CODE-CWA Newsletter: November 19

CODE-CWA Newsletter: November 19

“I do see this as the potential to really start a movement in the gaming industry in our country. I hope to see it. The hardest part of unionising an industry is just getting that first crack in the dam. Then, it's like a flood.” - Jenny Jarzabski, member and organizer at United Paizo Workers

Around the country and across industries, workers are standing up to demand fair pay and treatment. Activision Blizzard workers staged a second walkout after scathing expose from WSJ exposed CEO Bobby Kotick for covering up numerous reports of sexual harassment and rape allegations. Three New York Times unions—the NYT NewsGuild, Wirecutter Union & NYT Tech Guild—held a large protest outside NYT headquarters. Several hundred people joined the protest. The NewsGuild and Wirecutter Union are demanding fair contracts. The Tech Guild seeks union recognition. Wirecutter workers are also asking readers and supporters not to shop through Wirecutter from Black Friday through Cyber Monday and support the digital picket line unless they reach a fair deal. Show your support here.

And in case you missed it, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver discussed the mechanics of union-busting, while ripping on Amazon and the anti-union tactics other companies use. Fun fact: If unions weren't good for employees, companies wouldn't be utterly terrified of their workers organizing for a living wage and labor protections.

From coast to coast, workers are standing together and demanding more from their employers — and it is working. Over 10,000 John Deere employees have won a landmark bargaining agreement, Volvo employees secured better pay at a truck making plant in Virginia, and CWA healthcare workers in Buffalo, NY have ratified their new contract that includes specific staffing ratios to help keep patients safe! This win comes after 2,000 workers went on strike for 35 days. If you are still unsure or unwilling to organize, we at CWA have one question for you. Are you looking for better working conditions? Reach out. We are ready to help and organize with you.


On November 20, join us for a 12PM PST organizer training where we talk about union basics, the CWA organizing models, and some key ways to connect with co-workers through organizing. You can also attend our class on building a committee on November 27 at 12 PM PST. Check our calendar for future events

Worker News

New York Times Employees Protest Union Busting

“Everywhere I look, management is fighting union members at this company,” said Times Guild Unit Chair, Bill Baker. Over 100 New York Times Workers protested the union busting tactics in the company. The workers comprised members of the Times Guild, the Times Tech Guild, and the WIrecutter Union. Supporters of the Workers were also in attendance. Read more on The New York Times.

Activision Workers Stage Second Walkout, Demand CEO Resign

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick knew about sexual misconduct at the company for years, according to a bombshell report by the Wall Street Journal. Shareholders and employees are speaking out and are demanding Bobby Kotick’s resignation. In a joint letter to the board of directors, shareholders wrote, “In contrast to past company statements, CEO Bobby Kotick was aware of many incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault and gender discrimination at Activision Blizzard, but failed either to ensure that the executives and managers responsible were terminated or to recognize and address the systematic nature of the company’s hostile workplace culture.” The Activision Blizzard shareholders with 4.8 million shares are also asking Brian Kelly, and Robert Mergado — two of the board’s longest serving directors — to resign. Kotic said in a recent letter to employees that the company would take a zero tolerance policy in cases of sexual misconduct and harassment. Now employees are wondering whether that policy applies to the company executives as well, which is why more than 150 employees are walking out again. People feel that for meaningful change to occur, it has to start from the top. A Better ABK tweeted: “We have instituted our own Zero Tolerance Policy. We will not be silenced until Bobby Kotick has been replaced as CEO, and continue to hold our original demand for Third-Party review by an employee-chosen source. We are staging a Walkout today. We welcome you to join us.” Read more on Polygon and The Washington Post.

Wirecutter Workers to Walk Out During Black Friday if Contract Negotiations Stall

After two years of delaying negotiations and unfair labor practices, employees have had enough. Employees want fair compensation and are willing to strike to get it. Over 90% of Wirecutter union members have already voted to strike during Black Friday. “We know what we’re worth; we feel that it’s appropriate for us to, if we have to, demonstrate how worth it we are,” said Katie Okamoto, a writer for Wirecutter. The days surrounding Black Friday comprise the busiest week for Wirecutter, where customers are looking for up to date reviews. By staging a walkout, a lack of fresh content would mean less traffic and ultimately less revenue for the company. The Wirecutter Union is also asking customers to take part in a digital picket line. Specifically, the union is asking customers to boycott Wirecutter on Black Friday if a collective bargaining agreement is not reached by then. Support the Wirecutter Union here. Read more on Bloomberg.

Leaked Audio: Amazon Workers Grill Managers at Anti-Union Meeting

"We are putting the company on our back 10 hours a day...They’re taking time away from our breaks. There is no voice here." The recording is a direct look at the type of messaging that Amazon management is sending workers about unions, which is particularly notable because Amazon successfully thwarted a high stakes unionization effort in Bessemer, Alabama earlier this year. To date, no Amazon facilities in the United States have successfully unionized. Read more on Motherboard.

John Deere Union Workers Ratify New Deal to End Strike

More than 10,000 workers at John Deere will end their month-long strike after the approval of a collective bargaining agreement. This is the third proposal by the company and the 1st to be approved with 61% of union members in favor. The groundbreaking deal also set a precedent for workers all over. As Union president Ray Curry said, ”UAW John Deere members did not just unite themselves, they seemed to unite the nation in a struggle for fairness in the workplace.” The new agreement would grant an $8500 signing bonus, give guaranteed raises of 10% this year, and also give more retirement options. The six year deal would also make employees eligible for healthcare sooner whilst maintaining zero premiums. Read more on Al Jazeera and NBC News.

This Week in History

November 15th 1881 – Founding convention of the Federation of Trades and Labor Unions is held in Pittsburgh. It urges enactment of employer liability, compulsory education, uniform apprenticeship and child and convict labor laws. Five years later it changed its name to the American Federation of Labor.

Song of the Week

Which Side Are You On by the Almanac Singers:

They say in Harlan County

There are no neutrals there

You'll either be a union man

Or a thug for J. H. Claire

Which side are you on, boys?

Which side are you on?