Communication Workers of America
501 3rd St NW, Washington, DC 20001
1.6 million+ active and retired membersOver 700,000 members in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico
IUE-CWA represents 150,000 active and retired men and women
Jobs with Justice
Partnered with the Sierra Club
5 Global Union Federations (UNI Global Union, International Federation of Journalists, International Metalworkers Federation, International Federation of Chemical Energy Mine and General Workers Unions, International Transport Workers Federation)
The CWA has five tiers of governing authority. In order, they are the Convention, Executive Board, District, Chartered Locals, and the Canadian Region. The biennial convention is where most big decisions and mandates are made. The Convention is comprised of the incumbent officers and Executive Board members of the Union and of delegates elected by the Locals. The Districts serve as administrative units of the Union. The Union includes some 1,200 chartered local unions across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
CWA-SCA Canada (Communication Workers of America Syndicat des communications d’Amerique) operates as an autonomous entity within The Newspaper Guild-CWA Sector and the CWA, through a Canadian Region, with regard to governance, policy and operational decisions affecting Canadian members. The Canadian Region is self-sufficient, and all expenses incurred by the operations of the Region are the responsibility of the Region.
- The CWA has organized itself into Industry Sectors. They include:
- The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA)
- CWA Telecommunications
- CWA Telecommunications and Technologies Sector
- CWA Industrial Division/International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers (IUE-CWA)
- Public Health Care and Education Workers Sector
- Newspaper Guild (TNG-CWA)
- National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA)
- National Coalition of Public Safety Officers-CWA (NCPSO-CWA)
- Printing, Publishing and Media Workers Sector
Larry Cohen, International President, Elected 2005
Larry Cohen was elected president of the Communications Workers of America in 2005, after serving as Executive Vice President for seven years.
Within CWA, he has built a highly respected and successful organizing program and has chaired the Organizing Committee of the AFL-CIO since 2005.
Cohen has expanded CWA’s membership mobilization program to create a network of union stewards and activists. He is a leading voice in focusing attention on the crisis in collective bargaining in the United States and the need for real reform.
Throughout his career, Cohen has led major contract negotiations in both the public and private sectors. Cohen was one of the first to recognize changes in telecommunications through the convergence of video, voice and data technologies, and the need to unify unionized workers in these sectors. He also has worked to expand CWA – the union now represents workers in information technology and communications; print and broadcast media and publishing; health care, education and public workers; manufacturing and the airline industry.
On the international scene, Cohen has worked to strengthen the effectiveness and solidarity of the international labor movement. He has expanded alliances with CWA’s counterpart unions in Latin America, Europe and Asia, and served as president of the 2.5 million-member Union Network International (UNI) Telecom Sector from 2001 until 2007, and continues to serve on the UNI World Executive Board.
Based on his long-held belief that unions must unite with other like-minded groups to further goals of economic justice, Cohen founded Jobs with Justice in 1987.
He is also a founder of American Rights at Work, and a member of the Democratic National Committee.
Annie Hill, Secretary-Treasurer, Elected 2011
Annie Hill was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Communications Workers of America on July 11, 2011, by delegates to the Union’s 73rd Convention.
With the CWA President, Hill works to advance the membership’s top priorities and initiatives.
Hill has been a leader in CWA since her earliest days as a union member. Most recently, she has served for three years as CWA Vice President for District 7, representing workers in 14 states. She was elected to that post in 2005.
As Vice President, Hill bargained critical contracts for members at Qwest Communications, among other employers, and put in place new structures in the district to better represent members across that region.
Hill also was a member of the executive board committee on diversity which was created to help give persons of color, women, and local union leaders a greater voice on the executive board. That measure was adopted by convention delegates in 2007.
She joined CWA in December 1976 as an outside technician for Pacific Northwest Bell, and was elected to two terms as President of Local 7904 in Salem, Oregon. She joined the District staff in Minneapolis in 1990. She went on to serve as an administrative assistant to the Vice President in 1994, then assistant to the Vice President in 1999, and then Executive Vice President in 2008.
