- Wednesday, May 17th
- Thursday, May 18th
- Friday, May 19th
- Lead Activist Bios
- The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House
by Audre Lorde (1979)
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Over the course of two and a half days, the CWA Next Generation Young Activists Forum will inspire and educate a group of our union’s most passionate and promising young leaders. Next Gen activists from across the country will hear from special guest presenters about the power of collective action in our communities and our workplaces. Participants will gain new organizing skills as well as a clear follow up plan to bring back to their Locals and communities. Together, 50 young union activists and a dozen experienced mentors will forge new connections and inspire each other to take their activism to the next level.
Who? CWA members aged 35 and younger ready to get active in their union, work closely with their District or Sector Lead Activist to strengthen the Next Generation program and support fellow young members of their local.
When? 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 17 (EDT) — 4 p.m. Friday, May 19 (EDT)
Where? Intercontinental Hotel, 9801 Carnegie Avenue, Cleveland, OH
All locations are on the 2nd Floor of the Intercontinental Cleveland Hotel.
Wednesday, May 17
SIX CONTINENTS ROOM
|6:00-7:45 p.m.||KICK OFF AND INTRODUCTIONS, Vice President Lisa Bolton, CWA Next Generation
PANEL: YOUNG WORKERS ORGANIZING FOR POWER
Moderator: Ciarán Coyle, Organizer, CODE-CWA
Margaret Casteel, McKay’s Used Books, CWA Local 3805
Ethan Salerius, TCGPlayer, CWA Local 1123
George Kerr III, New Flyer, IUE-CWA
|7:45-9:00 p.m.||DINNER RECEPTION|
Thursday, May 18
SIX CONTINENTS ROOM
|8:00-8:30 a.m.||BREAKFAST BUFFET|
|8:30-9:45 a.m.||WELCOME TO CLEVELAND, Vice President Linda Hinton, CWA District 4
POWER OF STORIES, Curtis Hierro, CWA Senior Campaign Lead
YOUNG WORKERS AND CWA’S FUTURE, Sara Steffens, CWA Secretary-Treasurer
PANEL: MOVING MEMBERS TO ACTION
CWA 101: EMPOWERING YOUNG MEMBERS
|11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.||
PANEL: STRATEGIES FOR BUILDING A MORE INCLUSIVE UNION
|12:45-1:45 p.m.||LUNCH AND KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY REPRESENTATIVE MAXWELL FROST|
MEETING ROOMS 203 and 204
WORKSHOP 1: TAKING ON THE 1% AGENDA (ROOM 203)
|3:15-5:15 p.m.||PLANNING SESSION|
|6:00-7:00 p.m.||DINNER BUFFET|
Friday, May 19
SIX CONTINENTS ROOM
|8:30-9:00 a.m.||BREAKFAST BUFFET|
|9:00-10:30 a.m.||PLANNING PRESENTATIONS|
|10:45-12:00 p.m.||WORKSHOP 1: TAKING ON THE 1% AGENDA (ROOM 203)
Thomas Walker, Assistant to Vice President, Public, Healthcare, Education Workers-CWA
WORKSHOP 2: CONVERSATIONS THAT MOVE US (ROOM 204)
Curtis Hierro, Senior Campaign Lead, CWA
SIX CONTINENTS ROOM
|1:00-2:30 p.m.||DISTRICT/SECTOR PLANNING SESSION|
|2:30-3:00 p.m.||WRAP UP AND NEXT STEPS|
NEXT GEN LEAD ACTIVISTS
- Amanda Bratcher, CWA Local 3808, Lead Activist for District 3
- Britni Cuington, CWA Local 6215, Lead Activist for District 6
- Mitchell Deachin, CWA Local 4008, Lead Activist for District 4
- Carissa Hahn, CWA Local 37083, Lead Activist for District 7
- Axel Hawkins, United Campus Workers, Lead Activist for PHEW-CWA
- John Mendoza, CWA Local 9408, Lead Activist for District 9
- Megan Simpson, CWA Local 83761, Lead Activist for IUE-CWA
- Ashley Suarez, CWA Local 59051, Lead Activist for District 9
- Justin Tapia, CWA Local 2106, Lead Activist for District 2-13
Lisa Bolton, Vice President, CWA Telecommunications & Technologies Sector
In addition to leading the T & T Sector since 2015, Lisa has been CWA Next Generation’s Director and most passionate advocate since 2017. Lisa, who was formerly president of Local 7777 in Colorado, believes in the promise and power of young people to strengthen the labor movement and transform American politics.
Margaret Casteel, CWA Local 3805
Margaret is a member of the organizing committee at McKay's, a small chain of used bookstores in Tennessee and North Carolina. After a long pandemic-era battle, the workers held a successful vote in the fall of 2022 and are now bargaining their first contract.
