With the looming threat of a decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case that would reduce workers' power to join together in strong unions to speak up for themselves, their families, and their communities, CWA Local 1180 is working to meet attacks on public sector unions head-on and make sure that the local stays strong and unified. The local represents 8,500 New York City workers and 6,200 retirees, and is one of CWA's largest public sector locals.
As part of the CWA STRONG program, Local 1180 has enlisted the help of retiree members in strengthening its organizing work. The "Retiree Membership Brigade," or RMB program, was launched in February with a goal of signing up agency fee payers as well as building one-on-one relationships with members. Inspired by a similar program run by AFSCME DC37, CWA Local 1180 recruited eight retirees to go out to worksites two to three times per week to talk to members and agency fee payers about why the union is important, as well as survey the membership on their views of the union and on what the union should be working.
"The conversations are interesting. People have been receptive. They say things like, 'Just let them try to take our union,'" said Claudine Murphy, a Local 1180 retiree. "We discuss different scenarios from Right-to-Work states and people ask, 'Could that really happen here?' We say yes, it will – and we need to fight back. People realize how important the union is."
In just four months, RMBs have signed up 389 workers as full dues-paying CWA members, collected 581 surveys from members, and collected $245 in weekly contributions to CWA's Political Action Fund to build political power for workers.
CWA Local 1180 is working to meet attacks on public sector unions head-on and make CWA STRONG.