This week, CWA President Chris Shelton outlined the action taken by the CWA Executive Board to determine whether and how our union will endorse a Presidential candidate in an email to local presidents.
"CWA has not made an endorsement for the presidential primary elections. CWA doesn't get out in front of our members, and our members will decide what action we take on endorsement," he said.
Starting sometime in September, CWA will provide information about the candidates, along with an online poll for members to make their views known. CWA's political action website will include responses from the candidates to our questions on our priority issues: good jobs and trade, fair wages, retirement security, bargaining rights, and more. This information also will be provided in the Fall issue of the CWA News, which members will receive in early October.
CWA members and activists will be able to weigh this information about candidates at worksite events and in a telephone town hall call before casting their votes in the online poll. The poll will stay open into early December and will help determine whether a single candidate has overwhelming support from CWAers.
"Our members are motivated, and many thousands more have been energized by our fair trade fight. I want this activism to grow and build our movement. While local unions should continue to refrain from making an endorsement until the National Union as a whole makes a determination about endorsement, members can and should volunteer to work for the presidential candidate of their choice," Shelton said.
Many CWA activists are putting that passion to work in the Presidential primary campaigns, particularly the campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for president.
Sanders has been holding huge rallies, and in Houston, CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings introduced Sanders to a crowd of 5,000. Yolanda Bejarano, an activist from CWA Local 7019 and a leader in the No Fast Track fight, introduced Sanders to a crowd of 11,000. Just this week, in Los Angeles, Dante Harris, president of AFA-CWA United Council 12, spoke to a crowd of 27,000 about the AFA-CWA's fight for a fair contract at United Airlines, and introduced Sanders, who wore his "I support United Flight Attendants" sticker.
CWAers in Iowa and other states also are participating in the Sanders for President campaign. Steve Abbott, president of CWA Local 7108 and head of the Iowa state council, and Don Trementozzi, president of CWA Local 1400, working in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, are among CWA activists volunteering for the Sanders campaign.
As a volunteer, former CWA President Larry Cohen is the labor coordinator for the Sanders campaign. For Sanders, Cohen spoke nationally to 3,700 house parties; that message was streamed to 107,000 people.