Labor Roundup: CWA sues AT&T over layoffs instead of bonuses

The Communications Workers of America last month took AT&T to federal court. The issue is the corporation promising to give workers $1,000 bonuses due to the Trump/Republican tax overhaul, and days later laying off more than 1,000 techs and call-center workers and cutting hours of other employees.

CWA District 6 vice president Claude Cummings says AT&T violated the union’s collective bargaining agreement.

Union president Chris Shelton previously challenged AT&T and other big firms his union bargains with to add the $4,000 annual increase Trump said each worker should expect to workers’ paychecks. None did.

“We expected AT&T to invest in our communities and customers, and to create more jobs, as the Republican tax plan promised,” Cummings said. “Instead, AT&T is cutting jobs and working people face layoffs and an uncertain future.”

District 6 also filed labor law-breaking charges against AT&T with the National Labor Relations Board, arguing AT&T violated its district-wide contract, covering workers in Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Progressive lawmakers want to revive trust-busting

Four Democratic lawmakers want to bring trust-busting back into the U.S. economy, or at least start to do so.

Reviving government’s historic role to break up monopolies also would give workers more leverage, according to the Open Market Institute, a think tank that cited a 2016 White House Council of Economic Advisers report noting “the increasing concentration of economic power ultimately ‘leads to redistribution’ [of income and wealth] from workers to employers.”

U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) are co-sponsoring the 21st Century Competition Commission Act (HR4686), which would create a commission “charged with investigating the impact of corporate mergers and increasing market concentration” modeled on a pro-competition, anti-monopoly panel FDR set up.

“This bill aims to analyze all the ways monopolization has made our economy worse for working families, and help our government use existing antitrust laws to fix it,” said Ellison, a former co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Pocan now co-chairs the group.

The commission would probe “increasing market concentration across all sectors in the economy” and order regulators “to take stricter action to break up enormous corporations and encourage competition.”

International sports union leaders unveil bill of rights for players

Sports labor leaders including unions representing U.S. baseball, basketball, football and hockey, this winter unveiled a 17-point bill of rights for players, including the right to organize and bargain collectively, to freely speak out on issues without fear of retribution, and equal pay for equal work.

The World Players Association, part of the Uni global association of unions in various fields, drafted the bill of rights. It also would ban discrimination by “race, color, birth, age, language, gender, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, religion, political opinion,” caregiving responsibility, “property, or any other status.”

The 40 union leaders include Tony Clark of the Major League Baseball Players Association, Don Fehr of the NHL Players Association, and DeMaurice Smith of the NFL Players Association.
“The men and women who play sports did not choose to give up the basic human rights we would want for every worker,” Smith said.

Georgetown University reverses position, refuses to recognize union

In a turnabout from action of two weeks earlier with another group of workers, Georgetown University management refused to voluntarily recognize the American Federation of Teachers, which a majority of its research assistants and teaching assistants want.

The announcement came two weeks after Georgetown’s 500 adjunct professors ratified their second contract with the university, represented by the Service Employees.

The unionization drive by Georgetown’s RAs and TAs has been going for almost a year.

News briefs courtesy of The Labor Paper

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