The Journal Newsletter: June 2014
President’s Report: “We Need a Common Narrative”
Pinch-hitting for Local 4319 president Robert V. Hull, this month’s President’s Report is an article about CWA President Larry Cohen’s remarks at the American’s Future “New Populism” conference, from May 29, 2014, courtesy of www.cwa-union.org.
New populism necessitates movement building, CWA President Larry Cohen said.
“New populism can’t just be the sum of the parts. We have to really struggle beyond our parts,” he said, speaking at a Campaign for America’s Future event focused on strategies for educating, energizing and mobilizing around an agenda for economic change.
He added, “I’m a big believer that we need a common narrative.”
Walking attendees through the latest edition of CWA’s Movement Building booklet, Cohen stressed the importance of linking economic justice and democracy. He connected the dots between unfair trade deals and why workers haven’t seen an increase in real wages in decades. He explained the rise and fall of collective bargaining in the United States compared to the rest of the world. And he explained the lessons of activists’ latest struggles and victories at T-Mobile US.
Cohen traced the movement back to the 2008 election, which ushered in President Obama and a Democratic majority in both chambers of Congress.
“We won’t do better than that and it didn’t cut it,” he said. “So if we keep on doing the same things, including what we did then, we’re like rats on a treadmill, literally. So we learned from that election.”
The 2011 Wisconsin protests that took over the state capitol taught activists what democracy looked like, Cohen said. The following 99 Percent Spring Training, which taught 100,000 people about the principles of collective nonviolent action, solidified how to enact real change. Next came the launch of the Democracy Initiative in 2013, where labor, civil rights, voting rights, environmental, good government and other like-minded organizations committed to end the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics, prevent the systemic manipulation and suppression of voters, and curb the abuse of Senate rules.
Last summer’s successful fight to upend the Senate’s archaic traditions is proof of what can happen when a broad coalition bands together around a common cause, Cohen noted. The Committee for Better Banks – where bank workers around the world are joining together with local community groups to advocate fair wages and respect on the job – shows how solidarity can cross borders and languages.
“We need a democracy movement that resembles a lot more of what we saw in Tunisia than anything we’ve seen here in generations,” he said.
Cohen encouraged everyone to break out of his and her silos.
“Can we do more than what each of our groups are set up to do? Can we compete a little less for resources? Can we compete a little less for leadership? Can we put a little bit more into common ideas, like the Democracy Initiative?” he asked.
Attendees at the all-day New Populism Conference also heard from Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio); Representatives Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.); and Rev. William Barber II.
Of “Local” Interest
This is the second issue of The Journal since going digital. From here on out, you will be able to access our newsletter any time you want on our website. You can read it online, or download and print to read later. There are a number of benefits to going digital, the biggest of which is cost control. As always, please contact your Unit Directors with any questions or concerns you may have.
The Journal is published bi-monthly, and our target dates for future issues are for the first weeks of June, August, October, and December.
As always, you are welcome, nay, encouraged, to send well wishes, condolences, congratulations, retirement wishes, or other notices about members — both active and retired — for inclusion in The Journal. All you have to do is drop me a line at I’ll see that it gets included in the next issue of The Journal. The email address to use is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks, and now, here’s a little something sent in by Karen Flowers and her group of “luncheon ladies.”
The Luncheon Ladies were at it again. We went to Cousino’s on May 23. I believe there were 11 or 12 of us there. One of these
days, I’ll remember to take my camera so there are photos to accompany the stories.
We had a great time. Those in attendance (and please excuse me if I forget someone) included Terri Leighton, Marci Gregory, Linda Clayton, Carla Cammarn and her daughter Jenny and son-in-law Jason, Sandy Lentz, Linda Apling, Pam Murphy, Nancy Joyce, Mary Mercurio, Jacque Eckart, and (of course) myself. We had good food and great conversation.
Our next outing is going to be on June 20 at Tony Packo’s at 12 noon. If you are interested in joining us, please let Linda Clayton or me know. You can always contact us via the Ma Bell’s page on Facebook. We hope you can join us. Till then be safe and enjoy yourselves.
Being a Union member definitely has its benefits, including finding bargain prices for that family trip to one of the great theme parks. To get great deals, register at unionplus.org and click on the Theme Park Discounts (http://www.unionplus.org/theme-park-discounts/) under the Travel and Entertainment section. Here’s an overview of what is available.
