Missouri adopts CWA Labor standards for $1.7B broadband expansion program

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MISSOURI HAS ADOPTED CWA LABOR STANDARDS for the state’s $1.7 billion Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program to expand high-speed internet access to underserved communities. Communications Workers of America District 6 played a big role in getting it done.

The State of Missouri has adopted CWA Labor standards for the state’s $1.7 billion Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program to expand high-speed internet access to underserved communities, the Communications Workers of America District 6 announced.

The BEAD program was established by President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Under the BEAD Program, all U.S. states and territories received a share of the $42.5 billion based on the size of its unserved and underserved populations that lack high-speed broadband access.

$1.7 BILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDING
Missouri received more than $1.7 billion in federal funding for its BEAD program, making it the third largest state allotment in the country.

Due to the CWA’s member mobilization and legislative-political advocacy, the State of Missouri through its Office of Broadband Development (OBD) adopted CWA’s proposed Labor standards as a means to create more good union telecom jobs when expanding broadband access throughout the state.

CWA Labor standards adopted by Missouri include prioritizing telecom companies that will utilize a directly employed workforce (not subcontractors), hire locally, and implement training/apprenticeship programs to recruit and train a highly skilled workforce.

WORK DONE BY CWA IN MISSOURI
Since the IIJA was passed in November 2021, Missouri legislative-political (LP) activists throughout the state and CWA District 6 staff worked tirelessly to urge the State of Missouri to adopt Labor standards for broadband build-out that would create more good union jobs with high safety and training standards.

CWA’s broadband work in Missouri included:

  • Successfully lobbied 50 state Senate and House legislators to send letters urging the OBD to adopt CWA Labor standards.
  • Four CWA Missouri locals also sent letters to the OBD to adopt Labor standards.
  • Over a dozen CWA members
    attended and spoke at six regional town halls to promote Labor standards for federal broadband funds.
  • CWA Missouri LP activists and District 6 staff participated in numerous meetings with OBD staff and state legislators to communicate the importance of CWA Labor standards and provided technical expertise on broadband build-out.

BROADBAND BRIGADE
CWA’s victory is a result of CWA District 6’s Broadband Brigade led by CWA activists Britini Cuington (CWA Local 6215, Dallas) and Mike Songer (CWA Local 6300, St. Louis). CWA’s work includes engaging state legislatures and local governments across District 6 to attach CWA Labor standards to public funding for broadband expansion as a means to create more union telecom jobs.

As Missouri’s BEAD funding starts to trickle down to county and municipal governments, CWA will be engaging in those areas to adopt additional Labor standards for broadband expansion to create more union telecom jobs from the bottom up.


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