Marcus Courtney founder of CWA-Tech worker union runs for State House in Seattle CWA District 7, WA State Council, and IAM 751 Endorsed

marcus courtneyUnion Built PC Inc. highly endorses Brother Marcus Courtney and we ask all our Sisters and Brothers to donate to the Courtney Campaign

A message from Marcus Courtney:

“With CWA and IBEW workers on strike against Verizon, it is more important than ever for working people to have a voice in the halls of power to fight back against corporate greed.  I am running for the 43rd legislative district in Seattle to be that voice.

“I believe the legislator in this seat needs to be a champion for bold, progressive leadership with real experience. I am running to bring the values of the 43rd district to solve real problems. I want to make housing more affordable, protect the rights of all of our citizens, improve the quality of our public schools, raise wages so families can lead a decent life, and bring meaningful action to combat climate change.

“Over the past few years here, we have witnessed tremendous growth in people and in wealth generated by our industries in aerospace, natural resources and technology. The 43rd district is at the heart of a booming Seattle, and is ushering in a new era as a global city. But yet, we can feel our prosperity is out of balance and is leaving too many people behind.

“I believe every worker should be treated fairly in the workplace. I founded the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech/CWA), the first labor organization of its kind in the U.S., while working as a contract test engineer at Microsoft Corporation. This gave tech workers a voice in the trade union movement for the first time, which continues to this day.

“For five years, I managed a global and regional boards of directors representing 300 national unions on international labor issues totaling more than 2.5 million workers in 120 different countries.

“Returning to Seattle as the National Representative for the AFL-CIO in the northwest, I was shocked to see how dysfunctional Olympia has become. Rather than a collaborative legislature where the two parties work effectively, Olympia is the mini-me of the U.S. Congress.  Populated with climate change deniers, people who oppose equal rights for all and politicians whose answer to every problem is to cut taxes for the rich and big corporations. This doesn’t work in DC and will not work in Olympia. There is real work to be done.

“These challenges strike at our sense of fairness for the future, and say it is time for a new path so no one is left behind.

“We need a new path of inclusion. A new tradition of true economic opportunity. I’m ready to bring a lifetime of experience fighting for middle class families, and giving strength to the poor and disenfranchised. As my career shows when I see a problem I get to work finding real solutions, and I will bring that experience to Olympia as your legislator.

“We have seen Seattle and Washington State pass landmark policies on the minimum wage, paid sick leave, pressure Shell Oil to stop Arctic Drilling, pass marriage equality and be first in the nation to require background checks before owning a gun. This campaign wants to extend and build on that progressive legacy.

“In the past two months that I have been running I am proud to have received seven union endorsements and I expect more on the way!  

“I ask you to join my campaign for bold, progressive leadership and I ask for your support to help send me to Olympia by contributing to my campaign today.”  

Join the Campaign for bold, progressive leadership by making a donation here:
https://marcuscourtney.nationbuilder.com/donate

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Microsoft Warns Windows 7 Has A Serious Problem

Earlier this year Microsoft  warned users that Windows 7 has serious problems.  In addition, now Microsoft has warned of a new serious Windows 7 problem that is very real – even though it makes no sense whatsoever…

In short: Microsoft has made a seemingly small yet completely bizarre tweak to Windows Update on Windows 7 and confirmed it is crippling many users’ PCs.

The tweak? It switched the status of Windows 7 update KB3133977 from ‘Optional’ to ‘Recommended’.

The bizarre part? Despite acknowledging the problems, Microsoft knew they would occur in advance and it has no plans to do anything about it.

PCs That Suddenly Won’t Start

It all centers around Asus motherboards.

Now 27 years old, Asus is one of the largest PC component makers and supplies motherboards to many of the world’s biggest PC makers. Recently it enabled Secure Boot in UEFI on all its motherboards. This wasn’t a problem for older PCs because Windows 7 didn’t support Secure Boot, that is until KB3133977 came along in March and enabled it.

