Nov 12, 2020 - Standing up for Our Veterans, Scholarships for CWA Families, and more news

November 12, 2020

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More Wins for CWA-Endorsed Candidates

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In a statement this week, CWA President Chris Shelton congratulated President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris on their victory.

"The Biden Administration will restore regulations that protect and empower working people. Working people need a pro-worker National Labor Relations Board and National Mediation Board that support collective bargaining and the freedom of workers to join together in a union to improve their working conditions. We need a Secretary of Labor who will safeguard workers during and after the pandemic, prosecute wage theft, and secure retirees' pensions and retirement funds. We need the White House to ensure that government contracts support good jobs," Shelton said.

He also called on Congress to reconvene and immediately pass pandemic relief legislation that restores and expands payroll support programs, enhances unemployment insurance, and provides critical support for state and local governments.

Shelton has announced his support for Representative Andy Levin (D-Mich.) for Labor Secretary, citing Rep. Levin's strong credentials from the labor movement and passion for enhancing the lives of working people.

CWA members across the country worked tirelessly to deliver key election wins to pro-worker candidates. Here are some more wins for CWA-endorsed candidates!

  • In Pennsylvania, Susan Wild and Matt Cartwright were re-elected.
  • In Virginia, Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria were re-elected.
  • In Michigan, Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens were re-elected.
  • In Maine, Jared Golden was re-elected.
  • In Minnesota, Angie Craig was re-elected.
  • In North Carolina, challengers Deborah Ross and Kathy Manning both won their elections to Congress.
  • In Georgia, both U.S. Senate races will be headed to a runoff election on January 5. Carolyn Bourdeaux won her race for Congress, flipping the seat from red to blue.

When we win elections, workers gain a seat at the table. In Arizona, Yolanda Bejanaro of CWA Local 7019 was named to Senator-Elect Mark Kelly's transition team!


Standing up for Our Veterans and Our Democracy

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Last week a record number of Americans participated in the most fundamental act in our democracy - voting. We are able to go to the polls and elect our leaders thanks to our veterans who, through their service to our country, have preserved and protected this freedom.

Their service does not end with their final tour of duty. We frequently call on them to put their skills to work as volunteers in our communities. With a shortage of poll workers due to the pandemic, thousands of younger veterans answered the call and staffed voting locations, protecting the health of the seniors who typically assume that responsibility. Over the past year, through our Veterans for Social Change Program, CWA veterans worked with community allies to raise awareness of veterans issues and to turn out the vote for candidates who support working people.

As an Air Force veteran, I couldn’t be prouder of the CWA members and retirees who have kept our country safe and strong through their military service. As president of our great union, I pledge to you that we will honor you by standing up for our democracy and for the rights and freedoms that you fought to protect.

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Labor Women Get Out the Vote!

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CWA collaborated with the AFL-CIO to launch "Labor Women Get Out the Vote," a phone- and textbanking initiative during the final weeks of the 2020 elections. The nine CWA participants included new organizers, human rights activists, and call center workers. Their efforts focused on a list of union women, including women of color, living in states with key Senate races, and in areas where instances of voter suppression are rampant like Michigan, Arizona, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

Throughout the project, the CWA activists heard from powerful women labor leaders and received training on racial capitalism, shifting political power, the power of women in politics, and what to expect after the election. The skills these women developed will last far beyond this election as they continue to learn and become more active in their locals! 

"This experience gave me the opportunity to meet and work with wonderful people who have a passion for doing what's right – people who have a passion for being on the right side of change and democracy. This experience will forever hold a special place in my heart for the change we created within each other and the world. There are no words that can truly describe the power of this experience," said CWA Local 3640 member Yasmeen Alston.

"The problems in this country right now can seem so huge, so exhausting to try to fix, but what I learned is that through persistence, organized resistance, and community-minded movement, even a small group of 12 people can make a difference," said CWA Local 6355 member Robyn Cottin.


CWA collaborated with the AFL-CIO to launch “Labor Women Get Out the Vote,” a phone and text banking initiative.


Hospital Workers Picket for Safe Staffing and Living Wages

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On Friday, CWA Local 9413-represented hospital workers at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center (SMRMC) picketed outside of the hospital in Reno, Nev. These workers, who are performing essential work caring for COVID patients, have been in contract negotiations with SMRMC since the beginning of February. Hospital management has proposed an increase in health insurance costs and has refused to address poor staffing ratios – catastrophic positions in the middle of a global pandemic.


Organizing Update

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Color Of Change

Staffers of Color Of Change, one of the nation's largest racial justice organizations, announced at the end of October that they have won voluntary union recognition from management. They will be represented by the Washington-Baltimore News Guild/NewsGuild-CWA Local 32035.

"Our vision is a world where justice is real for Black people, including reparations for generations of harm, equitable opportunities for Black people to thrive, and a more democratic society that allows communities to have control over their own structures and decisions," they wrote. "We look forward to continuing to manifest our vision of justice for Black people, and are excited to commit to the work together as we step into our next 15 years and beyond."


Reminder: Beirne Foundation Scholarship Application for 2021-2022 Now Available

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The CWA Joe Beirne Foundation will award 16 partial college scholarships of $4,000 each for two years for the 2021-2022 academic year. CWA members, their spouses, children, and grandchildren are eligible for the scholarships, including the dependents of retired, laid-off, or deceased members.

Applications are available only online at the Foundation's website. The final deadline for the 2021-2022 school year is 11:59 p.m., EDT, April 30, 2021.

The Beirne scholarship program is made possible by funding from CWA locals. Read more about the program here.


In Memoriam – November 12, 2020

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CWA has established a memorial page for members who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

This week we honor the memory of Justin Wayne Rieber, a member of CWA Local 4900 who worked for AT&T at the Evansville Indiana Call Center.