CWA members from across the country came together last week in Washington, D.C. for the We the People summit, a gathering of nearly 1,400 labor and community activists focusing on the fight to strengthen our democracy.

As part of the summit, eight Democratic presidential hopefuls answered questions on Monday, April 1st, from CWA members and other attendees. The candidates included U.S. Senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren; Governor Jay Inslee; Representative Beto O’Rourke; and Julián Castro, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

CWA Local 1014 Vice President Amber Pallante talked about how the Supreme Court's recent Janus decision, a direct attack on public sector unions engineered by big corporations and right-wing extremists, illustrates the need for reform of our judicial system. "The Janus decision resulted from decades of right-wing plotting to use the courts to weaken the power of working people," Pallante said. She asked candidates to lay out how they would reclaim the judicial system for the people.

Local 1103’s Joe Mayhew challenged Sen. Booker to support the creation of a small donor public financing system for all federal elections, asking him about contributions he has taken from employees of the big corporate law firm, Sullivan and Cromwell, which is a chief adviser to Wells Fargo Bank. "In the current system, money from these bad corporate actors and those that profit from their actions is drowning our democracy," Mayhew said. "There is only one real solution - ending the system of elections being primarily financed by private campaign contributions." Watch his full question here.

On Tuesday, April 2nd, CWA members participated in a day-long strategy session, discussing key issues facing working families, such as labor law reform and attacks on unions, limiting the power of big money in politics, and how best to fight for pro-worker legislation and candidates.

Clockwise from left: District 1 members at Tuesday’s strategy session; D1 Vice President Dennis Trainor and D1 members along with NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; D1 members at Tuesday’s strategy session; Local 1103’s Joe Mayhew; D1 members working on building political power