Kenneth Peres is the CWA liason between Communications Workers of America and the Sierra Club firstname.lastname@example.org
Kenneth Peres is the CWA liason between Communications Workers of America and the Sierra Club email@example.com
Jim Clark the President of IUE-CWA speaks regularly on green job issues. Jim Clark has been the President of IUE-CWA, the Industrial Division of the Communications Workers of America, since April 2005. In that position, he oversees activities in the union’s manufacturing division, which covers nearly 300 local unions and more than 60,000 active members. Clark currently is spearheading the Division’s attempt to improve union members’ job security by bringing a union-friendly version of high performance, or lean, manufacturing into IUE-CWA worksites. He also is championing the creation of green jobs to restore jobs to America’s blighted heartland and increase our nation’s national security. IUE-CWA Headquarters: 2701 Dryden Rd. Dayton, OH 45439 (937) 298-9984 Fax: (937) 298-2636 (937) 298-9764
Jim Clark the President of IUE-CWA speaks regularly on green job issues. Jim Clark has been the President of IUE-CWA, the Industrial Division of the Communications Workers of America, since April 2005.
In that position, he oversees activities in the union’s manufacturing division, which covers nearly 300 local unions and more than 60,000 active members. Clark currently is spearheading the Division’s attempt to improve union members’ job security by bringing a union-friendly version of high performance, or lean, manufacturing into IUE-CWA worksites. He also is championing the creation of green jobs to restore jobs to America’s blighted heartland and increase our nation’s national security.
IUE-CWA Headquarters: 2701 Dryden Rd. Dayton, OH 45439 (937) 298-9984 Fax: (937) 298-2636 (937) 298-9764
CWA staffer Lauren Asplen is an important staff person and contact. She is the Assistant to the President of IUE-CWA and has written a post on the AFL-CIO blog entitled “Just Transition”: More Than Buzz Words and is an active staff person on climate change issues. She apparently has a budget for climate change related work. Her phone number is:
IUE-CWA Headquarters: 2701 Dryden Rd. Dayton, OH 45439 (937) 298-9984 Fax: (937) 298-2636 (937) 298-9752
The CWA recognize the attack on both the labor movement and environmental movement and has joined with the Sierra Club in attempt to form a counterattack. According to the CWA, the union has “taken a strong position on climate change, perhaps the most critical environmental issue of our time.” In February 2013, CWA called its members to join with the Sierra Club and thousands of other activists for the Forward on Climate Rally, one of the largest climate change “wake up call” rallies of the century. In April 2013, President Cohen also spoke on a Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference panel to underline the CWA’s strong stance. “It will take 50 million people really ready to fight, not just vote,” said Cohen. The panel agreed on a solid bottom line: we “need for a broad progressive movement to both address climate change and create good jobs.”
The CWA and Sierra Club’s joint work on the national level has encompassed workers’ rights to collectively bargain and organize, comprehensive climate and energy legislation, expanded broadband deployment for sustainable communities, fair trade policies that support workers rights, jobs, and the environment, support for democratic rights including Senate rules reform, campaign finance reform and expanding the ability of citizens to vote. Both groups have hosted numerous joint-training workshops to further their causes. For local case Sstudies of their joint work, see Appendix 4.
The CWA is also a member of the BlueGreen Alliance. Among their initiatives, the BlueGreen Alliance (BGA) in coordination with its members, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released an updated version of its landmark 2010 report “Networking the Green Economy,” urging policy makers to create an environment that allows for long term public and private investment in high-speed broadband to build more sustainable communities in rural and urban America. The 2011 report specifically identifies policies supporting the development and use of Smart Grid and Smart Building technologies, including expansion of Smart Meters and other demand-side energy management methods as well. The updated study also identifies the need for strong consumer and labor protections to ensure that all Americans have access to cost-effective and climate-friendly technologies.
Additionally, The IUE-CWA worked with the BlueGreen Alliance to co-author ChemHAT. ChemHAT is the first chemical information source geared specifically for workers, who are of course at the most risk of exposure. “Workers around the country deserve to know what dangers are presented by the chemicals they work with every day, but that information was too difficult to come by in many cases,” said IUE-CWA President Jim Clark. “Working with the BlueGreen Alliance, we were able to help jumpstart this important resource that is easy-to-use and ensures no worker ever has to be caught unaware of the dangers their workplace poses to them and their community.”
