Last week, CWAers from across District 9 gathered for the District 9 Meeting and Leadership Conference.
The conference took place on the heels of a successful six-day grievance strike at Frontier Communications in California. After CWA District 9 Vice President Frank Arce shared opening remarks, CWA President Chris Shelton delivered a video message applauding the members’ victory and encouraging them to continue to build solidarity and fight for a fair contract. He also stressed the need to fight back against the company’s increasing and dangerous use of subcontracting companies to perform critical broadband infrastructure work. “We saved them from bankruptcy, and now they are paying us back by trying to get rid of our members. Well, we are not going to allow it. We will do whatever we have to do to make sure that it doesn't happen,” said Shelton. He also highlighted the critical role CWA District 9 members are playing in winning and advancing key district and nationwide campaigns.
Shelton was followed by Mobi CEO Justen Burdette, who spoke about the importance of labor standards in the telecom industry. The week prior, workers at Mobi, Hawaii's largest regional wireless company, joined CWA after the company voluntarily recognized the union, a monumental step forward for an industry overrun with union-busting and retaliation.
CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens attended in person and spoke to participants about the importance of taking advantage of the moment we are in and building on our recent organizing wins. “We have been through so much, and finally the sun is rising. And workers are stepping into the sunshine. So let’s make the most of this moment we have fought for and dreamed of for so long. Have fun together. Lean into the wins. Cultivate joy. Because when we stand together, we are unstoppable,” said Steffens. She also touted CWA’s success in supporting workers’ organizing in the tech industry.
Conference participants also heard from CWA District 4 Vice President Linda L. Hinton, CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings Jr., IUE-CWA President Carl Kennebrew, AFA-CWA International Secretary-Treasurer Dante Harris, and Western Region At-Large Executive Board Member Keith Gibbs.