By: Carlos DePonce
CWA, Citizen Action of New York and The Hispanic Alliance of Western New York joined The Bernie Sanders for President in opening of its first office in Upstate New York.
Citing the need for a candidate who will break with politics-as-usual and fight for America’s working people, local leaders of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) who voted in December to endorse U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders for president in the 2016 election were happy to help with the opening of the second office in New York State.
Citizen Action of New York in announcing its endorsement of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States. Citizen Action’s endorsement of Senator Sanders marks the first statewide organization in New York to stand with the Senator who is running in the Democratic Primary.
“We desperately need a president who will fight back against the schemes that CEOs and Wall Street bankers have used to destroy our economy and steal wealth from our communities, especially communities of color,” said Ivette Alfonso, President of Citizen Action of New York and a parent from Albany. “Everyone in New York and across America should have the opportunity to live a healthy and prosperous life. We’re proud to stand with Bernie Sanders for President because we know he understands that our communities are stronger when we care for our neighbors and work together.”
“Citizen Action of New York builds grassroots power by organizing communities to stand up for an America that works for all of us, not just the top 1 percent,” Sen. Sanders said. “I’m honored to receive their endorsement.”
Citizen Action of New York is a community-based grassroots organization with over 30,000 members and 7 chapters and affiliates across New York State. Each regional chapter and affiliate board held discussions about Citizen Action’s presidential endorsement and made recommendations to the organization’s state board, which voted overwhelmingly to endorse Bernie Sanders for president.
Edwin Martinez of the Hispanic Alliance said we stand behind Bernie Sanders because we believes the Vermont senator has stayed true to the ideals that Americans want in an elected official.
“He’s an individual who puts American ideals before special interests,” Martinez said. “He’s a candidate who puts the voters ahead of lobbyists. And he’s a candidate who puts people ahead of corporations. Those are things that so many politicians nowadays do not do anymore.”
The decision by CWA to endorse Bernie Sanders followed a 3-month democratic process, including hundreds of worksite meetings and an online vote by tens of thousands of CWA members on which candidate to endorse.
“CWA members have made a clear choice and a bold stand in endorsing Bernie Sanders for President,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “I am proud of our democratic process, proud of CWA members, and proud to support the candidate whose vision for America puts working families first. Our politics and economy have favored Wall Street, the wealthy and powerful for too long. CWA members, like voters across America, are saying we can no longer afford business as usual. Bernie has called for a political revolution – and that is just what Americans need today.”
CWA’s 700,000 members represent a cross-section of America’s workers, working in industries spanning telecommunications, airlines, media and broadcast journalism, health care, public service, and manufacturing. The top issues motivating the endorsement of Senator Sanders – taking on the big banks and Wall Street, providing our children with debt-free higher education, getting big money out of politics, rebuilding the labor movement, stopping job-killing trade deals, affordable health care, and retirement security – reflect the priorities cited by our members and all working Americans nationwide ahead of the 2016 election.
Shelton continued : “Bernie Sanders stands with working families against corporate greed, against Wall Street and the big banks, against politics as usual. He stands against the flood of money in politics that’s corrupting our democracy and attacking the right to vote. He knows that we have to take on the rich and powerful special interests to turn around this economy and end the 40 years of stagnant wages that working families have endured.
“He’s the candidate who can do it, and we are going to help him. When CWA endorses a candidate it is just the beginning. Our 700,000 members are fired up, and we are going to work overtime to elect Bernie Sanders as the next President of the United States. ”
CWA members’ endorsement of Sanders mirrors the deep desire among voters for an economy and political system that responds to ordinary Americans. In November, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 69% of voters in both parties “feel angry because our political system seems to only be working for the insiders with money and power, like those on Wall Street or in Washington, rather than working to help everyday people get ahead.”
CWA members have played a significant role in driving turnout in past elections. In 2012, tens of thousands of CWA member volunteers worked on national and state campaigns and for critical ballot initiatives. CWA had ground operations in 38 states, and CWA member-activists played a major role in Florida, Colorado, Virginia, Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
CWA has more than 300,000 active and retired members in the states that will hold primaries between now and April 1. In California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Ohio, where CWA has its largest numbers of members, activists are engaged in worksite actions, staffing phone banks, and signing up new contributors to CWA’s political program ahead of the 2016 election.
WA represents 700,000 workers in telecommunications, media, airlines, higher education, health care, public service and manufacturing.
We look for opportunities to accomplish big changes – not small, incremental reforms. We work to elect progressive candidates to office who are committed to these issues. Our power comes from the grassroots: people coming together to push the edge of the possible. Every new member helps bring New York and America closer to a society that works for all of us!
Citizen Action of New York has eight chapters and affiliates in major cities across New York State. Each is a vibrant local organization with local leadership, paid professional organizing staff, a local agenda and an active, diverse membership. Each has developed a strategy, program and structure to meet the organizing and political challenges that most affect their region. At the same time, all share overall goals and a statewide program. Citizen Action is proud to be affiliated with these national networks: USAction & Alliance for a Just Society.