CWA members in Jackson, Miss., are celebrating the end of two years of harsh furloughs. To balance the budget at the end of 2015, the former mayor initiated a two-day per month furlough for city workers. For Jackson city workers, this was equivalent to a nearly 10% wage cut.
MASE/CWA Local 3570, in conjunction with the Public, Healthcare, and Education Workers department, launched a campaign to challenge the furlough. Monthly actions pressured City Hall, and the campaign inspired over 50 new members to join CWA.
In the spring of 2017, then Mayoral candidate Chokwe Lumumba announced his opposition to the furlough, and CWA activists worked hard for his election. CWAers attended a Political Activist Bootcamp for city workers, knocked on hundreds of doors, and staffed phone banks. CWA was the only union to endorse Lumumba prior to the all-important Democratic primary.
"We are excited to announce the elimination of the furlough effective October 1, 2017," said Mayor Lumumba. "We have a progressive vision for our city, one that includes treating city employees with the dignity and respect they deserve. Ending the furlough allows us to demonstrate our commitment to and appreciation of our hard-working city employees."
CWA Public, Healthcare, and Education Workers Vice President Brooks Sunkett said the end of the furlough will spur further and deeper organizing in Mississippi. "Ending the furlough is just the first step. We won't stop until all public sector workers in Mississippi have rights on the job. His decision to end the furlough shows that Chokwe Lumumba is leading a new era for workers’ rights in the South."
Jackson CWA members rally for fair pay.