You’ll save from $3 to $26 a ticket off the normal theme park ticket prices. Think of the savings for a family of four: You could save from $12 to $104 on your theme park vacation!
See the sample list of participating theme parks below. Note: some parks are seasonal–tickets not available in the off-season.
Adventure Island (FL) — Save up to $5.50 per ticket
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom (PA) — Save up to $9.49 per ticket
Hersheypark (PA) — Save up to $12.45 per ticket
Legoland Los Angeles — Save up to $16.05 per ticket
Sesame Place (PA) — Save $10.13 per ticket
Six Flags Theme Parks — Save up to $41 per ticket.
Water Parks throughout the country — Save up to $22.64 per ticket
Disney World and Disneyland discounts are also available.
To see an updated list of ALL theme park discounts, see the Working Advantage (http://www.unionplus.org/theme-park-discounts/) site. Sign in or register to get the Company Member ID for ordering theme park tickets.
Is a college degree worth what it costs?
This article was written by Jesse Campbell, and reposted from Money Management International. It was posted on June 6, 2014 at www.unionplus.org/. Union members interested in a free budget analysis should contact Union Plus Credit Counseling at 1-877-833-1745.
College is exorbitantly expensive. And it’s getting worse all the time. Currently, the average cost for one year (tuition and fees) at a private college is $30,094. At a public college or university it’s approximately $9,000 a year for in-state residents and over $22,000 a year for out-of-state residents.
With no scholarships or grants, a four year degree can leave you with somewhere between $36,000 and $120,000 in debt. That’s an insanely deep hole in which to start out your adult life. Does it make sense to spend so much money on a degree that doesn’t guarantee you much of anything?
As part of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s (NFCC) 2014 Financial Literacy Survey, participants were asked if they believe that their college education was a good investment. By a 2-to-1 margin, respondents believed that their college education was a good investment, and the numbers make it pretty clear why.
The truth is that there’s a massive (and growing) economic gap between those with a college degree and those without. Although it isn’t easy for today’s college graduates to find a job in their chosen field, it’s even harder to find work without a degree.
Last year, the unemployment rate for college graduates was around 4 percent – for non-graduates it was nearly twice as high, at closer to 7.5 percent.
For those who are employed, a college degree makes a staggering difference in earning ability. According to findings from the Economic Policy Institute in Washington D.C., in 2013, the average American with a four year degree made 98 percent more than the average American without a degree.
Simply put: with a four year college degree you double your likelihood of being employed and double your earning potential. Which means that a college education is nearly mandatory in order to find satisfactory work with satisfactory wages. But what about the debt? Is that mandatory as well?
Of course it’s possible to make it through college without any student loan debt, but it’s difficult. It takes a lot of work and a lot of planning. There are grants and scholarships available. Parents, guardians, and relatives can set-up special long-term savings accounts for young children well in advance of college. You can work full or part-time while attending classes.
Your best bet is always to simply understand all of your options and create a plan that works for you. Start early. The more you know, the more you plan, the easier it will be to handle the debt that comes with a college education.
June 7, 1888
The Ladies Federal Labor Union Number 2703 was granted a charter from the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1888. Women from a wide range of occupations — clerks, bookbinders, candy makers, typists, dressmakers, music teachers, gum makers, laundresses, and others — were organized into the Illinois-based union. Its members were successfulin coalescing women’s groups interested in suffrage, temperance, health, housing, and child labor reform to win state legislation in these areas.
In 1979, the historic founding convention of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union brought together the Retail Clerks International Union and the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America.
June 20, 1893
The American Railway Union, headed by Eugene Debs, was founded in 1893. The next year, in a strike against Pullman Company, the union was defeated by the use of injunctions and by federal troops sent to the Chicago area. Debs was imprisoned for violating the injunctions.
June 25, 1941
At the urging of black labor and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph, who saw jobs opening up in defense plants but not being offered to blacks, President Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order barring discrimination in defense industries in 1941.
June 27, 1869
Anarchist, feminist, and labor activist Emma Goldman was born in 1869.
June 28, 1894
President Grover Cleveland signed the bill making Labor Day a national holiday in 1894.