CWA Kills Vote on Net Neutrality at California Convention

The Communications Workers of America were able to kill the net neutrality resolution at the California State Democratic Party Convention, not through a straight up vote (which they would have lost), but through changing the rules so the resolution had to go through the labor caucus.  Jim Gordon of CWA is chair of the labor caucus.  Calitics reports and will have more on the unfolding story coming out of the California Democratic Party.

Net neutrality, as a resolution for this convention, is in effect dead.  The resolution has been referred to the Labor Caucus, and that ruling will stand.

Now there is some good news.  Brad Parker, a member of PDA and a staunch supporter of Net Neutrality, is on the Labor Caucus.  He has spoken to people on that caucus and people on the Resolutions Committee, and he believes that he can get a strong resolution to the floor by the next convention.  So it's a waiting game.

What has not been resolved is the idea that you can refer a resolution to a caucus, which as I said is unprecedented.  Parker intends to take it up in the Resolutions Committee happening right now, and if not there then in the Rules Committee.  The shenanigans pulled here were unconscionable.

This is dirty pool.  CWA could have made their case to the full convention on net neutrality, but Jim Gordon and his ilk chose not to, instead saying they are sticking the resolution in a random caucus they control to die.

I hope CWA President Larry Cohen is proud of the undemocratic tactics his union people pursued today.  I guess we see the disinformation and dishonesty isn't isolated to Maryland or claims that internet companies (like this one) pay no hosting fees.

Update [2007-4-29 16:17:19 by Matt Stoller]:: A source told me that CWA may not have done anything regarding the net neutrality resolution being prevented from coming to the floor. She's not saying it didn't happen at the behest of CWA, only that it might not have happened that way. It seems that referring a net neutrality resolution to the labor caucus is an odd choice, but the evidence here isn't conclusive. It could just be part of an overall 'screw you' message from CDP Chair Art Torres to delegates.

Tags: CWA, Labor, net neutrality, netroots (all tags)



Re: CWA Kills Vote on Net Neutrality at California

Rumor on the floor at Michigan was they cut a deal to let our resolution pass. That's about all I know though.

by JordanLFW 2007-04-28 07:43PM | 0 recs

Can't say I'm hugely surprised, though. As an environmentalist who strongly supports organized labor, I've been disappointed plenty of times over the years by some labor unions that take the side of industry on environmental issues.

by desmoinesdem 2007-04-28 09:22PM | 0 recs
Re: disappointing

I am not really a supporter of labor myself.  I think that any good it has done has generally been for itself rather than for people in general.

It would be an interesting structural and cultural question of why this occurs.  After all most everywhere else has gotten medical benefits tied to everyone rather than just those who work.

by sterra 2007-04-29 04:50AM | 0 recs
I don't agree with you there

I agree with John Edwards, who points out that labor unions have been one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in history. Those great manufacturing jobs every politician wants to help us keep? John Edwards was the first candidate I've heard to note that those great manufacturing jobs weren't so great before the unions.

by desmoinesdem 2007-04-29 06:49AM | 0 recs
Re: disappointing

I find it troubling that you would generalize about all labor unions, when the vast majority of labor unions support net neutrality.  You sound like you are repeating talking points from a traditional corporate union busting campaign.  If you want to complain about CWA fine, but don't generalize about all labor unions, when most unions support net neutrality.

by zsdgargaerg 2007-04-29 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: disappointing

Perhaps you can give an example of a union that pushed for the public interest when the public interest conflicted with the union's interest?

by Monkey In Chief 2007-04-29 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: disappointing

social security, minimum wage, the 40 hour work week, those were all reforms fought for by unions.

by Dameocrat 2007-04-29 02:13PM | 0 recs
Re: disappointing

1) From own experience: SEIU in Pennsylvania has worked to close institutions for people developmental disabilities so that these people could recieve more progressive and modern services in community based settings, even though the closing of institutions meant that SEIU members lost their jobs.  

2) Furthermore, most unions have taking a progressive stand on immigration even though new immigration has undercut union strength in many industries such as meat packing and residential construction.

3) Again from my own experiance most unions have been outspoken oponents of the Iraq war since the beginning even when the vast majority of democrats supported the war, even though it alienates union leadership from much of its membership.  

