This week, participants in the CWA Public, Healthcare and Education Workers (PHEW) sector “Public Workers Build Back Better” digital summit united around a clear message: after withstanding years of attacks and weathering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we urgently need to fight for our public services, and CWA members and public workers who provide them.
That message was reinforced by CWA President Chris Shelton at the summit’s plenary session. “This is our moment,” Shelton said. “Every one of you must mobilize your members to make sure that your state and local governments are going to use [American Rescue Plan relief funds] to restore jobs, raise wages, provide premium and hazard pay, and make job-creating investments in public services.”
Other sessions of the summit focused on mobilization, pensions, stimulus relief funds, and building momentum for bargaining. More than 200 members and leaders from across the sector attended the online digital summit and were joined by CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens; CWA Vice-Presidents Dennis Trainor (District 1), Richard Honeycutt (District 3), Linda L. Hinton (District 4), Brenda Roberts (District 7), and Frank Arce (District 9); IUE-CWA Industrial Division President Carl Kennebrew; and At-Large Executive Board Members Gloria Middleton (Northeast Region) and Erika White (Central Region).
During the summit, PHEW Sector Vice President Margaret Cook emphasized the importance of political action, contributions to CWA’s Political Action Fund, and fighting for voting rights as part of the agenda. “We serve the community, and we work for the community, so we understand how important politics is as part of what we do,” she said.