CWA LOCAL 6215, Dallas, TX

History of Labor Unions & CWA

Nelle Wooding spent forty-seven years as a telephone worker, beginning as a student operator in Dallas in 1914, and retiring in 1961 as a field representative for the Communications Workers of America, CIO. In 1937, she helped organize the Dallas Local of the Southwestern Federation of Telephone Workers, and was elected President. When the National Federation of Telephone Workers called a strike in 1947, Wooding, as the Chair of the Northeastern Division of Texas, led the walkout in Dallas. Although the telephone workers were ultimately forced to settle for a much smaller wage increase than they had demanded, the strike had other benefits. "It helped the union to grow up," Wooding asserted in her oral memoir. " It helped us to gaim prestige in the eyes of the company and other unions. They saw that we'd had our baptism in fire, and we had more respect from them. Read more >>>

People who aren’t in a union or don’t know anyone in a trade or labor union often unsure what labor unions do and why someone would join. Labor unions strive to improve the lives of all working families – to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our nation. It’s all about making sure working families get what they collectively deserve. A labor union or trade union is an organized group of workers who unite to make decisions about conditions affecting their work. Read more >>>

The National Federation of Telephone Workers, later to become the Communications Workers of America, was founded November 14, 1938 in New Orleans. As early as 1910, telephone workers made gains organizing the budding industry, however women were mostly excluded as the unions did not accept telephone operators - a job filled by women, according to the CWA timeline. But in 1938, amidst the upsurge of mass production and industrial workers, representatives of 145,000 telephone workers founded the national union. In 1947, CWA was founded after a strike forced by AT&T ended with the company successfully undercutting the National Federation and breaking the strike. Today, "CWA represents 700,000 workers in private and public sector employment in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico in 1,200 chartered CWA local unions," says the union's website. "In 10,000 communities across the United States, CWA members work in telecommunications and information technology, the airline industry, news media, broadcast and cable television, education, health care and public service, law enforcement, manufacturing and other fields." Read more >>>

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