4) Unions are the primary lobbyists behind living wage and state minimum wage campaigns, even though such campaigns rarely benifit their members, and may undermine unions ability to organize more members.

5) If you want to go back to the Civil Rights era, the UAW was the single biggest financial contributor to the NAACP and the SCLC in the late fifties and early 60s.  This also alienated the union from its members, especially in the south, where management used the union's support for civil rights divide union members during union busting campaigns.

6) Unions such as SEIU, UNITE-HEREm and AFSCME have been outspoken proponents of gay marriage and abortion rights.  Again management has often used this fact in anti-union campaigns to divide workers from the union.

by zsdgargaerg 2007-04-29 03:39PM | 0 recs
Re: disappointing

American unions are less effective at organizing and more conservative primarily because of the focus on trade unions as opposed to industry wide or "industrial unions". The afl half of the afl-cio also bought into the cold war mentality and purged the most effective organizors during the McCarthy era.   This is changing though.

by Dameocrat 2007-04-29 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: CWA Kills Vote

The worst thing is that they pulled this crap before the convention even began.  When the Resolutions Committee opened on Friday, there was a big ol' packet with all the resolutions and a series of coded numbers.  Net Neutrality was listed as referred to the caucus before any delegate even spoke a word.  This was sandbagged weeks ago.

It was that way with almost all of the resolutions.

by dday 2007-04-29 12:12AM | 0 recs
Re: CWA Kills Vote

This move does appear like an attempt to kill it in the labor caucus, but that caucus has not heard it yet and it will not be dealt with at this convention.  We will have to wait until next year to try and get the resolution through the committee.  It simply does not make sense to have it not go through the Internet committee.

by juls 2007-04-29 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: CWA Kills Vote on Net Neutrality at California

what went down in CA is definitely bullshit. it was shady, undemocratic and shameful.

it's going to be interesting to me to see what happens with a new telecommunications bill here in NY. it has been described to me, as someone who isn't particularly literate in such issues, as "the gold standard" of state telecom legislation. what's interesting is that the bill contains very strong net neutrality language and yet still has the enthusiastic support of CWA. i know this because folks from CWA have told me personally that the rest of the bill is so strong that there is no way the couldn't support it.

that said, it seems that no one is paying much attention to the bill. ( me? guilty as charged.) it was introduced by assemblyman brodsky weeks ago and just got a senate sponsor last wed, by a republican, no less.

i hope to write more about the bill (and have commitments from some folks who actually understand this stuff much better than i do) at the albany project starting tomorrow.

by lipris 2007-04-29 01:56AM | 0 recs
Re: CWA Kills Vote on Net Neutrality at California

Please do.

by Matt Stoller 2007-04-29 05:26AM | 0 recs
Re: CWA Kills Vote on Net Neutrality

The CWA is a corrupt and undemocratic union, please don't judge the rest of the labor movement by their actions.  Its not surprising that the CWA would pull something like this.  The CWA has never been a good team player, it has lengthy records of screwing over its members and striking sweet heart deals with management.  For an example just read about the situation with Agua Caliente casino near Palm Springs.  In this situation CWA struck a deal with management without having an elections.  The management of the casino wanted to strike a deal with the CWA as a way to avoid the workers voting to have another union (UNITE-HERE) represent its workers.  As part of the deal the CWA agreed not to demand higher wages or better health insurance for the workers at the casino.  The CWA as struck similar deals with other tribes in California, essentially as a way to increase its membership without actually improving the lives of its members.  Meanwhile, UNITE-HERE a progressive union, which actually supports net neutrality, and has made great strides in improving wages and benefits of casino workers (see Las Vegas) has been effectively shut out of Indian gaming in California.  As a result of CWA's collusion with tribal gaming most indian tribe casino jobs barely pay minimum wage and lack benefits.  Because of the CWA's actions many of these workers rely on welfare programs in spite of having jobs.  

by zsdgargaerg 2007-04-29 09:05AM | 0 recs
Re: CWA Kills Vote on Net Neutrality

People on this thread should not use the CWA's actions to bad mouth all labor unions.  Almost all other unions support Net Neutrality, SEIU, has been a very vocal proponent of Net Neutrality.  CWA is a undemocratic conservative union, it is know for selling out its members in order to line its leaderships pockets.

by zsdgargaerg 2007-04-29 09:08AM | 0 recs


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