CODE-CWA Newsletter: May 13

CODE-CWA Newsletter: May 13

“It is my hope that the [Biden] administration continues their support of workers who are organizing to join unions in all industries, and that we are able to take this momentum back to CWA to continue the CODE-CWA campaign. Every worker deserves a union!” - Alex Speidel, United Paizo Workers (CWA) Organizer and Member

From Apple to Starbucks to the video game industry, union organizing has made quite the splash over the past few months and is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Last week the White House invited Alex Spiedel, lead organizer of United Paizo Workers (CWA), and Chris Smalls, lead organizer for Amazon Labor Union for a meeting in the Oval Office with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. The meeting was a show of appreciation for worker-organizers and a message to the American people: The president values and supports the labor movement.

Stepping out of your comfort zone to organize is not easy, and bad conditions alone are not always enough to keep up the momentum. However, standing together with colleagues who have shared experiences and goals on how to improve the workplace can give you the push you need. If companies and execs use union busting tactics to break workers apart, laying a foundation of understanding and communication to form a collective vision beforehand can keep workers together. One of these tactics of solidarity is ‘union drip.’

The term union drip is all about swagger, style and confidence. Practically, this manifests in clothing and attitude. Workers wear similar clothing as a way to find common ground with each other and keep workers together. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used blue jeans as a way to bring working class people of all races together. Workers during the Regan administration used clothing as a way to show defiance. CWA has used union drip for decades to show solidarity. As the CWA website elaborates “Wearing red on Thursdays speaks to other coworkers who may be hesitant to show their solidarity. It says to them, ‘You are not alone, we stand shoulder to shoulder with you, we stand together’!

If you want to improve the conditions at your workplace, waiting for change is not enough. We need to work together and collectively bring a new era for workers. To have a worker revolution, we need to see a labor movement evolution. We at CWA are ready to help and organize with you. Reach out!

Trainings

On Sunday May 15th , join us for an organizer training at 12 PM PST where we talk about union basics, the CWA organizing models, and some key ways to connect with co-workers through organizing. Check the CODE-CWA organizer training program for upcoming classes!

Worker News

Raven Software prepares for union vote following months-long campaign

Game Workers Alliance (CWA) is voting on their union after many months of protest and struggle with Activision management. A few weeks ago the NLRB rejected Activision Blizzard's proposal to include the entire studio in the vote. Activision Blizzard has responded poorly by using Anti-union tactics including a "Please Vote No" graphic that was emailed to employees. “Finally being able to vote yes made all of the hard work we’ve put in over these past five months worth it. The fact that Activision tried so hard to stop our union every step of the way makes it clear that a union is necessary at this company,” said a Raven quality assurance tester. The 28 quality assurance testers will have until the 20th of May to submit their votes. The NLRB office in Milwaukee will announce the results through a video call on the 23rd. Read more on the Washington Post

First US Apple Store union election set for June 2 in Atlanta

Apple employees in an Atlanta store have agreed to hold a union election on the 2nd of June. If successful they will become the first unionized Apple store in the U.S. Over 100 employees are eligible to vote with 70% already having signed authorization cards in favor of an election. The employees— who are organizing with CWA— also released a letter with a list of demands last month. Other Apple stores have also started union drives. In an effort to bust the unions, Apple hired notorious union-busting firm Littler Mendelson, and also tried to postpone the election to July. Read more on The Verge and follow their twitter @Apple_Union

Game company union reps take their case to the White House

The fight to unionize the games industry made it all the way to the White House when United Paizo Workers (CWA) met with the President, VP, and Secretary of Labor inside the Oval Office. The United Paizo Workers (CWA) were delighted by the opportunity to speak about their efforts. “Being able to discuss CWA’s campaign to organize game and tech workers, and to share the incredible work being done by the United Paizo Workers and our team of freelance writers, was truly an honor,” said Alex Spiedel, lead organizer for the United Paizo Workers. Amazon labor organizer Chris Smalls was also at the meeting. Smalls recently testified before the Budget Committee of the Senate with Senator Bernie Sanders also slamming Amazon for their anti-union tactics. Read more on Polygon

“Communicating Directly,” “Partners,” “Values” : Your Guide to New Age, Anti-Union CEO Speak

In today's modern age, CEOs want to seem progressive and accommodating. They make you think they are looking out for you but in reality it is a ruse to hide their true intentions. The modern day CEO has an arsenal of common words and rhetoric that are crafted   with the sole purpose of deceiving you. They talk about the company as family in an effort to alienate unions and think of them as outsiders. They talk about company values to shift discussions away from important concerns that are grounded in reality, to something abstract and non committal. They also refer to employees as partners and team members, even though employees do not get their fair share. The reality is that most CEOs do not want workers and unions to succeed. They want to keep the profits and not share them with the workers who need them the most. If they really cared, workers would not have to worry about paying rent or putting food on the table. And they would not fight back against workers forming a union. Read more on The Column

Leaked Memo Reveals Apple’s Anti-Union Talking Points for Store Managers

In response to three Apple retail stores filing for union elections, including the Atlanta location which has partnered with CWA, Apple has decided to circulate a series of anti-union talking points to store leaders, amid fears that a wave of unionization could break out across its U.S. stores. The talking points instructed managers to tell workers that if they unionize they could face "fewer opportunities," have less "flexibility.” Luckily, workers know these are bold-faced lies used by bosses when they’re shook. The organizing is working and we’re keeping the pressure on. Read more on Vice.

This Week in History


May 15, 1906 – U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Samuel Gompers and other union leaders for supporting a boycott at the Buck Stove and Range Co. in St. Louis, where workers were striking for a nine-hour day. A lower court had forbidden the boycott and sentenced the unionists to prison for refusing to obey the judge’s anti-boycott injunction

Song of the Week

Solidarity Forever by Jane Sapp, Pete Seeger, and Si Kahn

Cover by the Nightwatchman in 2011

When the union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall run

There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun

Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one

But the union makes us strong

Solidarity forever

Solidarity forever

Solidarity forever

For the union makes us strong