Morton Bahr won election as president to the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in 1985, a year after the breakup of the AT&T Bell System which had employed a half million workers. Under his leadership, CWA created new bargaining and campaign strategies to deal with the fragmented and newly competitive industry.
Bahr also expanded CWA's organizing into new areas, such as healthcare, the public sector and higher education to maintain union growth and strength and offset telecom job losses due to deregulation, globalization and explosive technological change. CWA also has expanded organizing in the emerging high tech job areas of telecommunications, including Internet-based data communications, Voice Over the Internet Protocol and wireless communications.
To help CWA members adapt to volatile changes in telecom and achieve career mobility and employment security, Bahr led CWA to negotiate groundbreaking education and training programs with the union's major employers. Other initiatives include the online CWA/NETT program, a partnership with Cisco Systems to provide certification and skill training in Internet technology, and a partnership with telecom employers and Pace University that has produced the first on-line degree program in telecommunications.