October Campaign Announcement!

Starting in the summer several dozen of UCW-CWA leaders have been meeting and strategizing on the union’s campaign 2009-2010 campaign. All across the state member lead processes brainstormed, refined and ultimately democratically agree to a set of 2010 Campaign Priorities.

Our 2010 Campaign Priorities

1. In the coming year UCW-CWA will maintain its focus on saving jobs and opposing budget cuts on our campuses and in the legislature. Protecting jobs is the most critical task for our union. This work includes our efforts to frame the stimulus and rainy-day funds as “bridges to better economic times,” as well as our efforts to address revenue solutions.

Additionally, we must continue to demand shared sacrifice and real reforms that limit administrative excess. We must maintain focus on our core values that oppose privatization and underfunding of public services and the scapegoating of rank and file public employees. Cuts must start at the top, and as we move into better times restoration of funding and pay increases must start at the bottom.

2. Our union’s strength and vibrancy comes from our members. UCW-CWA will continue to build our membership, expand and strengthen chapters statewide, consolidate gains we have made, and improve our efforts to involve members in organizing and chapter development. We must also be prepared to consider more aggressive actions if mass layoffs begin. In this work, improved communication between members, chapters, union officers, and union staff is key at all levels.

3. Due process rights for public higher education employees (e.g., a standardized grievance policy and procedure), and a lack of consistent legislated protections for workers affected by RIFs have been issues for decades. UCW-CWA has already launched campaigns through our chapters across the state to address these issues. These efforts will continue, and during the coming legislative session our union’s legislative committees state-wide will lead efforts to address these problems with allies in the General Assembly. We will continue to monitor all legislation that affects our members and working people generally, and stand prepared to support progressive legislation at both the state and federal levels.

4. The 2010 elections are of critical importance to our campaign and our union’s future. Our members are already involved in efforts to engage the broad field of gubernatorial candidates and key house and senate candidate race candidates around our issues. We will put pressure on candidates to join their constituents by publicly pledging to support funding for higher education. We will do this through member mobilization, by attending and planning our own candidate forums as well as by attending other town hall meetings and candidate meet-and-greet sessions, by developing candidate questionnaires, etc. These campaigns may involve escalation of tactics that target candidates in positive or negative ways depending on their support for our issues.

Two central aspects of this work moving forward are efforts to secure endorsements of our 2010 Candidate Pledge, which addresses the budget crisis we face, and our Petition Drive to get 10,000 Tennessee residents to show their support for our key principles.

5. We know that the question of “where will the money come from?” will not go away, and we have to be ready to engage it. To address the revenue crisis successfully, we must:

a. Keep the focus on the importance of education and other state services. These are needed expenditures; the crisis faced by Tennessee’s citizens is one of revenue and not a “spending problem.”

b. Continue to educate our membership and the public about the failings of Tennessee’s reliance solely on the sales tax and its unequal tax burdens on personal income vs. large, out-of-state corporations.

c. Emphasize a balanced approach: our state cannot afford attempts to cut its way to a balanced budget.