We Need an Economy and Democracy That Works for All

The following is the statement issued by CWA on President Obama's State of the Union Address:

CWA commended President Obama for his proposals to help ensure that working and middle class Americans benefit as our economy slowly improves.

We must bring quality jobs back to the U.S. by eliminating tax benefits for companies that send U.S. jobs overseas. CWA strongly supports legislation that would end taxpayer subsidies for corporations that move call center jobs offshore, among other measures. There must be tough public policy that encourages corporations — especially those that focus on the U.S. market — to keep good jobs here.

And as the President moves forward on a trade agreement with the European Union, we will work to make sure that the bargaining and organizing rights essential in European nations such as Germany are reciprocal in the U.S. We will work with global labor to that end, as we will do with the Trans Pacific Partnership.

CWA supports the President's plan to create a real path to citizenship for 11 million workers and their children. It's to the benefit of American workers and the U.S. economy to bring these immigrants out of the shadow, with the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship. But true immigration reform is just one of several key democracy initiatives that must be addressed by our nation.

Another was clearly illustrated by one of the First Lady's invited guests, a 102-year old Haitian immigrant and Florida citizen, Desaline Victor, who was forced to wait in line for three hours to cast her vote in the 2012 election. Our country prides itself on being the world's exceptional democracy. But this isn't how democracy works. Universal voting rights and fixing a broken election system are the hallmark of a real democracy.

We must also address the corrosive influence of money in politics. CWA and progressive allies will continue to fight to overturn the Supreme Court's disastrous "Citizens United" decision. Corporations are not people and are not entitled to constitutional rights.

Working and middle class families already have endured 40 years of stagnant and falling wages. They've watched thousands of their jobs go offshore to the benefit a handful of our nation's wealthiest individuals. Now it's time for economic policies that create good jobs in the U.S. and enable workers to have a voice through bargaining rights.