By CWA President Chris Shelton
What does it mean to be CWA STRONG?
Local 6327 is CWA STRONG. The local represents employees of AT&T Core and Mobility, YP Holdings and Cricket Wireless in the Kansas City area and at the AT&T DIRECTV Call Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"We are strengthening our union by signing up new members and getting people involved in improving their workplace and lives, and we're having fun doing it," said Local 6327 President Anetra Session, who also is an at-large member of CWA's Executive Board. "People are not only signing up, but they're also coming to us eager to get engaged right away. They see their CWA coworkers in action, wearing red, and they want to be part of what we’re doing."
Members of Local 1040 are CWA STRONG. The local has been fighting non-stop against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who puts tax cuts for the super-wealthy way ahead of the state’s commitment to provide for full funding of pensions.
The local signed up hundreds of new members last year and now is training 37 activists for an Organizing Rapid Response Team that makes communication with members and non-members a top priority. Carolyn Wade, President of CWA Local 1040 and an at-large CWA Executive Board member, said, "the challenges we face, along with other CWA locals and the entire labor movement, are a great opportunity for us to make our union stronger."
For Lisa Huster, an activist and steward for IUE-CWA Local 86004 at Strother Field, Arkansas City, Kans., being CWA STRONG means “working with people every day, to make a difference and to make our union stronger.”
Lisa recently signed up a co-worker after more than three years of trying. “I just kept at him, giving him examples of how what he was doing was hurting all of us. I answered all his questions and said I’d help him do whatever was necessary for him to sign up. When he did I was thrilled. Now that he’s joined, I’m working on him to start going to our local meetings and step up as an activist. I tell him, 'that's how you vote and have a voice in what our union does.' That makes the union stronger, too.”
In New Mexico, CWA Local 7076 began an internal organizing campaign that has grown the local by more than 700 new members. There also are 29 more stewards and more than double the number of activists. The local represents public employees who work for the University of New Mexico (UNM), University of New Mexico Hospitals (UNMH), Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), and the Timberon Water and Sanitation Department.
"Our members know we face big challenges, and that's why our local is working hard to grow stronger," said Local 7076 President Donald Alire. "We are talking one-on-one with every employee in our workplaces, and making sure everyone knows how important it is to be united."
These are just a few of the great stories happening across our union.
CWA STRONG is our plan to make sure that every member and every worker in a CWA workplace understands the forces targeting our jobs, living standards, and our rights, and recognizes that unity and solidarity are critical if we’re going to continue to protect our contracts, and negotiate even better ones.
How can you help make your local CWA STRONG? Volunteer to talk to co-workers who aren’t members about joining the union, become a steward or workplace mobilizer, and attending CWA events.
Keep up with the latest information from CWA by signing up for the weekly online newsletter. If you’re retired, join your local’s Retired Members’ Council by visiting cwa-union.org/for-members/retired-members-council.
This issue of the CWA News highlights the accomplishments of our union since our last convention. We bargained contracts for more than 200,000 workers, we organized new members across every industry and we stood together on bad trade deals and other issues that affect our jobs, wages, and working conditions.