Ciarán Coyle, Campaign Assistant, CODE-CWA
Ciarán and fellow graduate student employees of Fordham University organized the Fordham Graduate Student Workers in 2022 to raise their pay to a living wage, secure affordable health insurance, and create formal grievance structures. He is now a campaign assistant with CODE-CWA, which organizes tech, game, and digital workers.
Maxwell Frost, Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-FL-10)
Max is a passionate activist and the first Gen Z member of Congress. He was galvanized to speak out and fight for causes he believes in while in high school in Florida, volunteering with the Newtown Action Alliance to end gun violence and canvassing for Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Margaret Good. He was also the national organizing director of March for Our Lives. Max is a tireless supporter of the labor movement, environmental justice, and healthcare for all. In March 2023, he introduced his first bill in Congress to establish a national office for gun violence prevention.
Christian Gonzalez, IUE-CWA Local 81301
Christian is a union steward at General Electric in Schenectady, New York, who arrived at the plant as one of just ten people of color in a workforce of more than 1200. He spent the past two years organizing a successful bargaining campaign. On April 18, 2023, IUE-CWA workers in Jamestown won an agreement with GE that included a 12% raise over two years.
Curtis Hierro, Senior Legislative/Political Lead, CWA
Curtis is a highly skilled and dedicated organizer who grew up in Miami. He is devoted to building workers’ political power in Florida and across the United States. He is a former field director for Dream Defenders, an organization fighting for justice, human rights, and an end to the school-to-prison pipeline. He is also AFL-CIO Vice President for South Florida and believes in cross-union collaboration.
Linda Hinton, Vice President, CWA District 4
Linda began her career in telecommunications at Ohio Bell in 1970 and quickly became a union activist. She was elected Vice President and then President of CWA Local 4310. As the first woman Vice President of CWA District 4 and a leader of CWA’s Women’s Political Program, she is devoted to gender equity and supporting all women workers. Linda is also a proud member of the Minority Caucus, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, and the A. Philip Randolph Institute.
Etana Jacobi, Senior Campaign Lead, IUE-CWA Political Program
Etana began her career as a teacher and a school union representative in Boston and then became a grassroots activist with the Halt Hunger Initiative to end food insecurity in Ohio. She is now a Senior Campaign Lead with IUE-CWA’s Political Program, where she fights to center workers’ voices in politics at all levels.
George Kerr III, IUE-CWA
George works at New Flyer, a manufacturer of public transit buses, including electric buses, in Jamestown, NY. He and his coworkers formed a union with IUE-CWA in August 2022, and they are currently in arbitration over wages, hoping to get their first contract soon as a result of an impressive neutrality agreement with the company.
Amy Masciola, TNG-CWA Local 32035
Amy has been the CWA Next Generation Coordinator since 2014 and has worked in the labor movement for more than 20 years. Amy has led campaigns to organize and mobilize workers in the printing, car washing, food processing, telecommunications, auto parts manufacturing, and airline industries, among others.
Cory Medina, CWA National Political Director
Cory is a seasoned strategist who spent time on a variety of political campaigns and served as a political director at the nonprofit Working America before coming to CWA in 2019. Cory believes in sharing stories member-to-member and building long-term power for the union and the labor movement.
Ethan Salerius, CWA Local 1123
Ethan Salerius works at TCGPlayer, the country’s largest online marketplace for trading cards, now owned by Ebay. Ethan comes from a union family and knew that TCG was ripe for organizing when he began working there in 2021. He was a member of the organizing committee and is now running to join the bargaining committee.
Sara Steffens, CWA Secretary-Treasurer
Sara began her career as a journalist covering unhoused and impoverished people on the West Coast. In 2008, she led a successful campaign to organize what is now the East Bay Times and was fired for her activism. She continued to work with The Newsguild and CWA to negotiate a fair contract. She has served as staff representative in District 9 and Secretary-Treasurer of The NewsGuild-CWA. She says that, “When working people unite and stand together, everything is possible.”
Thomas Walker, PHEW-CWA
Thomas is the Lead Activist for the Public, Healthcare, & Education Workers and got started in the labor movement by fighting for campus workers who were organizing for a union and a living wage in his home state of Tennessee. He has helped to transform United Campus Workers-CWA into a statewide political force to be reckoned with, deep in Right-to-Work country.
Halleli Zacher, CWA Local 7800
Halleli is on the bargaining team at the new Evergreen Workers Union, currently working on a contract with Washington Conservation Action. Halleli has been inspired by the concept of tikkun olam in Judaism that says the Earth is sacred and believes strongly in the transformative power of collective action.
Kathy Zhang, NewsGuild-CWA Local 31003
Kathy has been a senior analytics manager at the New York Times for 8 years and is a member of the Times Tech Guild, which is now bargaining a first contract for more than 600 data analysts, software engineers, and product managers. When Kathy began organizing, she found a queerphobic culture and anti-immigrant bias within the Times and the union, which she is now fighting hard to change.