With Texas Democrats feeling 2014 might just be their year after spending most of the past 20 years out of power in most of the state's key offices, CWAers came to this year's state political convention ready to make a difference.
That support included grassroots organizing help, and volunteers to help candidates in their races this year.
Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Wendy Davis hugs CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings.
Below: Many CWA members have participated in CWA's political training prorams in Texas.
District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings said that CWA wants to support candidates who support labor issues like Wendy Davis in her race for governor and Leticia Van de Putte, running for Lieutenant governor. He praised the work CWA boot camp members are doing, CWA's plans to build a broad movement across the state, and he spoke about the important role CWA and other unions will play in this upcoming election.
The union also sharpened focus on issues that connect with voters. For instance, joined by the Sierra Club and UAW, CWA hosted the state's first Fair Trade Caucus. Cummings co-chaired a forum before a packed room that explained how trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), if allowed to pass, would negatively affect the environment, erode labor laws and exploit workers more than they're being exploited now.
"We had a trade deal called the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) that not only did not create the jobs they promised us were going to be created, it hurt workers on both sides of the border," Cummings said. "And, if allowed to pass, TPP would lead to polluting our environment, further erode labor laws in the U.S. and exploit workers aboard."
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) called for fair trade but criticized the lack of transparency surrounding TPP negotiations.
"Our goal is to educate Democrats on the impact bad trade deals have on working families. That's why we're getting contacts, and we plan on keeping them informed about TPP and other labor issues," Ed Williams of Local 6215 said.
CWA has committed more resources than ever to organizing and political work in Texas. Beginning in February, the union raised more voluntary member Political Action Funds than in all of 2012 and began a boot camp program that has trained more than 200 members who are now doing systematic political work in their workplaces and on campaigns throughout Texas. This work by members on their worksites has, in turn, led to the increases in volunteers committing to work in the upcoming election cycle.
"Our boot camp program is focused on building our members' political skills," Derrick Osobase, CWA State Campaign Lead, said. "We want to train and increase the number of CWA members' doing work in Texas through the boot camps. At the end of the day, our goal is to build permanent political infrastructure that drives our agenda and holds both parties accountable."