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Voices from the Floor

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Terez Woods

President, Local 4309

Cleveland, Ohio

Customer service representative Ameritech

“It’s critical that we have people in office who are going to stand up for the workers and protect the laws that are in place but under attack. Employers are squeezing workers, doubling and tripling quotas, disregarding their physical well-being. Unless we have agencies like OSHA and laws to back them, and people in Congress who will absolutely ensure that Social Security is going to be here and state legislators who are going to make sure that people are fairly represented by not messing around with the districts in a way that makes those who are already advantaged, more advantaged, it’s going to be a tough road for workers. I have 27 years with the phone company. I know what it’s like to work under a Republican administration and I know what it’s like to work under a Democratic administration. And I can tell you, the best years of my work life have been under a Democratic administration.”

Marge Caldwell- Wilson

President, Local 1087

Freehold, N.J.

Child support


Monmouth County

“This election is critical. We need to elect Al Gore, because there is no such thing as a labor-friendly Republican president, and it trickles down from there. We need a president who cares about labor and is going to be able to work with House representatives and senators to stop them from repealing laws like the Davis-Bacon Act and work toward improving the minimum wage. Even the smallest locals can mobilize their members. We’ll do mailings, we’ll do recommendations and we will have the Senate candidates and congressional candidates come to our meetings so our members can see them firsthand. That generates a lot of electricity.”

Diane Bacon

Arizona State CWA Council Legislative-Political Director

Local 7019

Phoenix, Ariz.

Customer service representative USWest

“Over the past 10 to 15 years, there’s been a real push, a revitalization of our enemies who want to silence our voices in the union. They know that labor is the last strong voice for working people in this country. If they can silence us, then their agenda gets through. We’re the people who make this country run. We’re the people who make the world run. We need people in Congress and a president who understand what working people go through. And, working people need to stick together.”

Cathy Bumgarner

President, Local 3640

Rural Hall, N.C.

Agent, US Airways

“There are a lot of issues out there, but what this election comes down to is the working family — the pocketbook, children. We need to put someone in office who’s going to be worker friendly, union friendly, from the top down. In our local, we’ve set up for people to be registered to vote. We have meetings where we present different papers and views, the candidates’ voting records. We’ve had offers from some of them to come in and talk to us, so we’re working on that.”

Jose Estrade

Legislative-Political Director, Local 6132 Austin, Texas

Repair technician, Southwestern Bell

“We’ve made a bunch of strides since we’ve had a Democratic president and I feel that if we elect George Bush we’re going to go backwards. Being from Texas, we know what he’s like. He’s going to try to repeal laws for workers and that’s not right. He doesn’t look out for the worker. He’s mainly interested in big business and people with the big money. In our local, we’re mobilizing, we’re sending out flyers, we’re making calls. We’re doing everything possible to make people aware of what the differences are, and how they affect the working person and the working family, especially the FMLA. We fought so hard to get it in and now, if Bush gets elected, there’s a good chance of it being repealed.”

Victoria Harris

Executive Board Local 3140

Orlando, Fla.

Agent, US Airways

“US Airways is new to CWA, so we’re just getting organized, but we’re very concerned with a couple of things this year. One of them is the proposed merger with United. Another is the Family and Medical Leave Act, and making sure it isn’t repealed. A Republican president could cost us all the gains we’ve made. Our purpose within our local is to get out door to door and get people registered to vote. Because we’re a bilingual state, we have a lot of different cultures working together to get the vote out. We’re going to set up in local neighborhoods, inform people about our issues and help them understand what is going to be lost if we don’t get a Democrat in office.”

Margaret Jones

Legislative-Political Director, Local 4309

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland State University librarian

“I’m a 30-year employee, so I’m very concerned about retirement benefits and social security. And I’m concerned about the prescription bill. That’s real important. It’s unfair when you’re on a lower income and you’re expected to make do, yet prescription costs are so high. I’m also concerned about new employees. They have problems with health care and child care, and management is putting so much pressure on them. We need a president and representatives in Congress and our state legislatures who care about these things. In our local, we have a political action committee. We’re going to be phone banking, we’re going to be mobilizing, we’re going to be leafleting to get out the vote.”