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As the president of our great union and an Air Force Veteran, each Veterans Day I am proud to salute the thousands of CWA member and retiree veterans for their service. This year, I’m particularly proud to honor those veterans who are stepping up to participate in our new CWA Veterans for Social Change program to build power and promote the values that make our country strong.
These values are under attack. Instead of celebrating everyone who has contributed to the strength of our country, President Trump has stoked fear and hate toward immigrants, toward women, toward people living with disabilities and toward anyone who disagrees with his agenda. Instead of promoting reforms that would open up our democracy to greater participation, President Trump and his allies are restricting voting rights and inviting foreign governments to interfere in our elections. Instead of respecting our freedom to join together to fight to improve our working conditions, President Trump’s labor department has been systematically eliminating regulations and restricting union activity in order to put more power in the hands of corporate executives.
Our veterans have powerful stories to share and they have felt the impact of these attacks. President Trump has been undermining programs that directly serve veterans who are most in need. His disrespect for veterans began even before he became President—last week he was ordered to pay a fine for directing proceeds from an event advertised as benefiting veterans to his presidential campaign in 2016.
Just as our veterans are showing that they are CWA Strong by fighting for our union values, CWA is making sure that our resources are supporting veterans and their families. A new National CWA Veterans Committee, representing each District and Sector, will make sure that veterans’ issues are front and center in our political, legislative, human rights and organizing agenda.
This Veterans Day, please join me in thanking the first group of six CWA Veterans for Social Change who participated in a training last month hosted by the Veterans Organizing Institute and Common Defense.
- Ray Rodrigez, Local 6222, United States Marine Corps Veteran
- Bruno Pavone, Local 3611, United States Navy Veteran
- Lafarrah Hines, Local 3680, United States Army Veteran
- Frank Cota, Local 7026, United States Marine Corps Veteran
- Antiujan Davis, Local 84755, United States Marine Corps Veteran
- Justin Sparyanski, Local 84913, United States Army National Guard Veteran