Laborers Band Together in Service Through Social Networks
The Internet has profoundly changed the ways in which people can come together to bring about change. When individuals incorporate the latest technology and social media with their efforts, the results can offer transformative opportunities for all people – particularly in organizing the community.
For labor unions, social media offers new ways to organize and reach new audiences. This topic was the focus of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) 20th National Convention, which I attended last month in Houston. AT&T served as a sponsor and hosted a panel titled, “Closing the Latino Labor Digital Divide: How to Organize Using Technology and Social Media.” I was pleased to participate as a panelist alongside Marty Chavez, Senior Advisor of the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP); Dr. Laura Murillo, President and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Estuardo Rodriguez, Principal at The Raben Group, Democratic strategist and media commentator.
Social media is already omnipresent in both my personal life and professional life. But the power of social media and technology goes well beyond entertainment and can help empower the Latino community. According to a recent Nielsen report, Latinos in the U.S. tend to embrace new technologies, mobile devices, and social networking at higher rates than other populations. This group can especially benefit from learning to engage, inspire and organize via social media. Popular digital platforms –including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram –can be used to amplify messages, promote civic engagement and share information in real time. For instance, I recently created an internal email newsletter that helps connect me and my work with my fellow executives. By sharing stories and professional highlights, this newsletter helps open the lines of communication and serves as an avenue of information that is helpful for future collaborations.
And as we discussed during the panel, these platforms are also proving to be invaluable tools for campaigns. What better way to share messages with large audiences while simultaneously engaging activists and supporters? Social media truly is the most powerful tool for any community leader, and the panel was a chance for LCLAA members to learn from experts in technology and social media about how to incorporate these tools into their campaigns. The audience for our panel included several nationwide labor union members and leaders, who also shared their experiences with adopting new technologies for both union organizations and everyday life.
As I listened to these stories, I thought about how AT&T’s advanced, high-capacity broadband networks are being used to connect people and create opportunities for workers to unite. The ever-increasing availability of high-speed connections and mobile connectivity offers exciting new ways for laborers and minority populations to organize their communities online and strengthen their political power – we’re honored to play a role in that. As we continue to expand and enhance our network infrastructure, our goal is to connect people and communities to what really matters to them.
I am also proud to work for a company that supports its workers’ rights to collective bargaining. AT&T is the nation’s only unionized wireless company. In fact, Communications Workers of America (CWA) represents about 150,000 workers at AT&T, both in the wireless and wireline sides of the company.
Technology mobilizes our world. Modern connectivity adds urgency and ease to both collective action and community organization efforts. As the first of many conversations to come, this panel was a direct opportunity to learn from experts about what works and what doesn’t. Communities and organizations have already made great strides with their campaigns thanks to social media. AT&T will continue to expand and improve the networks that make this progress possible.
Congratulations to LCLAA for another successful convention. As the panels and workshops demonstrated, the Latino community has a future full of possibilities. Social media will help us to continue finding new opportunities and ensure that future is bright.