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We canít stay
on the course charted by the 1 percent
By Chris Shelton president
of the Communications Workers of America
we lost two heroes of the civil rights movement. Amelia Boynton Robinson
championed voting rights for all, and Julian Bond recognized and helped
build the unique partnership between the civil rights movement and the
labor movement, a connection that is only growing stronger.
The victims of institutional
racism in this country, whether in Ferguson, Missouri; Staten Island, New
York; Charleston, South Carolina; Baltimore, Maryland; or Waller County,
Texas, are always low-income and working-class people of color, and the
labor movement has an obligation to speak out for them. We must end structural
racism and its ugly consequences to achieve social justice in our country.
Today, just as 50 years
ago, we must build a movement to secure our freedom. This begins with a
freedom from want: a decent standard of living, a union job, and the ability
for our children to do better than we did, as well as our democratic freedoms,
especially our right to vote and our right to have a truly participatory
democracy by and for the people.
As the new president of
the Communications Workers of America (CWA), our entire union and I are
committed to standing with the civil rights community behind a new Voting
Rights Act. In 1965, the struggle to pass the Voting Rights Act was a joint
effort of civil rights groups and labor. This coalition and the deep
bond that ties our struggles together is needed more than ever with the
continued attack on voting rights across the country.
We are steadfast in our efforts
to get Congress to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act that would help
correct the hole left in the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Courtís Shelby
decision. On September 16, CWA will join with the Leadership Conference
on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, and many others in a massive lobby
day for a new Voting Rights Act. It is an outrage that the Republican
House majority has refused to permit hearings on the impact of voter suppression.
Progress at the federal level
appears to be blocked, but we can move forward in the states. CWA,
along with Democracy Initiative allies, will lead an effort to promote
and pass a positive, pro-voter agenda that gives everyone a voice in our
democracy. We want to turn around the voting debate, from false worries
on fraud to the right to vote and duty of government to make this right
of citizenship readily available. We will argue and fight for a truly
fair voting system through measures such as voter registration modernization
and expanded early voting to give working people more opportunities to
In our vision of a fair and
just voting system, those who have lost the right to vote because of a
criminal conviction would be eligible to again vote when that person was
discharged from incarceration. This re-enfranchisement would restore the
right to vote to millions of working class voters.
We must also get big money
out of our political system. The Koch Brothers and their allies are literally
killing our democracy, drowning it in an ocean of mega contributions. The
Citizens United decision and other Supreme Court rulings have been a cruel
joke. The idea that corporations are people and that money equals free
speech is just pure nonsense. Our voices will never be heard until
we stop the flood of corporate cash from buying our elected leaders.
Every social justice organization
has a specific agenda which is core to its founding. But none of us will
achieve our top priority if we donít restore the right to vote for all
Americans and stop letting the one percent pollute our politics with corporate
cash. Our demand: big money out, voters in. Each of us must engage in these
We must do this together:
labor, civil rights groups, and all of us who believe in this great American
democratic ideal. We need to come together and fight like hell to
create a society and a community where every American has an equal voice
and an equal chance. If we stay on the course that the one percent has
charted, we risk losing our democracy completely.
Shelton is president of the
Communications Workers of America. CWA represents 700,000 workers in telecommunications,
media, airlines, public service and manufacturing.
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one solution to skyrocketing inequality that most of the TV talking heads
love to ignore: Unions! Itís no surprise.
unions, big companies like Walmart or Amazon can cut benefits, allow unsafe
working conditions, slash wages, and pocket the massive profits.
Iím not afraid to talk about how unions are essentialóand Iím relying on
you to get the word out. Please watch and share now:
More economic growth, higher
wages, shared prosperityóall by strengthening unions. 50 or 60 years ago,
it was considered obvious; today, folks are afraid to talk about it. Thatís
what decades of right-wing propaganda will do.
The first step is to spread
the word by sharing this message right now, because MoveOn will be campaigning
for the idea that gets the most traction in our Big Picture series.
This video is the latest
in the ďBig Picture: Ten Ideas to Save the EconomyĒ series Iím working
on with MoveOn. And MoveOn has committed to campaigning on the ideas that
get the most traction. So
if you believe in fair pay for a hard dayís work, you wonít want to skip
watching and sharing this video.
Thanks for all you do.
A worldwide virtual community
of workers, union members, leaders and activists coming together in support
of ALL labor. Click HERE
to go to the UNIONS4WORKERS facebook page
|New from your Union.
They are $40 each.
you just wonder down the road of life without speaking up for your rights
you are just
But you can occupy
road telling the 1% you are not going to be run over by them anymore.