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Pride Month CWA Leader: Libby Sayre

Libby Sayre became a member of CWA in 1993 when the University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE), an independent union at the University of California, voted to affiliate with CWA.  Sayre was a long-time union activist and rank-and-file organizer at UC and served as President of AFSCME 3211, the union for clerical employees at UC, through many battles--including the pitched anti-apartheid and divestiture campaigns.  When she was promoted out of the clerical unit, she joined with other professional and technical employees to build a new union with the intention of organizing the thousands of employees in those categories who remained unorganized.

In 1993, as president of the new UPTE-CWA, Sayre led the first organizing campaign for 4,000 UC technical employees across the UC campuses and 5 medical centers.  It was the largest organizing campaign in the country--public or private sector--that year, and UPTE-CWA's resounding victory in 1994 was an important milestone.  In the five years that followed, Sayre went on to lead the successful organizing drive for 4,000 staff researchers throughout the UC System, and then 3,800 licensed medical professionals located mostly in the hospitals.

She was appointed to CWA District 9 (D9) staff in 1997 and continued to organize as well as represent CWA members.  She worked as an organizer on the first Pacific Bell wireless campaigns, then later was the District Organizing Coordinator on successful Comcast organizing drives in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Fresno, and Modesto.

Sayre was particularly proud of the work she did organizing professional language interpreters in the California Superior Courts.  It was a very difficult campaign, requiring the passage of a State law providing both employee status (the courts claimed that the interpreters were independent contractors) and bargaining rights.  Sayre's work on this project resulted in a bill providing card check recognition, and a swift and successful rank-and-file organizing campaign for over 1,000 interpreters by the California Federation of Interpreters, TNG-CWA Local 3900.

Sayre staffed D9's Women's Committee and represented the District at an early Pride at Work conference and various LGBTQIA+ conferences and events.

She retired from D9 as Organizing Director in 2015.

Sayre has spent the last 45 years living in Berkeley, CA where she has worked on City Council elections, rent control campaigns, and zoning issues.  She served for many years on the City's Personnel Commission, and was its President and Vice President, as well as more recently on the City's Labor Commission, where she was also President and Vice President.

Sayre remains a proud CWA member and most recently wore CWA red on the 2021 May Day march down Market Street in San Francisco.

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