Resolution # 77A-19-03

Strengthening CWA With a ‘Steward Strong’ Campaign

CWA is as strong as our base of engaged membership. We know that our stewards are key to engaging our members in order to achieve all aspects of the CWA Triangle: representation, movement building, and organizing. Without a doubt, stewards play the most crucial role in building our power.

The challenges we face underscore the need for CWA to strengthen the support we provide to the fundamental source of our power: our stewards. CWA STRONG polling shows that where members report a high degree of steward contact, they are 20 to 25 percent more likely to say CWA is doing a “good to excellent job” fighting for members and are more likely to have been asked to get involved in bargaining, political, and legislative fights.

The critical role of strong stewards was evident in the AT&T Mobility Orange contract fight. A systematic effort to build a workplace steward and mobilization structure empowered workers to conduct an aggressive mobilization campaign, including an unprecedented four-day strike. In the process, numerous new workplace leaders emerged and the spirit of our union blossomed.

We have already begun the process of improving our steward education and development program. A CWA Steward Strong campaign will strengthen and deepen this effort and advance our goal of expanding the number of stewards by 10 percent so that every workgroup has at least one trained steward. This program will require dedicated resources, as well as an understanding of the expanded role of the steward as an activist, organizer, and problem-solver.

Resolved: CWA commits to address the current economic, political, and democratic crisis of our time by preparing stewards with a comprehensive power analysis of our employers, and training and support to deepen the skills needed for effective grievance-handling, mobilization, organizing, and movement building.

Resolved: CWA will launch as a top priority a CWA Steward Strong campaign, which will redefine the role of the steward with a focus on building worker power and generating pressure on employers to address the workplace needs of our members. This broader view of the steward will not only include representation but also utilizing structured mobilization, strengthen our legislative and political impact and our connections with grassroots coalition partners to move our members’ issues.

Resolved: CWA will develop and support a campaign that includes a systematic plan and program to help locals expand and strengthen their steward structures. This will include conducting a comprehensive census of existing workplace organization, creating local-by-local goals to increase steward representation, undertaking targeted mobilization activities, and implementing a comprehensive campaign of steward education and development.

Resolved:  The CWA national union, districts, divisions, sectors, staff, and every local will make achieving a steward workgroup ratio and structure a priority in an effort to engage our members in building worker power using all sides of the CWA Triangle.