SESSION 1 Workshops
TUESDAY May 6, 2:30-3:45 p.m.
Effective Messaging for Activists on Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
There is a growing amount of information out there about the TPP and the fast track process that supporters want to use to get it through Congress without amendment. Between now and Election Day, we have a great opportunity to frame the message that TPP and fast track would be a disaster for U.S. workers and jobs, our environment, our communities, our public health and safety, and more.
This issue has broad support from our members and the public, democrats and republicans alike. But it matters how we talk about the issue. This workshop will review the latest polling and guide participants in framing effective messages for union and coalition activists, community supporters and the media.
Led by: Candice Johnson CWA Communications Director and Dan Byrnes, Media Coordinator, Sierra Club.
You Won't Believe What You Can Accomplish With These Free Tools: The Secret to Building a Movement Online
Online petitions. Facebook memes. Twitter chats. There are lots of ways to engage members and community activists online, but to be successful you need to choose the right tool to achieve your goals. In this session, experts from CWA and MoveOn.org will review the online tools that are available to grassroots activists, explain how you can get MoveOn.org members involved in your issue, and provide you with the insights you need to run an effective online campaign.
Led by: Beth Allen CWA Director On-Line Communications and Heidi Thompson, MoveOn.org
Public Financing of Elections & The Government By the People Act
The Government by the People Act (HR. 20), introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) increases the power of the small contributions that ordinary citizens can afford to give, providing incentives for congressional candidates to reach out to average constituents, not just dial for dollars from wealthy donors. It’s the single best policy we can immediately enact to democratize the influence of money in politics. This workshop will focus on the merits of public financing, the particulars of H.R. 20, and a grassroots strategy to get it passed into law.
Led by: John O’Malley of CWA Local 1120 and Karen Scharf Citizen Action of New York, Betty Ahems, Public Campaign and Raymond O’Mara Congressman Sarbanes Office
Given the recent Supreme Court rulings on campaign finance and the increasing power of corporations in our political process, democrats are closer to the republicans than ever before pushing policies that outsource our jobs, create corporate give always and hurt workers everywhere. Many times, except for the D before their name, there is increasingly little difference in the voting record between some Democrats and Republicans. Yet, in places where Labor is still strong, or where we have joined with other progressive allies to support a pro-worker agenda and hold elected accountable, we have been successful at making elected officials do the right thing for workers. This workshop will delve into and discuss those examples, what are best practices and lessons learned from CWA and allies we have partnered with, to keep elected officials accountable.
Led by: Rafael Navar, CWA Political Director; Madelyn Elder, CWA Executive Board At Large Member and Oregon Working Families Party; Fred Azcarate, Executive Director USAction; Bob Master, CWA District 1 Political Director and NY Working Families Party,
State Budget Shortfalls: How to Fight Back
The aftermath of the great recession and years of cuts have left many state budgets short on funding. Across the country members are finding new and innovative ways to fight back against budget cuts and other attacks on our members. This workshop will focus on comparing the experiences of several locals that have worked with coalitions in state budget battles, examining the successes and failures of different approaches and what lessons can be learned for future campaigns.
Led by: Liz Roberson, Assistant to Vice President, CWA Public, Healthcare. & Education Workers; Judy Lugo, President TSEU CWA Local 6186; Brenda Scott, President MASE CWA Local 3570; Mia Ibarra, Outreach Associate Center for Public Policy Priorities.
Voting Rights in the States
In Missouri, CWA is a key part of building a broad movement with a comprehensive agenda for workers. CWAers have helped to build a vital and powerful Jobs with Justice Coalition that is winning defensive battles to keep historic anti-worker legislative majorities from passing anti-worker legislation ranging from right to work and paycheck deception laws to eliminating child labor restrictions and the minimum wage. At the same time, this coalition of labor, faith, student and community groups is laying a foundation to move forward on a progressive agenda. will talk about their work to expand voting right, the minimum wage and stop predatory lending and the challenges they have shad to overcome to maintain and strengthen their unity.
Led by: Chris Kennedy, CWA Human Rights Director; Bradley Harmon, President CWA Local 6355 and Lara Granich, Executive Director Missouri Jobs with Justice.
Creating Change from the Ground Up: Grass Roots Activism on LGBT Issues
Protection against discrimination is a basic human right. Unfortunately, many hard working Americans are denied job opportunities and even fired simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) currently working its way through Congress will provide basic protection against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This workshop will be led by CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins and the Task Force, which is the major "boots-on-the-ground" organization passing marriage equality initiative across the country. Come learn how this Strategic Partner Organization is changing the hearts and minds of the body politic on this and other LGBT issue.
Led by: Ron Collins, CWA Chief of Staff and Sara Reece, Director of the Academy for Leadership and Action, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Lobbying is an important part of any legislative or political strategy – but not in the way you think. While corporations access their coffers to spend billions on top-gun lobbyists, we have to rely on our strength: our members and the collective power of the people. In this workshop we’ll talk about effective grassroots lobbying strategies, including how to network and build a successful coalition, organize lobbying materials, and how to meet face-to-face with Members of Congress.
