Passenger Service Agents at CWA's Next Generation Activist Training
In June 2019 CWA Next Generation and District 3 co-sponsored a new training targeted to the needs of young union members. CWA Local 3808 in Nashville hosted the training, which included 24 CWA members from eight states. The participants included two passenger service agents, Jasiman Turner (Piedmont, CLT) and Richard Sanjuan (AA, MIA).[caption caption="Jasiman Turner, Next Gen 2019" align="right"]
Jasiman is a full-time Piedmont ramp agent in Charlotte, North Carolina. She said she decided to attend the training because she wanted to play a bigger part in our union. “I’ve always wanted to be a ‘freedom fighter’ and a voice for those who don’t have a voice. I decided to apply for the training in Nashville so I could help others and become more educated about the issues we’re all facing now.”
Richard is an American Airlines Customer Service Agent in Miami who has worked for the airline for over five years. He believes we’re in a new era when young workers have to step up to be leaders. “As a leader, I want to learn more about helping people fight for what we need. We can’t just let things go without speaking out for our rights.”
For Jasiman, the highlight of the intensive training in Nashville was when the 24 trainees and 6 trainers gathered in small groups to talk about the conflict between the power of the wealthy elite “One Percent” and the rest of our country. “I realized that the only way we can make a change is by having more and more people joining together in a cohesive group. We are so much more powerful together, and it made me want to become a steward back home. I hope that I’ll be able to do that soon.”[caption caption="Richard Sanjuan, CWA Next Gen Training 2019" align="left"]
Richard says, “I thought it was inspiring to see people from different industries coming together with the same goals. We had people from AT&T, from universities, and from the airlines, and we all have different issues at work, but at the end of the day, we know we are all workers who need fair contracts and respect on the job.”
Both Richard and Jasiman are concerned about safety issues for passenger service agents. Jasiman explains, “We recently had a tragic event at our local in Charlotte, when our dear union brother, Kendrick Hudson, was killed on the job. Making sure our workplace is safe is more important than ever now, and that’s another reason I want to be a steward. Read about Kendrick here. Richard says air rage is still a big challenge at his station and he feels good when he can help support other agents dealing with frightening incidents in Miami.
Richard and Jasiman both agree that young workers are the future of our union and must become more active and make their voices heard loud and clear. “We need to give young people a sense of purpose as workers so they can feel invested in the future,” says Jasiman.
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