News

99 Percent Spring/Challenging Corporate Power Is Coming

CWA activists are headed to spring training.

Next month, 2,000 CWA activists will be attending training to lead nonviolent, direct protests aimed at reigniting the enthusiasm and passion of Occupy Wall Street and Wisconsin uprisings. CWA joins more than 60 progressive groups — collectively called the 99 Percent Spring — that will be training a total of 100,000 activists at 700 trainings in 48 states.

"We call on our members in CWA, across labor, across all progressive groups to answer the call — the call for training in April and the call to march on all spring. To say to the 1 percent, 'You have peaked. We are back. We are standing up and fighting back,'" said CWA President Larry Cohen on a media conference call.

The 99 Percent Spring activists will be targeting at least 40 companies, including Verizon, Chevron and Wells Fargo. In what's been dubbed "Shareholder's Spring," activists will protest at shareholder meetings — including the Bank of America's annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C.

Other actions will include home occupations to prevent foreclosures and student-led protests against Sallie Mae and other entities that have profited from student loan debt.

Jake Lake of CWA Local 1111 trained in DC this week with 100 other participants to be a 99 Percent Spring/Challenging Corporate Power trainer during the week of April 9 to 15. Next week he'll continue with coalition training in New York City, where 1,100 people will be preparing to launch the April workshops.

"We definitely need to have people power and grow our coalition," he said. "That's key to our future as middle-class Americans and the 99 percent. There's already a lot of commonalities between the groups, which is cool."

On the media call, organization leaders highlighted the erosion of union bargaining rights, voter suppression, attacks on immigrants and corporate money in politics.

"It's time for us as the 99 percent to really talk about, imagine, demand and organize around our vision for a new economy," said Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs with Justice.

Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn.org, said history is already on our side.

"From the labor movement to the struggle for civil rights, we have this incredible shared history in America of everyday folks using their own power and using nonviolent, direct action to create change at the moments that our country most needed it," said Ruben. "And we think that's what has to happen now, again."

Click here to see why CWA members identify with the 99 Percent Spring/Challenging Corporate Power movement.