Led by: Shane Larson CWA Legislative Director
Movement Building: Immigration Reform & Workers
CWA and CASA de Maryland present on a major civil rights struggle of our time. Learn the basic history on immigration in the US, how it has evolved and its current broken system and the effect it has on ALL workers- documented and undocumented. Find out about the current ‘state of play’ of the current immigration legislation in the Senate and House. We will discuss what the President can do through Administrative Relief to stop the deportations of hard working immigrants. Come join us and share your family immigrant story and participation in actions for comprehensive immigration reform.
Led by: Yvette Herrera, CWA Senior Director and Gustavo Torres, Executive Director CASA de Maryland.
Inequality for All
Robert Reich’s movie Inequality for All can be very helpful to rank and file leaders. It exposes the heart of our economic problem, something that’s been getting worse and worse for over 30 years, widening inequality. Our members are stressed. They’re angry and frustrated; some take it out on their Local union leaders.
Union members need to understand what’s happening to them – because from their perspective, the picture looks pretty bleak. We all need to take a step back and understand the big picture, or we may never get ourselves out of this mess. Our democracy as we know it depends on it.
One of the best ways to help people understand the challenges we face, is with a movie that can grab an audience and move them to action. And this movie does that.
Led by: Arthur Cheliotes, President of CWA Local 1180 and Steve Spaulding, Counsel Common Cause will lead a discussion.
NOTE: This is a double workshop and runs 2:30 pm 5:15 pm
SESSION 2 Workshops
TUESDAY May 6, 4:00-5:15 p.m.
Building our Movement Online
See description in Session 1 workshop listings.
Holding Democrats Accountable
See description in Session 1 workshop listings
A Guide to Effective Lobbying
See description in Session 1 workshop listings.
Raising Wages Campaign
The defining economic fact of the past generation is simple: productivity has gone way up, and wages have stayed flat. This workshop will talk about what to do about it and how to talk about it. The focus will be on the AFL-CIOs Raising Wages narrative and action framework that defines a larger, permanent, and genuinely fresh direction for American workers and signals a new phase in the AFL-CIO’s mission. Join the AFL-CIO’s workshop to learn more.
Led by: Katie Corrigan, Assistant to AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer
In order to win the fights and challenges ahead we must build the broadest movement possible. This means building or renewing relationships with organizations and individuals we may not regularly communicate with. CWA retirees cross sectors, geographic regions and demographics and represent an opportunity for mobilization, movement building and union growth. Of the 180,000 former members and retirees in our database around 70,000 are active with the union in some limited capacity and only 30,000 of those are chapter members some of whom are active participants. Retirees can potentially be an activist resource in your state. This workshop will discuss opportunities to engage retirees in your mobilizationcampaigns including addressing challenges folks face.
Led by: Melinda Gibson, CWA National Retiree Director
Demanding Democracy: How Do We Get Out of This Mess?
Looking at America in 2014, American democracy is under siege. From attempts to restrict the right to vote, assaults on civil liberties and other ideals, to historic levels of income inequality. The very foundation of our country and government is at stake. But what are we to do? We will look at structural issues such as redistricting, the implications of the electoral college system and the current system of registration and voting as well as proposed solutions to make the US more democratic such as redistricting reform, National Popular Vote and modernizing voting.
Led by: Dan Vicuna, National Redistricting Coordinator, Common Cause, Scott Drexel, Consultant, National Popular Vote and Adam Lioz, Counse, Demos.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus: A Voice for Change.
The Republican majority in the House of Representatives has been obsessed with slashing government spending, making it harder for working Americans to find decent jobs and to save for the future. The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) introduced The “Better Off Budget” to reverse the damage from the Republican austerity agenda and to restore our economy by creating 8.8 million jobs by 2017. This workshop will review and discuss CPC budget proposals.
Led by: Mike Darner, Executive Director Congressional Progressive Caucus
Telecom Policy Issues
How can we join with progressive allies to support telecom policies that promote affordable quality service and good union jobs? What regulatory framework is required to advance these goals and to assure that the rules apply equally to all carriers? This workshop will provide an overview of developments at the state and federal level, and an opportunity to hear from CWA activists engaged in recent regulatory fights in the states.
Led by: Debbie Goldman CWA Research Economist
Getting Big Money out of Politics
Our elections are dominated by Big Money. The Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling now allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on our elections. In this workshop we’ll discuss the epidemic of Money in Politics and the ways it perverts our democracy. We’ll also talk about the ways in which groups like CWA, Common Cause, People for the American Way, Public Citizen and US PIRG are fighting back.
Led by: Margrete Strand Executive Vice President Public Citizen; Marge Baker Executive Vice President People for the American Way; Karen Hobart Flynn Senior Vice President Common Cause.
The Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on CWA Members
The Affordable Care Act, (a.k.a., Obamacare) is a target of attacks from both the left and the right. This workshop will provide an overview of the law, its key provisions, its likely impact on plans covering CWA members and its potential for retirees and low-wage workers.
Led by: Louise Novotny, CWA Director of Research