CWA Union History

The records indicate how some concerns of union members have changed over time, but others have remained constant. The minutes from 1941 record requests from telephone operators for improved ventilation, the opportunity to accept brief long disance calls while on duty, and an increase in wages. Records from the late 1970's indicate concern for changes in hours, the safety of cathode ray tubes, and an increase in wages.

In 1980 Southwestern Bell/CWA started an employee/management joint venture called Quality of Work Life (QWL). It was intended to set a group of employees intent on resolving work related issues. On October 10, 1986 Fort Worth was the pilot city for changing from QWL to PM (Participative Manangement). This evolved into PMEI (Participative Manangement Employee Involvement).

CWA Profile

The information listed below was found at

CWA, America's largest communications and media union, represents over 700,000 men and women in both private and public sectors, including over half a million workers who are building the Information Highway.

CWA members are employed in telecommunications, broadcasting, cable TV, journalism, publishing, electronics and general manufacturing, as well as airline customer service, government service, health care, education and other fields.

The union includes some 1,200 chartered local unions across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Members live in approximately 10,000 communities, making CWA one of the most geographically diverse unions.

CWA holds over 2,000 collective bargaining agreements spelling out wages, benefits, working conditions and employment security provisions for its members. Many CWA contracts call for innovative training and education programs and child and family care provisions that are considered pace-setters for organized labor in the modern workplace.

Among major employers of CWA members are AT&T, GTE, the Regional Bell telephone companies, Lucent Technologies/Bell Labs, General Electric, NBC and ABC television networks, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., major papers such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, US Airways, the University of California system, and the state of New Jersey.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., CWA also maintains regional district headquarters in New York City, Philadelphia, Silver Spring, Md., Atlanta, Cleveland, Austin, Denver and San Francisco. CWA staff members working out of 50 field offices assist local unions with contract negotiations, officer and steward training, organizing, legislative and community programs and day-to-day member representation.

CWA is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, the Canadian Labour Congress, and the worldwide Union Network International.

Further information on CWA's elected officers, departments and structure, benefit programs, and an array of innovative education, training and job placement services may be found on You will also find other useful information on political action, labor and economic research and more.

CWA Triangle

The triangle symbolizes the three major programs of the union. None can stand alone. If the triangle is broken on any side, sooner or later it will be broken on every side.

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Union History