The CWA National Civil Rights and Equity Committee and the CWA National Women's Committee hosted their biennial conference on human rights this week in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference featured workshops, guest speakers, and political action.
CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings, who chairs the Executive Board Diversity Committee, addressed the group saying, "These are challenging times and we in labor who are accustomed to speaking out, working together, and bringing about change have a special role to play. We must take back what we learned here to our workplaces and communities."
Clockwise from top left: CWA President Chris Shelton, CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings, CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt, AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson.
"We need to stand with each other and inspire each other, because we are living in perilous times," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "The one percent wants to crush us. All of us; men, women, black, white, brown, heterosexual, LGBTQ. Who we are doesn't really matter to them. Their greed is so great, they want it all. The one percent wants to buy our democracy and roll back 50 years of voting rights to suppress the vote and win elections. We won't let them. The one percent thinks it has all the power, but we are the 99 percent and when we mobilize and join together, nothing can stop us. That is the basis of our unity."
The CWA National Women's Committee.
The CWA National Civil Rights and Equity Committee.
On Monday, CWA members rallied with the Georgia Federation of Teachers to oppose ballot initiative SR.287 and fight for high-quality, locally controlled neighborhood public schools. The event was aimed at educating Georgia voters about the misworded and often misunderstood ballot initiative that if passed would strip local control of Georgia's public schools.
CWA members and Georgia teachers rally against stripping local control of public schools.
CWA Women Mobilize for Political Power for 2016 and Beyond
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A new CWA initiative, CWA Women for Political Power, has hit the ground running, with CWA activists mobilizing women throughout the union.
District 4 Vice President Linda Hinton, who chairs CWA's Legislative and Political Committee, is leading the effort. Members of CWA's National Women’s Committee also will mobilize support for the working women’s agenda and for Secretary Clinton.
CWA women are a driving force behind the political revolution in this country. By electing labor-friendly candidates into office, CWA women can make sure their issues get addressed.
Women make up a large percentage of CWA members and retirees, especially in the critical states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, and New Jersey, and will play a major role in these elections.
Bernie Sanders Launches Our Revolution
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A new group called Our Revolution launched on Wednesday with a major livestream address from Bernie Sanders. As tens of thousands tuned in on the livestream, and many more attended watch parties across the country, Senator Sanders laid out what we can do going forward to continue the fight for the issues that drove his campaign and inspired so many.
Sanders criticized the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), calling it part of the race to the bottom. "Instead of uplifting people around the world, people are becoming poorer. Americans used to support so-called free trade. But today, the American people understand that we've lost millions of decent paying jobs to bad free trade agreements. People are united against the TPP."
As part of Our Revolution, hundreds of thousands of people will be involved in fighting on the grassroots level – from school boards to city councils to the U.S. Senate, on issues like opposing the TPP, making college affordable, providing healthcare for all, and raising the minimum wage to $15. They'll be involved in major ballot measures on financial, environmental, gender, and labor issues to help reshape policy.
Bernie won't be directing or controlling the group, and has asked former CWA president Larry Cohen to assemble a diverse board of progressive men and women to lead Our Revolution.
"Real change never takes place from the top down," said Sanders. "It always takes place from the bottom up."
A 92 percent majority of the editorial staff of legal news website Law360 voted for representation by The NewsGuild of New York in an NLRB election on Wednesday, despite an intense three-week management anti-union campaign. The Law360 staff includes more than 130 reporters, editors, news assistants, and apprentices across the United States. Law360, a publisher of legal news and analysis, is owned by LexisNexis Group.
The Guild petitioned the NLRB for an election on July 19. Management not only rejected the Guild's request for voluntary recognition, but it also brought in a "union avoidance" consulting firm. Employees were pulled into daily, hour-long meetings with the consultants, LexisNexis executives, and senior Law360 managers, all urging them to vote no. Five days before the election, the editor-in-chief and a managing editor were fired and escorted out of the building, a move many employees saw as a dramatic effort by management to show that it was ready to make changes if they rejected the Guild.
"Today's result is a testament to the passionate efforts of Law360's dedicated journalists," said Sindhu Sundar, a Law360 features reporter. "We're incredibly excited for this new chapter of our history."
Law360 staff outside the NLRB office where ballots were counted.
More than 50 Puerto Rico Customer Service agents at DirecTV Regional Offices now have a voice in their workplace and are represented by Local 3010 in San Juan.
Local officers at their first meeting with DTV management in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
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Rock Against the TPP This Summer
Why are artists and musicians rocking against the Trans-Pacific Partnership this summer? Actress Evangeline Lilly, who has been crisscrossing the nation on an anti-TPP concert tour, explains that time is of the essence.
"TPP is a horrible, toxic power grab," she told MSNBC. "And if we don't get our Congress to publically come out and oppose the TPP, Obama could call for a lame duck vote, and we could wind up being strapped with this really toxic trade deal."
A lame-duck session is the few weeks after the election when Obama and outgoing lawmakers will continue working before their successors arrive in DC. That means members of Congress who lose in November will be able to vote on the deal, and newly elected members won’t have a voice. Moreover, reelected legislators will be able to pass the TPP without facing voter anger for at least two years.
CWA is helping sponsor Rock Against the TPP's nationwide roadshow. The next stop is San Francisco on Sept. 9. Learn more at rockagainstthetpp.org.
Rock Against the TPP at Showbox SoDo in Seattle. Photo by Rick Barry.
Turning Up the Heat on Costa
Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) still hasn't made up his mind on the TPP. So this week, labor, environmental, and community activists met with the congressman to urge him to oppose the massive trade deal and picketed his Fresno office to ramp up the pressure. Because of Costa's indecision, CWA has endorsed his opponent Johnny Tacherra in the upcoming election. CWA Local 9408 activist Stan Santos told the Fresno Bee, "This is a calculated risk. We're frustrated with Costa."