CWA Statement on the President's State of the Union Message | Communications Workers of America

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CWA Statement on the President's State of the Union Message

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Washington, D.C. -- Statement by President Chris Shelton, Communications Workers of America, on President Obama's State of the Union Address.

The Communications Workers of America commends the President for outlining a path to restore an America that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. It’s clear that creating and keeping good jobs and enabling working people to share in the profits they generate are key to getting this done.     

As the President said, we need to make sure the system is not rigged in favor of the wealthiest and biggest corporations. That means effective action to shift our economy from one in which Wall Street calls the shots to one that recognizes and rewards the efforts of working people, not just the 1 percent. That means, for working people, the ability to form unions and bargain collectively for good wages and improved conditions. That’s how we turn around the extreme income inequality that has kept working people’s wages stagnant for four decades and put a college education out of reach for millions.  

We applaud the President’s focus on the threat to our democracy that is big money and dark money in our politics, redistricting schemes and campaigns that make voting harder, not easier. The billions spent by just a handful of donors are poisoning our democracy. Big money is hijacking our political system through mega-contributions and a systematic assault on voting rights. That can only result in, as the President says, a breakdown in democracy, the belief by the average person that her or his vote doesn’t matter, and a system rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some narrow interest.

We cannot stand with the President, however, when it comes to bad trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. For more than 20 years, U.S. workers have seen their jobs sent offshore, their earnings cut and their communities devastated. They’ve seen weak and ineffective labor and environmental standards that force U.S. workers to compete with workers earning next to nothing, whether in Central America or in the case of the TPP, Vietnam.

Changing technology isn’t necessarily the villain here, as some administration officials have claimed. Instead, working people know that corporate greed and its embrace of 50-cent-an-hour wages and brutal working conditions in places like Vietnam and others are responsible for the loss of millions of U.S. jobs and thousands of shattered communities.

CWA has been proud to work with President Obama on many issues. We’ll continue to do so, and to work with a broad coalition of allies – environmental groups, unions, consumer and good government groups, people of faith, seniors, students and many more – to restore economic and political democracy for working people. 


Contact: Candice Johnson,