Release date: 12/22/03
Don Trementozzi, President
Communications Workers of America Local 1400
New England Local of Communications Workers Of America (CWA) Backs "Dean For America"
A New Hampshire-based union representing 1,800 workers at Verizon has become the latest labor organization in New England to back the presidential candidacy of Howard Dean.
Don Trementozzi, president of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400, announced the local's endorsement today at a meeting with Dean in Portsmouth that was also attended by CWA members from outside the telecommunications industry.
According to Trementozzi, Local 1400's rank-and-file executive board voted to endorse Dean because of his helpful involvement in several recent CWA contract fights, plus his support for workers rights in general.
"When we were struggling to negotiate a new contract with Verizon last August, Howard Dean was there for us, "said Trementozzi, a Verizon customer service representative in Worcester, Mass. "He supported our campaign to keep good-paying telephone company jobs in New England and stop Verizon from cutting our medical benefits."
Trementozzi noted that Dean joined CWA picketing at a Verizon Wireless store in Burlington, Vt. to protest management interference with union organizing activity. More recently, he appeared at a labor solidarity rally at General Electric's non-union plant in Hooksett, N.H. to support CWA activists there. At Local 1400's request, Dean also intervened with the management of the Share Group, a Somerville, Mass. telemarketing firm, which employs CWA members to make political fund-raising calls (including many for the Dean campaign).
"Our members at Share are engaged in difficult contract negotiations right now, " Trementozzi said. "They got a great boost from Howard Dean's defense of their job security and organizing rights. We're now asking other Share clients--connected to the Democratic Party and various progressive causes--to take the same pro-labor stand as Governor Dean."
While other CWA local leaders in New England have yet to make any formal candidate endorsements, Trementozzi welcomed their participation in today's meeting and encouraged their serious consideration of Dean's candidacy. Trementozzi noted that CWA members in the airline industry, as well as telecom, have been battered by de-regulation. "Alone among the leading candidates, Dean has called for 're-regulation' to protect the interests of both workers and consumers," he said.
Trementozzi also applauded Dean's recent criticism of concentrated corporate ownership of the mass media and his pledge to "break up giant media enterprises." Said Trementozzi: "CWA members who are print journalists and broadcast technicians have to battle big newspaper chains and powerful conglomerates like Time-Warner and ABC/Disney every day. If we all get together and help elect Dean, we might finally have someone in the White House who'll promote media diversity--and expand workers rights."
In addition to those Local 1400 members who are already
aiding Dean's campaign as professional fund-raisers at Share, Trementozzi
said others from Verizon would be volunteering their time to help with
Dean voter turn-out in upcoming primary elections in New Hampshire and
other New England states.