2017 Statement of CWA Freelance Member Steve Zeltzer
New Direction Needed At PMWG
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am running for office in our local to deepen labor solidarity. I want to increase communication with other unions—and with non-union workers—toward the goal of strengthening the labor movement.
Labor is under frontal attack. To fight effectively, we need to change our methods of organizing. Business as usual is not good enough as we see the result of concession bargaining in too many contracts.
Instead of relying on media-action campaigns to get our message out, we have relied primarily on lawyers behind closed doors, a strategy that is painless for management and wins little for us. With deep pockets, management shows contempt for our legal strategy of offering one concession after another.
SF Chronicle management attacks our members’ free speech rights. As the chair of the Human Rights Committee, I fought the draconian attack on democratic rights at the Chronicle. A resolution was introduced but not allowed to be heard at the last meeting.
At our urging, the local proposed that the CWA international and AFL-CIO stream a 24-hour labor channel. We sought support for this at the CWA convention and wish to continue this fight. With others, I trained others on how to use cell phones and streaming channels. If we cannot get our own stories out with our own media, we end up relying on the same media bosses we are fighting.
The massive layoff of journalists damages the public’s right to know what government is doing. I support the CWA setting up a collectively run, national news portal that employs union members to cover the issues.
Journalists are critical to democracy. Our Human Rights Committee urged the local to take a stand against FBI agents impersonating journalists. We must persuade the public to defend journalists’ rights.
Independent contractors are central to this economy yet need the protections and benefits that staff employment provides. Deregulation has turned millions of workers into independent contractors while taking away healthcare and retirement benefits. Workers, who have no experience with unions, face the same struggles we do but are isolated and fighting separately.
At NewsGuild meetings at our last convention, I proposed that our local unite with Northern California CWA locals that are without contracts. We propose joint rallies and campaigns with our brothers and sisters at NABET 51 KQED, CWA UC UPTE, and with other CWA members whose contracts have expired.
We must build solidarity from the ground up.
We must reach out to all working people to rebuild support for the labor movement.
At the AFL-CIO convention in October, some unions met to discuss the need to move toward a democratic labor party. I support that initiative. I am for having full representation with elected delegates on the San Francisco Labor Council and affiliated councils. We need regular reports, in writing when practical, at our unit meetings about what is happening in our local. I would like to see regular reports from the delegates our union sends to regional and national conferences.
My opponent, who is on our Local staff, is concurrently negotiating with for leave of absence to run a campaign for San Francisco supervisor. We need someone not running for city office, someone who puts our union needs first.
My opponent fails to take accurate minutes of past meetings at a time when transparency is vital.
I have been a member of the local for 5 years and have produced labor video documentaries including “Halfway To Hell, The Unions and Workers that Built the Golden Gate Bridge,” which aired on KQED
I produce and host a labor radio show on KPFA called “WorkWeek,” which covered the Verizon and AT&T strikes and the struggles at NABET51 KQED.
I’d like to hear your ideas. Reach me at email@example.com or (415) 867-0628.
KPFA WorkWeek Radio