CWA reinforces its link to IT industry

SEATTLE, WA: Communications Workers of America (CWA) scored two PR victories last week, furthering efforts to link its membership with the Internet economy.

SEATTLE, WA: Communications Workers of America (CWA) scored two PR victories last week, furthering efforts to link its membership with the Internet economy.

SEATTLE, WA: Communications Workers of America (CWA) scored two PR victories last week, furthering efforts to link its membership with the Internet economy.

For one, the national media reported that some employees at Amazon.com are trying to organize a union through CWA's partner, the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech).

According to an article in The New York Times, Amazon's senior management has attempted to squash the plan, using its internal Web site to advise employees against forming a union. As a retort, workers have set up their own Web page through WashTech's site (www.washtech.org).

Amazon is the most recognizable dot-com to face what might be considered a bricks-and-mortar labor problem.

But in CWA's second victory, another Internet company, Etown.com, is even closer to unionization. Workers for the online electronics retailer filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a vote for representation by a CWA guild.

Amazon.com union organizers have not yet secured the level of support among workers required to file a petition. In both companies, the employees involved are customer service workers.

CWA is working to position itself as the union for the IT industry and counter preconceptions about dot-com workers. The union also was behind the Verizon strike in August.

'In the news today, when something involves the dot-com industry it gets a lot of coverage,' said Candice Johnson, spokesperson for CWA. 'People think everyone at dot-coms gets stock options and they don't need a union.'

Johnson said the workers are concerned about increasing demands placed on them in the dot-com industry, and about scheduling problems.



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