Initially the fallout was small. Asus confirmed the problem, Microsoft confirmed the problem.  But the best news was KB3133977 was an optional Windows 7 update so it had to be manually installed to take effect. The solution was simple: just steer clear of KB3133977 (aka do nothing) and you’d be fine.

So there’s a lot of tech speak here but it all really comes down to this…

Last month – for some bizarre reason – Microsoft made KB3133977 a ‘Recommended’ update. The result was every user running Windows 7 and default Windows Update settings (the vast majority) would find the update now installed automatically.

And then everyone with an Asus motherboard was hit.

A Global Problem

There are now reports from Windows 7 users coming in from all over the world regarding machines that suddenly won’t boot.

Affected machines simply show a red box which says:

Affected machines simply show a red box which says

All of which does nothing to pinpoint the problem or solve it for those without a second secured boot device. In short: you’d be screwed.

The Good News And Staying Safe

The good news is Asus has now issued a workaround to get PCs booting up again.

Furthermore Asus must take some of the blame for not reacting faster when KB3133977 presented a potential landmine and issuing new updates to its motherboards.

VIEW THE ASUS SECURE BOOT VIOLATION SUPPORT PAGE

How do you know if you have an Asus motherboard in your Windows 7 PC?

Go to: All Programs > Accessories > System Tools and select System Information

This will list your PC’s components, including the motherboard.

One downside: some major PC makers like Dell and HP rebrand the motherboard as the computer’s model number. In which case you should do a web search on your model or call the manufacturer directly.

The Bad News And What Comes Next

As for the bad news? It’s Microsoft’s reaction.

On the plus side, Microsoft did update the support document for KB3133977 with a warning which states:

“After you install update 3133977 on a Windows 7 x64-based system that includes an Asus-based main board, the system does not start”.

But Microsoft also uses the document an opportunity to promote upgrades to Windows 10:

Microsoft has also done nothing to modify KB3133977 or release a new patch so users with Asus motherboards don’t run into this problem in the first place. Furthermore, at the time of publishing, KB3133977 remains a ‘Recommended’ in Windows Update for Windows 7.

Needless to say, conspiracy theorists will have a ball seeing it as yet another new way Microsoft can push users to Windows 10. Especially with upgrade rates slowing in April. This in itself is remarkable given the increasing number of heavy handed and devious ways Microsoft has been pushing Windows 10 onto Windows 7 and Windows 8 users.

Regardless, the message is clear: life is going to become increasingly uncomfortable for Windows 7 users from now on.

Keep in mind that Union Built PC is just a phone call or an email away if you encounter any problems.

Call us at (877) 728-6466
Email us at pete.marchese@unionbuiltpc.com

And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly eNewsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Verizon’s Crisis Management Trying to Sell Us… and then Sell Us Again

There is no doubt that Verizon’s Crisis Management firm is hard at work these days.

In a series of new videos, Verizon’s Chief Administrative Officer, Marc Reed, is looking to solicit support from the public.  He also strives to drive you to a master page full of Verizon’s Crisis Management multimedia which attempts to ‘holla back’ to CWA and IBEW and further draw the public to their “side.”  They’ve even set up a dedicate Twitter account.

Let’s start with the master pitch.  Gander at this…

In one of their several ‘Crisis Management’ videos they attempt to address compensation and benefits.  This video features Compensation Director Arleen Preston who – in this bloggers opinion – does little more than speak down to the “citizen viewer” by defining compensation and benefit terms and phrases that most American worker – Union or Nonunion – would already know.

Insult meets Injury here…

Does anyone find it a coincidence that – if you were to click through to YouTube – you’ll find the note “Comments are disabled for this video.”?

Finally – and here’s the part that will put a smile on your face – Crisis Management Television Ads have now replaced the infamous “red ball” spots.

But don’t worry… CWA has creatively answered back.

Now THIS video is worth sharing…

Good for you CWA!

