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CWA Scholarship Winners Share Thoughts on Unions, Parents' Sacrifices

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This year CWA awarded 65 scholarships to CWA members, spouses and children. The scholarships range from $1,000 to $3,000. "It was wonderful to read so many thoughtful and heart felt essays from our members and their families," said CWA President Larry Cohen. Most were from our members' children describing sacrifices their parents have made for them and understanding how unions and worker solidarity make a difference. The considerable volunteer hours these applicants devote to everything from building homes for those in need, to teaching literacy to work on political campaigns is inspiring. If these young people are any indication, our future is in good hands." For more information on the union's scholarship programs, visit our website at ga.cwa-union.org and click on "Member Services."
The following are excerpts from essays submitted by scholarship applicants:

 "I started my job at Ken's Pharmacy in September 2004 at $5.75 an hour. Since then I have received two raises, one at 25 cents and one at 50 cents. Without the labor movement, myself and many other young Americans would probably not be making what the minimum wage is today."  — Stacie Chaille Daughter of Raymond Chaille Jr., Local 84798


"Were it not for the guaranteed pension benefit won during union negotiations, my parents would have had to save additional money for their retirement, rather than set it aside for a college education for me, my older brother and my younger sister. I hope my father's union will continue its resistance against reduction in pension benefits so my father can enjoy his retirement years with my mom."  — John Pellegrino Son of Francesco Pellegrino, Local 81444


 

"I witnessed firsthand the caring people in my step-dad's union when his cousin was killed on the job. He was working on the traffic light outside of Moraine Assembly when he was struck by a truck. My dad's co-workers took up a collection to help his family. I was always taught to look and see where products are made and look for union labels. I realize now, especially with all the trade agreements, just how important it is to buy American union-made products."  — Danyel Lipps Daughter of Todd Baker, Local 84798






"Walking the picket line with my co-workers, enjoying the many affirming honks of passers-by and even the occasional derisive comment laid bare a world I had thought only existed in history books. Unions are still involved in America and still concerned about their membership. Lives can be improved if we work together. Since that time, I have become a steward in my local."  — Ernest Kirschner Member, Local 9416



 "Since my parents are close to retiring, Social Security is of importance to them. We were thrilled with the union's political efforts in defeating President Bush's attempts to privatize Social Security. Having seen the results and importance of the movement, I hope to be part of the Student Labor Action Project during my years in college. I am looking forward to participating in the fight for social and economic justice." — Chad Richardson Son of Glendene Richardson,  Local 1105





"My mother has been a flight attendant with United Airlines for 36 years. She was there to see the end of United's age discrimination, weight discrimination and marital status restrictions. She was there in the early years when the union took a job with 18 months longevity and made it a life-long career. Without this permanence, management wouldn't be responsible for long-term health problems, pensions and other benefits. Unions provide consistency, they promise a future, they are what America was built on: equality, personal rights, security and an opportunity to actually achieve the pursuit of happiness." — Kelly Sprong Daughter of Maureen Sprong, Local 27009


 

"In 2002, my mother was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic illness which leaves its victims in pain and chronically fatigued and sometimes unable to work. In 1993 the Family and Medical Leave Act was the first act signed into law by President Clinton. In October 2005 the Bush administration attempted to slash the hard-won protection of this law. The FMLA law CWA's commitment to stand up for it give my mother peace of mind." — Vincent Cheeks  Son of Vanessa Washington,  Local 2009

 

"As a journalism student, I'm well aware of The Newspaper Guild-CWA and its achievements to empower underpaid journalists. Without the help of unions, journalists would face drastically lower salaries, fewer benefits and less job security in a rapidly changing newspaper industry." — Yuxing Zheng Daughter of Cao Youming, Local 4319

Click here for the full list of scholarship winners.