This article contrasts two Communications Workers of America (CWA) strategic organizing campaigns at Sprint and Southwestern Bell wireless in the 1990s. In the first case, the NLRA failed to protect Sprint workers after their employer closed the call center to avoid a union election, despite a complaint filed by a Mexican union under labor provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement. In the second case, the CWA's “bargain to organize” strategy neutralized Southwestern Bell's opposition, and 40,000 wireless workers chose CWA representation under a negotiated neutrality/card‐check recognition process. This article demonstrates how neoliberal regulatory changes in the telecommunications sector in combination with weak labor laws fostered the decline in union representation in this vitally important and dynamic sector of the economy.

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