On April 11, CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens joined NewsGuild-CWA activists and more than 35 members of CWA Next Generation to talk about reforming U.S. labor law by passing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act (PSFNA).
Secretary-Treasurer Steffens shared the pride and power she felt organizing with co-workers as a young reporter at the Contra Costa Times in California and joining the NewsGuild-CWA. Only two weeks after the union vote she was fired for her leadership in the campaign, which only intensified her commitment to the labor movement.
Leah Waters, a multiplatform editor for The Dallas Morning News and Dallas NewsGuild unit chair, described relentless one-on-one and captive audience meetings in which management claimed the newspaper would go out of business if the workers voted in favor of the union. Ultimately, those tactics backfired and strengthened support for the union, leading to an overwhelming 75% vote in favor.
Annie Shields, engagement editor at The Nation magazine is on the Executive Committee of the NewsGuild of New York, TNG-CWA Local 31003. Shields organizes new members in the publishing industry, which has seen a recent surge in union activity. She talked about challenges workers face as they bargain for their first contracts after battling hostile employers.
Workshop organizers and CWA Next Gen Lead Activists Amanda Bratcher (District 3), Carissa Hahn (District 7), and Maddie Pettine (PHEW) explained how the PRO Act and PSFNA would make it easier for all workers to organize, to bargain, and to strike, and would create real, enforceable penalties for companies that violate labor law.
Secretary-Treasurer Steffens and CWA Telecommunications and Technologies Vice President Lisa Bolton, who directs the CWA Next Generation program, encouraged everyone to get involved in the fight to pass the PRO Act and the PSFNA. According to Hahn, "The fight to reform our broken labor law system is just gearing up."
For updates from CWA Next Generation, including information about upcoming workshops and opportunities to get involved in the fight for labor law reform, click here.