A three-day Organizing Institute in Jackson, Miss., brought together CWA public worker leaders and activists to focus on organizing, mobilizing and union building among the city of Jackson's workers.
CWAers from Locals 3570, Mississippi; 3865, Tennessee; 3179, Florida; 1077 and 1082, New Jersey; 81381, New York; and 9119, California, participated in the program.
CWAers join breakout sessions during the OI.
The 33 participants worked through principles of union organizing, including how to inoculate, or prepare workers for what employers sometimes do during organizing campaigns. Role-playing sessions demonstrated effective ways to assess, agitate and move workers to action, with workshops led by Liz Roberson, assistant to the vice president for public, health care and education workers, and Brenda Scott, president of CWA Local 3570. The Jackson city workers are members of the Mississippi Alliance of State Employees (MASE-CWA Local 3570).
Following the training, the 33 activists spent a day in on-site work visits in Jackson, talking with city workers and building support for CWA representation. "These visits were overwhelmingly positive, with workers signing up as we talked with them," the new organizers said. Many participants also signed up for steward training and are excited about building their union.
Participants heard from State Representative Jim Evans (D) and the assistant to Mayor Chokwe Lumumba (D). Lumumba was elected in June and CWA activists now have access to all city locations to talk with workers about union representation. CWA Vice President Brooks Sunkett, public, health care and education workers, and Booker Lester, administrative director to D3 Vice President Judy Dennis, also met with the group.