CWA President Chris Shelton.
In his keynote address to the 76th CWA convention in Pittsburgh, CWA President Chris Shelton laid out the intensifying attacks facing workers and the labor movement, but reminded delegates that "always, always, always, working people have risen up to fight for what is right."
"Our work is cut out for us. But let me tell you this: I am 100 percent confident that we are up to the task. I have spent my entire adult life building this union. I know what CWA is made of. I know that every one of you will do whatever we have to do to save our union and to save our labor movement. I know that we are CWA STRONG and that nothing, nothing can break us!"
President Shelton hits the convention floor after his keynote speech.
Shelton outlined the CWA STRONG program and noted that locals already are putting this plan into action. "Step 1 for CWA STRONG is increasing membership levels. Step 2 is more mobilization and member engagement. Across this union we must renew our commitment to building our union from the bottom up. At the same time, we must continue to reach out to our community allies who will stand with us against our enemies. A stronger CWA means a stronger foundation for a progressive movement. Locals, large and small, are working hard to sign up agency fee payers and non-members in both the public and private sectors."
He recognized CWA members and activists who walked picket lines and stood with striking workers at AT&T, AT&T Mobility and Verizon, and at Momentive.
"The labor movement will not grow; the labor movement will not survive, if it forgets how to fight. CWA will never forget how to fight! These strikers set an example for – and sent a message to – the entire labor movement. When we fight, we win. More than anything else, this is what makes us CWA STRONG."
For a full video of the speech, click here.