Resolution #78-21-07

Ending the Filibuster and Saving Our Democracy

For many years, CWA has played a key role in the broad movement working to strengthen and protect our democracy. Our priorities include expanding access to the ballot, freeing our political system from the corrupting influence of massive secret corporate spending and reforming our electoral and legislative systems to ensure that all Americans, not just the 1%, have a voice. CWA members recognize that we cannot make progress on the issues important to us -- from bargaining rights to retirement security, from health care reform to keeping good jobs in the United States -- if we don’t remove the barriers that block working people from participating fully in our democracy.

In the aftermath of the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and the desperate attempts of Donald Trump and his conspiracy-minded allies to undo the free and fair results of the 2020 Presidential Election, our democratic systems are under threat like never before. Controlled by extremists obsessed with hanging onto power at all costs, state legislatures around the country have enacted radical restrictions to ballot access and hampered the ability to conduct and tally elections free from partisan influence and interference.

At the same time, we stand on the edge of enacting critical reforms that would accomplish many of CWA’s long-sought goals through the Freedom to Vote Act. The Freedom to Vote Act would make Election Day a national holiday and create federal standards to ensure that all U.S. citizens have access to the ballot box by allowing for online voter registration, early voting and vote-by-mail opportunities. The bill reforms the redistricting system to prevent partisan gerrymandering of Congressional Districts. It reigns in the ability of big corporate donors to flood the electoral system secretly with billions of dollars from their profits. And it improves election security to prevent subversion of the electoral system.

This legislation was introduced by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia in a good-faith effort to reach a bipartisan consensus on common sense reforms that several Republican senators have, in the past, said they supported. Despite these claims, not a single Republican senator is willing to work towards finding common ground. Instead, they are using the filibuster to block even the ability to debate the Freedom to Vote Act on the Senate floor.

The filibuster as we know it today evolved through a loophole in Senate rules that was abused by supporters of the Confederacy and white supremacists to preserve the institution of slavery and later, to block expansion of voting rights to communities of color. The current abuse of the filibuster has created a supermajority requirement of 60 Senators to pass any legislation. This was never intended by the authors of the Constitution and was strongly rejected and criticized by them.

Today, the filibuster prevents debate on critical issues including minimum wage increases, labor law reforms such as the PRO Act, immigration reform and the Equality Act. It is long past time for this relic of slavery and Jim Crow to go -- and for the Senate to move immediately to pass the Freedom to Vote Act.

Resolved: CWA urges passage of The Freedom to Vote Act by the U.S. Congress.

Resolved: CWA will educate our members about the importance of this legislation and mobilize to support its final passage.

Resolved: CWA will fight to repeal the voter suppression measures enacted in a number of states and to block similar pending efforts in other states.

Resolved: CWA demands that the U.S. Senate act immediately to change the rules of the Senate to eliminate the filibuster and allow legislation to pass when approved by a majority of Senators voting.