RELATED: 5 Key Reasons to Back the Working People at Verizon

Five Reasons to Cheer for Unions This Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a perfect time to celebrate the capacity for upward mobility women have gained in the workforce — especially when it comes to labor unions.

Today, women constitute the greatest portion of the labor force working inside and outside of the home. In another couple of years, the same will likely be said of women in unions. In 2015, women made up roughly 49 percent of union members — but by 2023, women will be the majority of the unionized workforce.

hardworking-mom

In spite of these strides, millions of female workers are getting the squeeze in today’s economy. Even as women break the glass ceiling in business and politics, they still earn on average, 77 cents to every dollar earned by men — and unions are a big part of the solution.

Women have a great deal to gain from joining a union, with union victories working to pave the way for workers to bargain for affordable family health care, fair wages, improved working conditions and a better life for their families.

Did you know that…

1. Unionization results in significantly higher wages for women of all education levels.
Being in a union raises a woman’s pay as much as a full year of college does. Being a member of a union raises women’s wages by 12.9 percent — or $2.50 per hour — compared to their non-union peers.

Among women workers in the 15 lowest-paying occupations, the benefits are even greater, with female union members earning 14 percent more than those workers who were not in unions.

2. Unions protect workers’ rights regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender.
In a country where it’s still legal for an employer to fire someone for being gay in 29 states, and for being transgender in 34, having a union can make all the difference.

3. Unionization raises the probability of a woman having a pension.
The union advantage is most impressive when looking at employer-provided retirement plans. Women represented by unions are a whopping 53.4 percent more likely to have pension coverage than their non-union counterparts.

4. Being in a union is good for a woman’s health.
The union impact on a woman’s likelihood of having health insurance is even larger than the impact on wages. At every education level, female union members are 36.8 percent more likely to have employer-sponsored health insurance plans.

5. Unions help close the wage gap.
Despite the fact that the gender wage gap overall hasn’t made any progress in the last five years, it’s been shrinking among workers who belong to a union, declining 3.6 cents between 2015 and 2012. The gender gap between what unionized male workers make and what unionized female workers make is just 9.4 cents, which, according to a report by the National Women’s Law Center, unionized working women make more than 90 percent of what men do.

Among non-union workers, on the other hand, the wage gap is 18.7 cents, about double the gap between union workers. And while all workers typically make higher wages when they’re unionized, a women’s boost of $222 a week is even bigger than her male counterpart.

There’s still much work to be done…

Yet even as we celebrate Mother’s Day – we cannot lose sight of the work yet to be done to achieve full equality.

The United States is the only industrialized nation without any paid family leave law. With the changing nature of our 21st-century workforce, it’s getting harder and harder to balance the demands of the family you love and the job you need. Change has yet to come to Washington, but momentum is growing in the states: So far, California, Rhode Island and New Jersey have passed paid leave laws. It’s time to update workplace policies that are stuck in the past and give more Americans paid family leave – to take care of sick loved ones and newborn children.

The Labor Department is awarding half a million dollars to help feasible studies on new paid leave policies and with the support of Unions, it is our hope paid maternity leave will soon be realized.

RELATED: Maternity Leave FAQs

Considering the great boost to equality, pay and benefits that unions bring, it’s important that anyone who cares about the well-being of women workers also care about unions.

Union Built PC wishes our Union Sisters a very Happy Mother’s Day.

5 Key Reasons to Back the Working People at Verizon

Most of you know what led to the Verizon Strike. Contract talks between Verizon and members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) began in June of 2015.

The workers’ last contract expired on August 1, 2015 and on April 13, 2016 the strike began.

CWA and IBEW Union representatives allege that even though Verizon made $39 billion in profits over the last three years, the company wants to “gut job security protections, contract out more work and send jobs overseas, and require technicians to work away from home for as long as two months without seeing their families.”

All Americans who are watching the Strike play out in the press or are seeing strike activities and hearing discussions in their towns… well unlike our readers, they may not understand the importance of backing Verizon workers.