From the top down, officials and members have been outspoken about climate issues. At the Good Jobs, Green Jobs South Conference, President Cohen discussed the relationship between environmental and labor rights groups as mutually imperative. (Excerpted from his speech) “We would not achieve bargaining and organizing rights in this country if just labor worked on it. And those environmental partners said if you stand up for climate change in a deep way (not just an easy way) then we get it, we have to fight for workers’ rights…There will be nobody to fight for climate change if there are no workers rights.”
Jim Clark, president of IUE-CWA, the Industrial Division of the Communications Workers of America, was recognized in a Spring 2012 White House ceremony as a Champion of Change, demonstrating ways that corporate environmental leadership makes sense for both business and American communities. He advocated a Green Production Module to teach industrial workers about environmental practices and regulation that launched in the fall of 2011. The GPM’s purpose is to enhance the green-related skills of the production workforce in all manufacturing sectors in order to help manufacturers improve their environmental performance—it is not limited to the production of green products per se. It is the only nationally certified and portable green-tech credential.
Within IUE-CWA, Clark has also led the effort to conduct energy efficiency “treasure hunts.” Working with the Environmental Defense Fund, the project increases awareness of energy saving opportunities in day-to-day operations, harnessing the knowledge and experience of workers to achieve those energy savings.
There is also evidence of buy-in on the local level. For example, Matt Sinclair, a member of CWA Local 2201 gave his testimony, which echoed the larger environmental stance of the CWA. He concludes, “My fellow union members and I do not accept the false idea that we must choose between jobs and a healthy environment. I know that, in truth, we will have both or we will have neither.”
Green Employment Prospects
CWA’s core workforce is in telecommunications and related industries. These jobs are not as directly affected in the short term by climate change mitigation strategies. However, CWA also has a fairly significant industrial department—the IUE—that includes many jobs that will be directly impacted in the short term.
However, the CWA is directly affected by the increased outsourcing of jobs. This threat not only encompasses job loss but also environmental degradation due to offshore deregulation. Therefore, the CWA has a petition to combat the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement will allow corporations to accelerate the offshoring of jobs, intensify attacks on our rights at work, and inflict even more damage to our environment.
Additional Comments and Analysis
Although the IUE-CWA will be most effected by climate change in terms of jobs, its members and leaders have been some of the most active in the battle for better environmental policies. Unlike other centralized unions, the CWA has allowed multiple officials to speak for the union on climate issues. They are likely to be a good ally.
Appendix 1: District Vice Presidents
Chris Shelton, District 1, New York, NY 212-344-2515
Claude Cummings, who has served as an at-large member of the Executive Board of the Communications Workers of America since 2007, has been elected Vice President of CWA District 6, representing workers in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Cummings was president of CWA Local 6222 representing more than 4,000 members. He was first elected president of the local in 1999; prior to that he had served as Vice President and held other leadership positions in the local.
A leading voice in local and state politics, Cummings worked for passage of a state law to enable AT&T to provide video services to customers. He also served as a delegate to past Democratic National Conventions. He is a longtime community activist, supporting and directing civil rights efforts in the region, United Way contribution drives, community religious events, and other community and civic campaigns.
A leader in the Fifth Ward Missionary Baptist Church, Cummings is Chairman of the Deacon Board and a member of Choir, Brotherhood, and Male Chorus.
Cummings joined Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in 1973 (now AT&T) and has worked as a Frame Attendant and Communications Technician, maintaining systems for NASA, among other corporate customers. He is married to Ruth Cummings, and they have three children: Kenyetta, Katrina and Claude III, and six grandchildren, Laura, Ale`ycia, Yuri, Deiondre, Briana, and Jillian.
Appendix 2: Sector Vice-Presidents, Printing, Publishing And Media Workers Executive Officer, And Canadian Director
Jim Clark has been the President of IUE-CWA, the Industrial Division of the Communications Workers of America, since April 2005.
In that position, he oversees activities in the union’s manufacturing division, which covers nearly 300 local unions and more than 60,000 active members. Clark is currently spearheading the Division’s attempt to improve union members’ job security by bringing a union-friendly version of high performance, or lean, manufacturing into IUE-CWA worksites. He also is championing the creation of green jobs to restore jobs to America’s blighted heartland and increase our nation’s national security.
