Tag Archives: CWA

NEWS: Supreme Court rules against public sector unions collecting agency fees

The Supreme Court has ruled that unions representing government workers cannot force non-members to pay agency fees.


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Union presidents gather at CWA meeting ahead of Supreme Court ruling

Presidents representing locals within the Communications Workers of America gathered in Washington this week ahead of an expected U.S. Supreme Court decision that could drastically change how union fees are collected in public-sector unions.

President Jill Bleed attended the one-day meeting to represent the News Media Guild.

CWA President Chris Shelton told the nearly 300 delegates at the CWA presidents’ meeting that unions must look beyond members’ individual needs to the broader issue of keeping unions alive. CWA has made an effort to sign up new members as part of an initiative called CWA Strong in anticipation of the Janus court decision, which deals with whether a non-member in a public sector union must pay agency fees.

CWA represents hundreds of thousands of public- and private-sector workers in the media, telecommunications, airline, information technology and other industries. Shelton says that the union has added more than 7,300 new members in the public-sector unit as part of CWA Strong since 2016.

In New Jersey, public-sector locals are at record membership levels, while membership in right-to-work states is stable or growing, Shelton said.

If the high court rules against the unions, CWA is expected to lose revenue from about 25,000 agency fee payers _ or about $6.5 million, according to CWA Secretary/Treasurer Sara Steffens. The union has committed to cutting its budget (excluding staff and salaries) but Steffens said a longer-term fix is needed.

“We can’t cut our way out of this problem,” she said.

To stay viable, the union must have strong stewards, active and well-run locals, and keep in contact with current and future members, Steffens said.

The News Media Guild, funded in part by a CWA grant, has added 40 new members in the past year under the CWA Strong initiative.


NMG officers, other activists strategize at TNG, CWA conventions

NMG 1st VP Linda Johnson, President Martha Waggoner, Secretary/Treasurer Johns Braunreiter, Administrator Kevin Keane, Retired Members Council head Adolphe Bernotas

NMG 1st VP Linda Johnson, President Martha Waggoner, Secretary/Treasurer Johns Braunreiter, Administrator Kevin Keane, Retired Members Council head Adolphe Bernotas

News Media Guild officers and other delegates attending The Newspaper Guild’s recent convention in Pittsburgh discussed the top challenges facing their locals and unions in general.Delegates from across the U.S., Canada to Puerto Rico also shared strategies for being more effective, particularly in strengthening our locals and winning better contracts.And they heard inspiring stories of organizing successes, including workers at the Dayton Daily News finally getting a new contract last year after a 26-year battle, and the Pacific Media Workers Guild starting an innovative mentoring program that gave students short paid internships, guidance and a positive experience with unions.

NMG President Martha Waggoner, who is also the TNG’s international chairwoman, told the crowd that the union’s fight is more important than ever. Continue reading

Meet Guild’s new recruiter, business staffer AJ Connelly

The News Media Guild has begun a national recruiting drive in preparation for next year’s contract bargaining.

Eileen AJ Connelly, a Business editor and writer in New York City, has just begun a three-month Guild leave of absence to oversee recruiting efforts for now. Connelly’s salary and benefits are being paid by the Communications Workers of America.

Connelly, who joined the AP in 2005, serves as a shop steward in Business News, where she works as a copy editor and reporter.  She also worked as a mobilizer during contract negotiations last year and serves on the Guild’s National Grievance Committee.

Many AP staffers will be hearing from Connelly shortly by phone.  She will also fly to a number of bureaus to visit with Guild activists and other staffers.

The Guild’s goal is to increase membership and staff involvement in the union, and ultimately to be successful in the next round of bargaining. If you’re interested in building our bargaining power and would like to join or help recruit new members, contact us.