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CWA-COPE: Members Make The Difference

When it comes to politics, big business has deep pockets but CWA has something better: 725,000 members.

That’s the idea behind the September is “CWA-COPE Month” campaign: The more members who contribute a dollar or more every week, the better armed CWA is to fight for workers’ rights and working family issues.

“We have to do our best to level the playing field,” CWA President Morton Bahr said. “All the gains we make at the bargaining table can be taken away in an instant by Congress. If big business has its way, employers would be able to raid workers’ pension funds, there would be far fewer job safety standards and overtime pay would be replaced by employer-assigned comp time, among many other threats labor is confronting.”

COPE stands for the Committee on Political Education. It’s CWA's grassroots vehicle for making members' voices heard in political campaigns. Money goes toward informational mailings to members, it supports voter registration drives and phone banks and aids the campaigns of pro-worker candidates and issues at the local, state and national levels.

For instance, CWA is currently fighting a bill pending in Congress to eliminate overtime pay for “inside sales” workers. Those workers include 50,000 CWA members who sell telephone services and yellow page and newspaper advertising. Even though their contracts guarantee overtime pay, Congress could pass a law that overrides the contract language.

September was designated “CWA-COPE Month” by delegates at CWA’s 2001 convention in Minneapolis. During the month, members can earn special awards for signing up other members for the $1 a week CWA-COPE Club.

In many states, members can make contributions automatically through check-off programs, the same way they pay dues. Each local has information explaining how to make contributions in your area.

Special September Incentives
For the month of September only, members who sign up 20 fellow members for CWA-COPE check-off will receive $100; signing up 50 new participants will mean a $200 award. People who sign up 200 or more co-workers will receive a specially designed CWA watch and dinner with their district vice president. Additionally, a $500 award is offered for signing up 500 members and the person who signs up the most new CWA-COPE check-off participants overall will receive $1,000 plus dinner with CWA President Morton Bahr.

New CWA-COPE donors also receive awards. For $1 a week, you have a choice of a T-shirt, cap or thermos; $2 a week, a golf or folding umbrella or lunch box-sized thermos; $5 a week, a polo shirt or 26-quart cooler; $7 a week, a jacket; and $10 a week, a CWA watch and membership in the Presidential Club.

Materials have been mailed to every local for distribution. To get involved, contact your local’s legislative-political coordinator.

All contributions to CWA COPE PCC are voluntary and are not conditions of membership in the union nor of employment with the Company; members may refuse to do so without fear of reprisal. Contributions will be made to a joint fund-raising effort sponsored by CWA COPE PCC and the AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Political Contributions Committee (AFL-CIO COPE PCC) and it is understood that CWA COPE PCC will use my contributions for political purposes. Federal law requires CWA COPE to use its best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and the name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year. Contributions or gifts to CWA COPE PCC and AFL-CIO COPE PCC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.