On April 8th and 9th, more than 175 CWA members gathered for the first ever virtual District 7 Conference. CWA District 7 Vice President Brenda Roberts welcomed all the attendees and special guests, including CWA President Chris Shelton, CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens, Telecommunications and Technologies Vice President Lisa Bolton, CWA Vice President of Public, Health Care and Education Workers Margaret Cook and Western Region At-Large Executive Board Member Dante Harris. Colorado's U.S. Representative Jason Crow addressed the conference to talk about the American Rescue Plan.
In a highlight of the gathering, local leaders led a workshop on building an anti-racist union. President Shelton praised the district's commitment to fighting racism in the union, at work, and in communities.
Vice President Roberts acknowledged the challenges all CWA members have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, but reported that organizing had expanded despite those challenges. "In the past year, we've been organizing with Google workers, coders, gamers, athletes, newspaper staff, health care workers, campus workers, and non-represented workers in the telecom industry," she said. "We are broadening our base at CWA by diversifying who we organize!"
President Shelton recognized D7 activists who got creative in response to the unprecedented pandemic year, organizing workers in diverse industries, defeating anti-worker legislation, and electing pro-worker candidates up and down the ballot. He urged members to rally support for H.R. 1, the For the People Act, to protect voting rights for every American. He also asked everyone in D7 to mobilize for the PRO Act—a "game changer" that would truly protect the right of all workers to join a union, to bargain, and to strike.
"We fought the pandemic and we are winning," said Shelton. "We fought to elect a pro-union president and we did. And I know you will keep on fighting until every job is a union job and every worker is treated with respect and dignity."