CWA Puts Off Endorsement, Launches First-Ever,
Union-Wide Political E-Poll
September 20, 2007
CWA is holding off on an endorsement of a presidential candidate, for now, but has put in place an innovative on-line poll for the union's 700,000 plus members and retirees to indicate the candidates they prefer, based on the candidates' responses to specific questions asked by CWA.
Those issues are the Employee Free Choice Act, health care and jobs and trade. CWA's membership-wide poll is the first of its kind among unions and will be a big factor in CWA's political action program for the 2008 election season.
"CWA's goals in the political process are first, to maximize member involvement, second, to keep the focus of our members and the candidates on critical economic issues, and third, to make a difference that produces results for our members at the ballot box and in critical legislation," said CWA President Larry Cohen.
"We are convinced that over the next 18 months all members in every CWA industry will see the connection between their worklife, their families and the electoral and legislative process more than ever. We will bring back bargaining rights in the United States, win the fight for real health care reform and create policies that support American jobs," he said.
Cohen was among three questioners at a political forum in Iowa in August, where six Democratic presidential candidates also answered specific questions about workers' rights, health care and trade and jobs.
CWA's Executive Board reviewed the presidential candidates' answers. The responses – some in print, some candidates sent in videos -- will be posted on a special CWA election and political website for reference.
CWA also is encouraging members to become fully engaged in political campaigns to run for election as delegates to the Democratic and Republican conventions.
All the candidates – Democratic and Republican -- were contacted numerous times and asked to provide specific responses on CWA's key issues.
Democratic presidential candidates who responded were Senators Joseph Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, and Barack Obama; Rep. Dennis Kucinich; Governor Bill Richardson.
Not responding were Republican candidates Senator John McCain; Representatives Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo; former Governors Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney; and former mayor Rudy Giuliani, along with former Senator Mike Gravel (a Democrat), despite numerous contacts and opportunities.
The questions were:
1. We would like to hear if you support the Employee Free Choice
Act and what you would do as president to lead the fight to get that legislation
past the hurdle of a Senate filibuster and onto your desk for signature.
2. Tell us how you would fund universal health care to ensure that all Americans have coverage and to make U.S. jobs more competitive and not disadvantage those employers who currently provide quality health benefits to their employees.
3. Detail specifics steps you would offer to cut the trade deficit - now more than $700 billion a year -and help spur the retention and growth of jobs in this country.