"Boot Camp" Training in Dallas Inspires American Organizers

“IF WE DON’T GET EVERYONE ELSE UNIONIZED, IT WILL END UP HURTING US.”

Deborah Johnson at training

Deborah Johnson talks strategy with other union members at Dallas training

In May, four CWA members from American Airlines attended a two-day training session in Dallas for internal organizers. The training session included more than three dozen union members from American, AT&T, and other companies. The representatives from American Airlines included Deborah Johnson, Debbie Amaro, Chris Kress, and Renee de la Garza. 

Internal Organizer Training Dallas May 2017

Deborah Johnson, a 26-year American Airlines veteran who is a reservations representative, says she was inspired and energized by the experience. “I’ve been interested in organizing a union at American for 20 years, and now am so proud to say that I’m a union member. The training helped me think outside my little world and to see how many people in this country have no power. I’ve got a good job now, with good pay, but I know it can be taken away so quickly. If we don’t get everyone else unionized, it will end up hurting us.”

Debbie Amaro, a reservations rep with 28 years of experience, says that signing people up isn’t easy. “It’s been hard because our Local is so new, and it’s tough to get people involved. But the training helped. I’m a little shy myself, but I think now I’ll be able to speak to people more easily, and I’ll know what to say if someone initially says ‘No, thanks!’”

Dallas internal organizer training May 2017

Deborah adds, “Those of us who went to the training have a meeting soon with our Local president. We’re going to strategize and come up with a plan to sign up 100 percent of the DFW employees and to talk about how to mobilize around big issues that affect us.” She says the Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act is one importantfocus of mobilization. “I see it when I call my credit card or cable TVcompany. These wealthy companies are making millions, but hiring people overseas to do their customer service work. If you’re based in the United States, you should be hiring here. We need to make that happen.”

Both Deborah and Debbie praised Derrick Osobase, a CWA Staff Representative from District 6, who led the training workshop. Debbie says, “If you could bottle up and sell what Derrick’s got, you’d make a fortune. He was just amazing.”

Derrick Osobase May 2017

Local 6001 is planning to send more people to the next training, with the goal of reaching out to all agents to get them on board as members. At the end of June, the Local will send members to Washington, DC, to lobby for better implementation of airport rage legislation. The rage issue is of deep concern at DFW since recent assaults on two agents there. Officers hope that the agents who were assaulted will be doing well enough to go to Washington to tell their stories. Check the next CWA Airline Agents newsletter for a full report.

Dallas Local 6001 organizer training