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CWA Members Take Care of Business at the 2024 Presidents’ Meeting and Legislative and Political Conference

Earlier this week, CWA members and retirees from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C., for two events: the Presidents’ Meeting and the Legislative and Political Conference.

CWA President Claude Cummings Jr. presided over the Presidents’ Meeting, which was attended by delegates and members of the Executive Board. Participants joined together in a show of solidarity with members who are bargaining contracts at AT&T West, AT&T Southeast, United Airlines, Piedmont Airlines, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where workers have been on strike since October 2022. Following the meeting, Secretary-Treasurer Ameenah Salaam delivered an in-depth financial update and outlined the measures the Secretary-Treasurer’s office has taken to streamline spending and make every dollar work for CWA members.

CWA Executive Board and Delegates to the Presidents' Meeting 
Members of the CWA Executive Board and Delegates to the Presidents’ Meeting showed their support for members who are bargaining contracts across the country.

CWA Retired Members Council National Board 
The CWA Retired Members Council National Board met in Washington, D.C., prior to the Legislative and Political Conference.

The next day, President Cummings opened the two-day Legislative and Political Conference which featured a host of notable speakers including Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, Ambassador Katherine Tai, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.). Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) addressed the gathering via video message, where he spoke highly of President Cummings and urged members to continue to support President Joe Biden.

During his opening remarks, President Cummings focused on the importance of re-electing President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and pro-worker U.S. House and Senate candidates. “We, as a union and as a nation, need to be looking forward to a brighter future our children will inherit. That future doesn’t arrive packaged neatly with a bow on top. It’s the result of the struggles and victories we create today. I’m not interested in going back. There’s no time in the past I can think of that is better than the promise of what we have in our future,” Cummings said. He also debuted a new video, which features CWA members discussing how they are working side-by-side with President Biden and his pro-union, pro-worker Administration to create good union jobs, and read a letter from President Biden.

CWA President Claude Cummings Jr. Opened the Conference 
CWA President Claude Cummings Jr. opened the conference with a rousing speech, pointing the way to a brighter future for CWA and the nation.

CWA Secretary-Treasurer Ameenah Salaam led an inspiring panel discussion titled “Fighting Back Against Attempts to Divide Us.” The panel included representatives of partner organizations CASA in Action, Pride at Work, and the NAACP speaking on issues affecting Latino, LGBTQ+, and Black communities. They tackled questions such as, “How has your community felt the impact of Trump’s presidency?” and “How does targeting vulnerable communities affect workers?”

CWA Secretary-Treasurer Ameenah Salaam 
CWA Secretary-Treasurer Ameenah Salaam (left) moderated the “Fighting Back Against Attempts to Divide Us” panel discussion with representatives from the NAACP, CASA in Action, and Pride at Work.

Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su spoke at length about the many ways the Biden Administration has stepped up to protect and promote the rights of workers. “We know the right thing to do. We know that unions make America strong. We know that what you are doing is what this country needs. Keep on organizing, keep on building power, and know that we will always have your back.”

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries returned to this year’s Legislative and Political conference and, again, delivered an uplifting speech, this time focused on both his commitment to the labor movement and reiterating the Biden Administration's many accomplishments. “It’s been an honor to stand with organized labor, with CWA, and I will be honored to stand with you as House Leader in the future.” Jeffries went on to say, “We know that, in America, when you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to afford a comfortable life. That's the American Dream, and no one has done more to promote the great American Dream than organized Labor.”

Leader Jeffries has made the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act a central part of the Democratic legislative agenda this session.

Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries 
Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su (left) and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) (right).

Ambassador Katherine Tai, who serves as the United States Trade Representative (USTR), made history earlier this year when she took legal action, for the first time in the history of USTR, to protect federal call center workers from having their jobs shipped overseas. She made history again as the first USTR to speak at a CWA Legislative and Political Conference. “You are the reason why we are the most competitive, resilient, and innovative economy in the world. It’s our mission to make sure our trade policy creates good-paying union jobs and prevent jobs from being shipped overseas. Empowering you is at the heart of everything we do as an Administration.”

Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) addressed the challenges facing working people in America. “Every person in this country is entitled to fundamental economic rights. It is not radical to say that people deserve decent wages, decent benefits, decent healthcare, decent educational opportunities for their kids. Not only is that not radical, it exists in countries throughout the world! It is not radical to say that everyone is entitled to a decent standard of living, not three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society.”

Ambassador Katherine Tai and Senator Bernie Sanders 
Ambassador Katherine Tai (left) and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) (right).

Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who served as Chair of the January 6 Select Committee, spoke plainly, saying, “I’m the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee. I can tell you that there are bad people all over this world who are trying to harm us as Americans. But I can tell you that there is no more clear and present danger to this country than Donald Trump.” Representative Thompson urged members to continue to support President Biden and to vote in November.

Representative and U.S. Senate candidate Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) noted that "the problem today isn’t that people aren’t working. It’s that people are working but can’t get by." He pledged to continue to support the rights of workers to join together in unions and collectively bargain to improve their working conditions. "Right now, corporate America knows that they can violate labor laws as they can get away with it. This is why I’m gonna go to the U.S. Senate and fight for the PRO Act."

Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Bennie Thompson 
Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) (left) and Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) (right).

CWA District 4 Vice President Linda L. Hinton moderated a panel discussion on Building Worker Power at the State Level. The discussion touched on strategies to help identify and promote worker-friendly candidates who would both defend and support legislation designed to create and maintain good-paying union jobs. Other panel discussions included “Building the Skills to Win,” during which members who have participated in the Political Bootcamp shared how they translated the knowledge and skills they learned into stronger political action teams and political wins, and “Building Broadband for All,” which featured members of the Broadband Brigade speaking about the work they’ve done to ensure national broadband projects create high-road, union jobs with adequate safety and pay.

Attendees also heard from Rep. Chris DeLuzio (D-Pa.), Rep. Val Hoyle (D-Ore.), and Rep. Nikki Budzinski (D-Ill.), all with competitive races and all staunch champions of organized labor. Volunteers mailed over 3,000 handwritten postcards in support of Angela Alsobrooks in Maryland, our endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate.

Rank and file members also shared their personal stories of how politics and policy have impacted their lives and how being active members of CWA and the Biden Administration’s actions have helped them.

Videos from the conference will be added to the playlist at as they become available.

We are also adding photos from the conference to our Instagram feed at