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American Rights at Work, Center for American Progress Showcase Cingular Wireless

May 18, 2006

Kimberly Freeman
202-822-2127, ext. 111
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WASHINGTON, DC—Telecommunications industry leader Cingular Wireless was spotlighted today for its respectful and forward-thinking approach toward their employees' desire to form a union.  Conventional wisdom suggests that a corporation's profitability is dependant upon its ability to "control costs" - code for slashing wages and benefits, and for many, preventing union formation at all costs.

Cingular rejects this notion and is a compelling example of how collaborating with workers can be a strategic advantage.  The nation's top wireless carrier negotiated its first union contract with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in 2000, and when doing so, pledged to remain neutral and not interfere with or campaign against employee organizing efforts.  As a result of this agreement and the cooperative partnership between Cingular and CWA, 39,000 Cingular employees have chosen to form a union.

"CWA is an important strategic partner for Cingular.  The CWA-Cingular neutrality agreement strengthens our current partnership-based relationship," states Lew Walker, Vice President of Human Resources - Operations and Labor for Cingular.  "We share mutual goals and values which will better enable us to continue to operate successfully in a very competitive environment."

The nation's top wireless carrier proves that worker-friendly labor policies and financial success are not mutually exclusive. "More employers should take a page out of Cingular Wireless' labor relations playbook," says American Rights at Work Executive Director Mary Beth Maxwell. "They've replaced an old-fashioned model pitting management against its workers with a profitable, collaborative approach well suited for the 21st century workplace."

Thursday's briefing is the latest project for American Rights at Work's Socially Responsible Business Program.  Facing a rise in aggressive unionbusting and the rapid erosion of U.S. labor law, the initiative engages innovative corporate and labor leaders to develop and promote sound policies and collaborative efforts that sustain workers, businesses, and society at large. 

This Labor Day, American Rights at Work will release the Labor Day List: Partnerships That Work, the second annual profile of successful partnerships between employers and their employees' labor unions that are working well in the global economy.

For additional information please contact John Anthony at 202-822-2127 x.118, or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .