New Project Builds Enthusiasm Among CWA Retirees

A new project to encourage more CWA retirees to become active and effective voices for our union got off to a great start with a series of three telephone town hall meetings.

More than 20,000 retirees participated in the hour-long calls.

The project is reaching out to retirees who haven't joined the RMC or haven't had much, if any, contact with CWA since their retirement. Judging from the enthusiasm of this week's calls, these CWAers want to re-engage and stand up to protect working families, said George Kohl, CWA senior director.

During the call, CWA retirees had the opportunity to ask live questions about whatever was on their minds, from Medicare and Social Security to the call center bill to keep good jobs here in the U.S. They also had the chance to weigh in on how the offshoring of call center jobs has affected them, and how they wanted to participate in future campaigns.

Kohl and Legislative Director Shane Larson worked through the hour-long program, with the help of two outstanding retiree leaders: Addie Brinkely, president of the RMC for California, Nevada and Hawaii; and Patrick Welch, president of the RMC for New York, New Jersey and New England.

Wyatt talked about the latest action that she and other CWA activists were involved in: a Tax Day protest that spotlighted companies like Verizon that don't pay their fair share of taxes. "We have to protect the benefits we have earned, and we all need to be a part of the fight," she said.

Welch stressed the importance of being active politically, by participating in CWA's political program and joining the Retired Members' Council. "We'll never match the big dollars of these corporations, but we have something else: people power," he said.

Currently, there are 50,000 CWA retirees who are active RMC members. This initial stage of the retiree project is contacting another 100,000 retirees.