Clark sits on the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council and is an outspoken leader in calling for fair trade laws and a revitalized U.S. manufacturing policy. He sits on the Department of Labor’s Trade Labor Advisory Committee and on the Executive Board for the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council. As a vice president of CWA, Clark also sits on the CWA Executive Board. There, his responsibilities include oversight of the union’s operations and finances through his seat on the board’s Strategic Planning and Budget Committee. He also is working on a nationwide effort to mobilize CWA members in an effort to win a national health care initiative.
Clark hails from IUE-CWA’s founding local, Local 755, in Dayton, Ohio, where he worked his way up from committeeman and vice president to serving two terms as shop chairman, the local’s chief negotiator. Clark remains the only chairman in Local 755′s over 50-year history to be honored by the membership with unopposed re-election to a second term.
In February 2001 and 2005, Clark was unanimously elected chairman of the IUE-CWA Automotive Conference Board. As chairman, he oversaw contract negotiations and implementation at the local and national levels for five major automotive companies, covering more than 17,000 IUE-CWA members at General Motors, Delphi, Valeo, DMAX, and Visteon.
In the economically precarious world of auto parts suppliers, Clark has stood out for taking a common sense and innovative approach to bargaining that preserves good jobs while recognizing the economic realities of the global marketplace. Clark is also known for efforts to reduce health care costs through community initiatives to assess needs and utilization and through education to members and health care providers.
Clark has studied business law, arbitration, labor studies, collective bargaining and grievance handling at Wright State University and Sinclair College. He has been a member of the union for more than 30 years.
Veda Shook, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) since January 1, 2011, is proud to be a Flight Attendant. As the top AFA officer, she is responsible for the overall leadership and direction of the union. Veda is the chief spokesperson for the union, primary liaison with other unions and labor organizations, airlines, industry groups, and governmental agencies. Veda is also a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, a Vice President on the CWA Executive Board, Vice Chair of the Cabin Crew Committee for the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), and serves on the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Labor Advisory Board. Veda continues flying and sounding out members as president of the world’s largest union representing only Flight Attendants.
In 1991, after earning her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Colorado-Boulder, with fluency in French, Veda moved to Portland, Oregon. She was hired with Alaska Airlines as a Flight Attendant on June 7, 1991.
Dan Wasser, Executive Officer, Printing, Publishing and Media Workers Sector firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 870-776-9712; fax: 202-434-1245
Martin is on leave from his position as Parliamentary Editor for The Canadian Press. He was elected Director in 2011, after serving as Deputy Director for seven years. email@example.com | 613.820.8460
Appendix 3: At-Large Members
Nestor Soto, president, Local 33225
Carolyn Wade, president, Local 1040 (800) 253-3289 ext 23
Appendix 4: Work At The State And Local Levels
Virginia: Coordinated opposition to three environmental deregulation bills, which were defeated, and a Verizon deregulation bill, which passed. Working for the continued ban of uranium mining in Virginia. Advocated for the expansion of broadband into Charles City County. Sierra Club members walk with Verizon workers on the picket line. CWA/IUE local leader writes letter to editor about importance of Earth Day and green manufacturing jobs in Virginia. Two 2-day workshops attended by 60 CWA and Sierra Club activists to jointly develop and act on policies and projects that address our economic, environmental and democratic crises.
Texas: Called 700 CWA and Sierra Club members to contact their member of Congress to oppose the Colombia trade agreement that undermines workers rights and the environment. Our effort was credited with changing the vote of at least one member of Congress. One hundred CWA and Sierra Club members turned out to rally opposing efforts to negotiate a “NAFTA on Steroids” deal for the trans-Pacific region. The rally took place in Dallas at negotiation sessions. Two-day workshop attended by 30 CWA and Sierra Club activists to jointly develop and act on policies and projects that address our economic, environmental and democratic crises.
Florida: CWA joined Sierra Club and other local and environmental groups in an effort to protect a restoration area from airport expansion. The Florida Sierra Club chapter issued a resolution supporting public sector workers’ collective bargaining rights. Two-day workshop that trained 30 CWA and Sierra Club activists in jointly developing and acting on policies and projects that address our economic, environmental and democratic crises.