At last week's virtual 2021 CWA Awards Ceremony, hosted by CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens, locals and activists were honored for their extraordinary work organizing, mobilizing, engaging in political action, and more.
The Hat Award for outstanding achievements in organizing is named in honor of CWA's founding president, Joe Beirne, who would pass his hat at each organizing meeting to collect the funds he needed to cover travel costs of getting to the next group of telephone workers he was to visit. It is CWA's highest honor. This year, CWA President Chris Shelton presented the Hat Award to CWA Canada, CWA Local 2336, CWA Local 1400 (Alphabet Workers Union), NABET-CWA Local 52031, CWA Local 1101, TNG-CWA Local 31222, and CWA Local 9410. These locals have brought more than 2,000 new high tech workers into CWA from established tech platforms to Silicon Valley startups, from media tech workers to digital ads and communication firms. President Shelton stressed the need to organize and build worker power in the tech industry and called on Congress, state, and federal regulators to reign in the power of Big Tech.
President Shelton also presented the Morton Bahr CWA STRONG Award to CWA Local 1180 President Gloria Middleton for her local’s tireless efforts, over 20 years, to win representation rights at New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and CWA Local 9400 President Maurice Washington, for effectively doubling the existing membership at the San Manuel Resort and Casino. As he presented the award, Shelton noted former President Bahr’s long term vision and strategy to embrace mobilizing and political action to make our union strong.
Since the 2019 CWA convention, CWA locals from around the country have brought in nearly 15,000 new members through external organizing campaigns. Locals that have successfully supported at least 100 workers in gaining formal recognition for a voice at work during this time period received a $1,000 organizing subsidy as well as a plaque for the current year. Locals who have won this award 5, 10, or 15 times received $5,000. The full list of locals is available here. During the ceremony, President Shelton announced that locals 1031, 1032, 1033, 1036, 1037, 1038, 1040, 1101, 1180, 1400, 31003, 32035, 34071, 7799, 9400, and 39213 had donated their awards to the Catholic Health workers who were on strike in Buffalo. Watch this amazing video featuring some of the 15,000 new members who have joined CWA over the past two years.
In addition to the organizing awards, locals were recognized for their support for CWA's Political Action Fund (view list of honor locals) and for fund-raising on behalf of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
The Awards Ceremony also highlighted the history and importance of CWA’s Eduardo Diaz Union-To-Union International Solidarity Fund and our efforts to build international solidarity with AT&T call center workers in Mexico and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) workers in the Philippines. Learn more by watching the video put together by members of the BPO Employees Industry Network (BIEN).
To watch the full 2021 CWA Awards Ceremony click here.