Nearly 200 CWA District 1 stewards and Health and Safety workplace committee members in New Jersey participated in the third part of an eleven hour virtual training course last week. The course presented a union approach to health and safety with the goal of educating members about the science of COVID-19 transmission, as well as how to hold management accountable for ensuring a safe workplace.
The central theme of the training series: informed and mobilized union members are the source of our power to protect us from this deadly pandemic. The training included a panel of rank and file leaders who shared the strategies they have used to engage members to take action on health and safety issues.
Jessica Coffin, CWA Local 1088 Mobilization Committee chair and steward, spoke about her members' struggle to pressure management to resolve the COVID-related health and safety issues at their county welfare agency. "After months of working in fear, and COVID back on the rise, we decided that enough was enough," Jessica told training participants. "We were determined to be safe and we combined our unique strengths to form a mobilization committee. We wanted to fight for the right to work from home. We wanted to keep our families safe. We made signs and stood out on the major highway where our buildings are located. After a week, our numbers began to grow and our pickets spread from one building location to three!"