Carla Katz is the former president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1034, where she represented 16,000 public and private sector workers across New Jersey. She has also been a lecturer at Rutgers and a panelist in many venues.
Katz writes about politics and issues impacting labor, women, children and working families.
Question: What does it take to lead a union?
Carla Katz: Leading a union requires that you are able to articulate the issues that your members are feeling; that you have some ability to inspire them to act when action is needed; and that you are loyal to the members; and that you truly do represent their wishes and their ideas and not some weird version of your own. And I think that that’s what gives you sort of longevity and endurance. I mean anybody can run for union office and become, technically, a union leader. But to sort of have any longevity and stay you’ve got to really feel it. You’ve got to have a passion about it, and you have to believe that your members know what’s right.
Recorded on: February 8, 2008