have had last night to us and we will see if we can get them answered for you. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Identify your work location and first and last name.
We have the right to fight because we are union. Without the union, the fight would be over and you would only have a single voice that could be muted for any reason. Be proud that you are union and can fight. No union is perfect but I damn well know I would have one rather than not have one. When we fight, we win.
Tim Strong / President CWA 4900