CODE-CWA Newsletter: November 5

CODE-CWA Newsletter: November 5

From Stiketober to Strikesgiving

“Inspired by our tech colleagues in Digital Media, we want to join the movement for greater solidarity at NPR. We are hopeful that our organizing will continue to drive transformational culture change, promote the excellence of our work, and advocate for the implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion best practice.” - We Grow NPR’s Vision Statement

First things first, we want to recognize the amazing organizing happening in the digital and gaming sphere. The staff of NPR’s Communications and Audience Growth divisions have asked for voluntary recognition from management to join the Digital Media Guild, also known as We Build NPR. Workers at Modis, a subcontractor of Google, also flexed their collective power and successfully won hazard pay after the company broke their promise to pay 250 workers at data centers across the country attendance incentive bonuses. In addition, the workers of Image Comics have also formed a union with CWA.

Finally, it seems that Striketober may continue on to Strikesgiving. 10,000 Workers at John Deere have been on strike for three weeks and have rejected the company’s second bargaining agreement. Over 1,400 Kellogg workers, 2,200 catholic health workers, and 500 Frito-Lay are still on strike. In fact, 17,400 US workers went on strike in October alone and there have been 119 union strikes this year. Kaiser Permanente health workers have also authorized a strike to protest a two-tier wage system and understaffing. The strikes are turning into a domino effect with workers being inspired by each other and demanding change.

Many tech companies will try to engage in union busting activities and anti-union campaigns, but the recent strikes show that working together will make the biggest impact. Because of the strikes, Nabisco employees were offered $5,000 bonuses, Hollywood lower-level production workers received a 25% pay increase, and Activision Blizzard has taken a zero tolerance policy on harassment. These are just some of the changes working together has achieved. 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.

Events

On November 6, 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 7 at 12 PM PST. Check our calendar for future events.

Worker News

Audience Growth Division at NPR Unionize with Digital Media Guild

The Digital Media United Guild (DMU) is growing! The staff of NPR’s Communications and Audience Growth divisions are joining DMU. On Tuesday, the communications and audience growth division at NPR announced that they’ve asked NPR management to recognize their connection with DMU. They have also asked for other changes including clear promotion processes, updating of job descriptions, and fair workloads for staff. Read more here.

Google Data Center Workers Successfully Win Hazard pay Following Collective action

Last week, Modis, a company that contracts workers to Google, announced that they were cancelling a $200 weekly attendance incentive bonus that was promised to datacenter workers in September that was supposed to run through December. Many of these workers, who are members of AWU, reached out to their union to organize around this issue. An average of 130 people participated in actions until the company folded on Friday October 29. Because of their collective action, Modis announced that they would be reinstating the bonuses, including past-due bonuses, solidifying a huge win for Modis workers. Read more here.

We, The Workers Of Image Comics, Have Formed A Union.

Workers at Image Comics have formed a union — Comic Book Workers United. Seven members signed a press release announcing the formation of their union and are asking for voluntary recognition. They are being represented by CWA and are hoping this milestone will set an example for all comic book industry professionals. The workers initially took inspiration from image comics’ cofounders because of their equity and self-determination. Image co-founder Jim Valentino also praised the union on social media. Read more here.

Activision Blizzard Ends Forced Arbitration

The ABK workers alliance just had an unprecedented win. After many investigations, lawsuits and walkouts, Activision Blizzard CEO has outlined changes they are implementing in a recent letter to employees. Koitic has promised to end forced arbitration, increase visibility on pay equity, implement a zero tolerance policy in cases of harassment, and increase the number of women and non-binary employees by 50%. The company will also invest $250 million over the next 10 years to foster career opportunities in gaming for under-represented groups. Koitic has also requested that the board reduce his salary to the lowest amount California allows which is $62,500 per year — a huge reduction from the $155 million pay package approved this year. “To be clear, this is a reduction in my overall compensation, not just my salary. I am asking not to receive any bonuses or be granted any equity during this time,” said Koitic in his letter. The ABK workers alliance is asking that investigations be conducted by an unbiased third party, and that other practices such as crunch also be addressed. Read more on Twitter and The Verge.

Workplace Strikes Are Surging. Here’s Why They Won’t Stop.

The pandemic, changing working conditions, and new norms are causing people to reevaluate their positions. Workers are risking their lives, and companies are profiting from it. “People don’t want to go and die at work. I mean, they’re not compensated enough,” said Kim Cordova, president of the 23,000-member United Food and Commercial Workers in Colorado. $4.3 million people also quit their job in August alone, which some economists are attributing to the “Great Resignation” — a term to describe the current situation where people are reevaluating their jobs. As Julia Pollak, a labour economist for the job site ZipRecruiter said, “I think what is happening now is you have all this information available about different jobs and different companies and working conditions. And when people are poached and they actually then find out about the alternatives, it can be life-changing.” Read more on The Washington Post.

Deere Union Workers Reject Contract Offer, Extending Strike

Workers at Deere have rejected a second contract offer by the company. In the deal, workers would get a signing bonus of $8,500, larger wage increases, preserved pensions for new employees, and workers would also get health insurance sooner. In fact, the wage increase was larger than almost a dozen agreements the United Auto Workers union has negotiated in the last 3 years. Chris Rhomberg, a sociology professor at Fordham University said “The stakes are high, but a victory for the union in this strike could help reshape the terms of the post-pandemic economy.” Deere’s CAO Marc Howze has made it clear that this was their final offer, but workers are not satisfied. Amidst record profits, employees feel they deserve more. As Irving Griffin, a forklift operator who has been with the company for over 11 years said, “Now is the best time to strike and take a stand for what we’re really worth.” Read more on Al Jazeera and Bloomberg.

This Week in History

November 5, 2007 – Some 12,000 television and movie writers begin what was to become a three-month strike against producers over demands for an increase in pay for movies and television shows released on DVD and for a bigger share of the revenue from work delivered over the Internet.

Song of the Week

A Hard Day’s Night by the Beatles:

It's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog

It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log

But when I get home to you I'll find the things that you do

Will make me feel alright, oww