So whether you’re a Union Member fluent in these concepts or a concerned citizen, this is an article worth sharing with those who may benefit from a bit more insight.

5 Key Reasons to Back the Working People at Verizon:

1. Verizon makes billions each year, yet they still expect people to do more with less.

The corporation raked in $9.6 billion in profits in 2014, $39 billion over the last three years – and $1.8 billion a month in profits over the first three months of 2016. And from 2010 to 2014, Verizon executives made more than $249 million. Apparently, Verizon corporate bosses are unsatisfied with their massive profit margins and want to make working people do more with less. In negotiations thus far, Verizon has asked its loyal workforce for huge cuts to retirement security and benefits to people injured on the job, increases in employee health-care costs, and elimination of job security. Additionally the company wants to uproot technicians to work away from home for as long as two months without seeing and taking care of their families who depend on them. These are life-altering changes to the men and women at Verizon who are just trying to pay their bills and ensure a brighter future for their families.

2. Verizon plays dirty.

Instead of putting forward reasonable negotiating terms, Verizon has invested resources in training 15,000 employees to take over in the case of a work stoppage. Verizon has also given its non-union employees a mobile surveillance app that can monitor and take geotagged photos of union members throughout negotiations. Essentially, it’s a tattletale app with the sole purpose of intimidating people from coming together in union at work.

3. Verizon wants to get rid of good union jobs and outsource instead.

The men and women in union who work at Verizon have worked hard to create better workplaces for themselves and those that follow. But just like in 2011, Verizon wants its employees to give them the thumbs up to contract out work, replacing good, hometown jobs with cheap labor. Since 2005, the percentage of Verizon employees in union has dropped from nearly 70 percent to less than 30 percent.

4. Verizon refuses to expand FiOS.

Consumer demand for high-speed Internet is higher than ever. Several years ago, Verizon got tax breaks and rate hikes in exchange for expanding FiOS, its high-speed Internet, phone and video connection, throughout the Northeast. But in 2012, Verizon announced it would no longer expand its FiOS service, leaving customers in many places without access to high-speed Internet. Why would the company not want to increase its customer base for a popular service? Some believe Verizon is choosing not to repair and modernize its outdated copper wire system and grow FiOS because the company doesn’t want to invest in the people who maintain and install the service.

The company has also been accused of redlining poor and minority communities. In New York, the FiOS expansion was concentrated in affluent city suburbs, while low-income, urban areas were left behind. Other communities that have been excluded from the FiOS expansion include Bethlehem, Pa., Baltimore, Md., and Roanoke, N.C. Verizon is now trying to get out of the business of landlines all together, which will mean poorer service and even fewer options for many customers, especially in poor and rural areas that are already on the wrong side of the “digital divide.”

“On the one hand, Verizon refuses to build its high-speed FiOS network in lower income areas. And on the other, they are systemically ignoring maintenance needs on their landline network,” said Ed Mooney, vice president for CWA District 2-13, which covers Pennsylvania to Virginia. “This leaves customers at the mercy of a cable monopoly or stuck with deteriorating service while Verizon executives and shareholders rake in billions.”

Verizon-taxes

5. Verizon has a long history of ripping off taxpayers through tax evasion.

Verizon isn’t just looking to cut costs by slashing benefits and eliminating jobs; one of America’s most successful businesses is also taking money from taxpayers. From 2008 to 2013, Verizon received a tax refund of $732 million from the IRS, which resulted in a corporate income tax rate of minus two percent. That’s right, a negative income tax rate! Verizon is also culpable of stashing money abroad to avoid paying income taxes. In 2012, Verizon stored $1.8 billion in offshore tax havens.

RELATED: A Message to Verizon Workers from Bernie Sanders

Verizon’s position is clear: make money, no matter the cost to our families, our communities and our country. Which makes our position just as clear: we must stand with the working men and women at Verizon who have gone strike to protect not just their own livelihoods, but also family-sustaining jobs for those that follow. So please, stand with working people at Verizon!