The CWA News | We Must Stand Together or Fall Apart

Volume 75, Issue #3 | Fall 2015

CWA President Chris Shelton

I've been on the job as CWA President for about four months now. I see the work our members do every day, sustaining our communities and building a better nation for every working family. 

Not so long ago, our country would be thanking workers who are on the job, working to keep families and communities connected, informed, entertained, cared for, safe, in good health, and much more. Instead, too many right-wing elected officials and extremists are attacking workers and unions, holding them in contempt. How did working people become the villains? Why are working people blamed for the excesses of Wall Street crooks and the politicians who are in their pockets?

The American Dream isn't only for Wall Street bankers and the 1 percent. It's for all of us who want to improve our standard of living.

The American Dream isn’t only for Wall Street bankers and the 1 percent. It’s for all of us who want to improve our standard of living and help our children and grandchildren to have an even better life.

As we continue bargaining contracts for 200,000 CWA members this year, we’re seeing some incredible examples of corporate greed. At wealthy companies like United Airlines, AT&T, Verizon, and others, it’s a big challenge to overcome management’s demands for givebacks while it tries to keep even more of the economic pie for itself.

In New Jersey, public workers are scapegoated for their pensions of $19,000 a year, while fat cats get another handout from Gov. Chris Christie. In Detroit, bankers have stripped the community bare.

We’re fighting against this assault on the rights of working people and we’re determined to get good contracts that increase the standard of living of our members and their families.

At our convention in June, I asked, “Will you stand up and fight for every CWA member?” And it’s happening, across our sectors, from public service and universities to airlines to telecommunications. Our solidarity is making a big difference.

Like you, I’m sick and tired of corporations paying their CEOs 300 or 400 or 1000 times what the average frontline worker makes, then demanding givebacks and concessions from us at the bargaining table.  I’m tired of these CEOs taking the credit and the reward for our productivity and our work. The 1 percent is doing better than ever, and since the end of the Great Recession they’ve captured 95 percent of all income gains. Now, it’s our turn. 

This issue of the CWA News looks at some of the bargaining that’s been underway this year.  It also outlines our political process for determining whether CWA will endorse a candidate in the presidential primary.

CWA doesn’t get out in front of our members, and that’s why we will have an online poll, so that members can indicate their presidential preferences.

In this issue, you’ll find information and links on all the declared candidates plus an outline of the process we’ll follow. The online survey is open now and will remain open for member voting through November. Along the way we’ll have worksite activities, a telephone town hall and other actions around the political process.   This information will be available on the website, and on our CWA app.

Every day, Secretary-Treasurer Steffens and I, the CWA Executive Board and local leaders are working to improve the lives of our members and their families. We’re working with our allies and partners to safeguard the right to vote, and to restore our democracy by getting big money out of politics. We’re building a movement for economic justice and fairness across this country, and we need the support of every CWA member to get it done.  If we don’t stand up and fight for each other, no one will, so we must stand together or fall apart.