June 25, 2009

  • Thousands of CWA Members Unite in Lobby Day

  • Health care reform: 'We Can't Afford to Wait'

  • Together We are Stronger: Moving Closer to a United Labor Movement

  • Biden, Harkin, Solis Stand Up for Employee Free Choice

  • District 3 and 9 Vice Presidents Elected

  • More Convention/Legislative-Political Conference News

  • Thousands of CWA Members Unite in Lobby Day

    CWAers converge on Capitol Hill. CWA members scheduled more than 200 meetings on Capitol Hill with their senators and representatives and staff.

    CWA's biggest Lobby Day ever was a huge success.

    Thousands of CWA members, in local and district delegations, fanned out over Capitol Hill to the offices of their Senators and Representatives and pushed hard for support for the Employee Free Choice Act and real health care reform.

    CWAers were in Washington, D.C. for the 71st convention/legislative-political conference at exactly the right time, with Congress set to take action on Employee Free Choice, health care reform and many more critical issues for working families.

    CWA District 4 members and Vice President Seth Rosen meet with Indiana Senator Evan Bayh.


    During more than 200 appointments with members of Congress and their staffs, CWA members made sure that elected representatives were put on notice: "we're watching your votes on our top priorities and we'll make sure we know which side you're on."

    CWA members met with more than 30 Senators and their staffs, a few of whom are reported to be a little "uncertain" about Employee Free Choice. CWA members are pointing out that the Employee Free Choice Act has very strong support among the American people and deserves a Senate vote.

    We'll continue to meet with senators and representatives in their district offices over the July 4 recess.  

    CWA Local 7603 President Brent Duvall (facing camera) and Local 7621 President Dick Marsden meet with Sen. Mike Crapo, (R-Idaho) and staff on Employee Free Choice and health care reform.

    In meetings with more than 170 House members, health care reform was a big issue, with CWAers pressing for real health care reform that does not tax benefits, that covers pre-Medicare eligible retirees, that includes a20public plan option and that requires all employers to cover their workers.


    Health care reform: 'We Can't Afford to Wait'

    Everyone is fired up for real health care reform! A sea of CWAers in red was a big part of the huge rally in front of the U.S. Capitol, where more than 10,000 union members and activists came together to tell Congress that it's time for real health care reform.

    The Health Care for America Now rally was one of the biggest health care rallies ever in the nation's capital.

    More than a thousand CWA members were there. Some came after attending the convention/legislative political conference and CWA's hugely successful Lobby Day. Many more CWAers came on 54 buses – traveling overnight and for many, many hours – to join thousands of other union members who came from across the country to make sure health care reform gets done right.

    Lots of players there. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) who is helping lead the fight for a public plan option, said, it's "time for the greatest country in the world to have the greatest healthcare in the world." He pointed to the Capitol and said: "We can't do this alone. We need to do this together. Hold everybody in that building's feet to the fire."

    Actress Edie Falco (you know, Nurse Jackie and Carmela Soprano) brought star power and a message: "We can no longer afford to wait."

    CWA Pres ident Larry Cohen said now's the time: "A united movement to change our country and a united movement for health care for all."

    Following the rally, everyone followed Senator Schumer's advice and took that energy to Capitol Hill for meetings with their representatives and senators.

    More than 1,000 CWAers rally for Health Care for All NOW. 

    Together We are Stronger: Moving Closer to a United Labor Movement

    Dennis Van Roekel, president of NEA, Randi Weingarten, president of AFT and CWA Pres. Larry Cohen join forces for a united labor movement.

    In a first-ever joint appearance, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel stood together at CWA's convention and called for a united labor movement.

    Weingarten and Van Roekel are part of the National Labor Coordinating Committee which is working to bring together unions representing 16 million workers, to make sure that labor is a real force in organizing, in building our power and in working to restore middle class families. CWA President Cohen has been a leading voice in this effort.

    The CWA convention voted to explore new ways to work with the AFL-CIO, Change to Win and the National Education Association and new ways to support each other's campaigns.

    "It has never been more important for the union movement to be united so that we can fully take advantage of these opportunities. Together, we're stronger. That's true for us within CWA and true for the entire labor movement," delegates said. 

    Biden, Harkin, Solis Stand Up for Employee Free Choice

    Vice President Biden shows his support for Employee Free Choice.

    Before heading off for Lobby Day, CWA members got a terrific send-off from Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

    Biden said the Obama administration is committed to giving workers the bargaining power we need to rebuild the middle class.

    That idea "is not anti-business. It isn't anti-corporate. It isn't anti-anything," Biden said. "It's pro making sure that people who have a stake in the game and a contribution to make are able to sit at the table. You can't do that if you can't get to be organized. We need to restore some balance to this system," he said.

    Harkin, who is leading the Employee Free Choice campaign in the Senate asked, "Why should people have to crawl across broken glass and go through a kind of boot-camp hell in order to join a perfectly legal organization? So our goal is to restore some measure of balance and fairness to the organizing process." He pledged to do everything possible to make the Employee Free Choice Act law this summer.

    At the Rayburn House Office building, "Best House Speaker Ever" Nancy Pelosi tells CWAers that "we will win real health care reform."< /EM>

    Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis reaffirmed President Obama's support for the Employee Free Choice Act, stressing that the administration believes 100 percent that "in order to rebuild the middle class, we need to restore fairness and that's why we need the Employee Free Choice Act." 




    District 3 and 9 Vice Presidents Elected

    Delegates from Districts 3 and 9 elected vice presidents at the 71st convention.

    Pres. Cohen swears in new vice presidents Judy Dennis and Jim Weitkamp.

    District 3's new Vice President is Judy Dennis, who has served as administrative director to the District 3 vice president since 2005. She first joined staff in 1999 as a CWA Representative and served Local 3207 as president and in several other positions. Dennis replaces Beverly Hicks who was appointed to fill the unexpired term of former vice president Noah Savant who retired in January.

    Jim Weitkamp was elected as District 9 Vice President. Weitkamp, a member of C WA 9505 since 1977, joined CWA's staff as Southern California Director in 1988 and had served as assistant to the District 9 vice president since 2004. He was appointed District 9 vice president in January following the retirement of former vice president Tony Bixler.

    More Convention/Legislative-Political Conference News

    Get more! Video highlights, speeches and photos from CWA 71st Convention/Legislative-Political Conference are posted at www.cwa-union.org and http://www.cwa-union.org/convention2009/video.html.

    New material will be posted over the next few days, so keep checking back.