Jan 13, 2011
CWA and Sierra Club members in Virginia met in early January to discuss shared goals and projects they can undertake together.
Strengthening a partnership that began a year ago, enthusiastic CWA and Sierra Club members in Virginia met last week for joint training to discuss their shared goals and how to work together to accomplish them. CWA led half of the sessions and Sierra led half, allowing both organizations to learn about each other's priorities.
"We were all struck by the similarities that we face," said CWA Local 2201 Executive Vice President Richard Hatch, who is coordinating the partnership in Virginia. "Our people formed great relationships with the Sierra Club folks and now the challenge will be to build upon this."
CWA and the Sierra Club already are working together on a Speed Matters campaign to bring high-speed broadband to Charles City County, a sprawling rural area that lags behind Virginia's big cities in Internet access. Following the success of the two-day workshop, leaders of both groups say they’re optimistic about future collaboration.
"We started with 30 wary but willing participants and ended with 30 CWA-SC ambassadors eager to take our experiences back to our respective organizations," said Allison Chin, a national board member for the Sierra Club. Like Hatch, she said similarities in "our organizations, our motivations, our allies, our opponents, and the issues we care about" far outweighed differences.
Praising Hatch and the activists who attended, CWA President Larry Cohen said, "This is a great example of the deeper coalition-building we will need to do to build majority support on the key economic justice issues facing our members."