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  • We the People Summit, by Alison StClair
    Updated On: Jun 22, 2018

    We the People 2018 Summit

    There were several issues on the list that we lobbied politicians on before, and mentioning them again is a reminder of what’s important to us legislatively. Bringing forth the new issues and educating them so they’re not making blind decisions about our future. This visit, I wanted to see what other regions of our State dealt with and if the responses to the common issues were the same.  I chose to lobby with 2204 out of Roanoke, as they have a lot of members but are so spread out geographically that they potentially have unique issues to speak on that the rest of the locals might not.  Some of the issues we wanted to discuss, which may or may not have been touched on while meeting with them as there are serious time constraints, are:

    --Collective Bargaining Rights- Union jobs are Middle Class jobs with better oversight on working conditions and safety, as well as advocating for fair treatment for everyone. Everyone should have a right to join a Union without fear of termination or unfair treatment/harassment for even mentioning the work union.

    --US Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act – (H.R.1300/S.515) Tax incentives to keep jobs here in the US have failed and are being totally mishandled and for the last decade we’ve hemorrhaged jobs to other countries. Who wants folks overseas knowing our Social Security or Credit Card numbers??  Who likes to call companies for support and deal with folks who are difficult to understand and who don’t really comprehend the issues?  I really like that the Act includes a ‘Bad Actor’ list – US Companies who send jobs overseas would be on a public list and no longer eligible for federal grants or loans, and civilian or defense contracts would be (most likely) granted to Companies NOT on the list. And, as a consumer, you can also request that your call be transferred to someone who is physically located in the US.

    --No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act – (H.R. 5108/S. 2459) Is also a penalty for sending jobs outside of the US.  The new Tax Bill encourages the offshoring of money and jobs, and this would end the tax breaks for those offenders. Trump said that the average worker would see a pay increase of about $4000 as a result of the new tax plan, but no one is seeing that in the real world. Clearly, the tax breaks that were given to companies didn’t trickle down… They used the savings to manipulate their value.  (S. 2605), the Reward Work Act would reverse the SEC rule allowing that.

    During the interviews, we mentioned Universal Broadband and how dire things are in rural areas that are being neglected by Telecom Companies. We need US Policies to promote investment in Broadband access EVERYWHERE, regardless of the population and that the Universal Service Fund was intended to do just that (at LEAST giving access to phone service, copper or otherwise) but is NOT being used for it.  The expanse of space that CWA Local 2204 covers is severely affected by this, and while it might be mentioned briefly by other Locals, their members are likely not quite s affected by the lack of Web access, so they don’t get as much face time with their local political leaders.  Also in rural areas are a lack of access to financial institutions, so we’re fighting to get nonprofit financial service access added to USPS stations. Basic stuff like ATM’s, EFT’s, Bill Pay and Paycheck Cashing are difficult to come by for a lot of folks in rural areas aka "Postal Banking".

    We briefly mentioned rest periods for FAA workers. Often times, these workers are given fractured schedules or extended schedules that don’t allow for proper rest or downtime between shifts and we’re pushing for a law to be passed that 10-hour minimum rest time be given.

    There are a TON of issues that CWA and other Unions are fighting for, ALWAYS to the benefit of the US Work Force and their families. As always, I’m proud to fight for our members and do my best to represent all of us positively. There was very little down time as we were always walking, speaking with politicians or participating in meetings. I’m excited about being in a grassroots movement like “We The People”. We had the opportunity to attend a rally for Immigration reform at Freedom Park. It’s despicable and wrong to separate children from their parents simply because they’re trying to escape a bad situation in their home country and make a better life for them here. No one seemed to question that they need to come here the legal way, but the fact that there are babies, toddlers and kids of all ages stuck in huge rooms without their parents is horrifying.

                                                                                                 By Alison StClair 


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