Code of Conduct

Last Updated:

May 10, 2021


Alphabet Workers Union - Communications Workers of America Local 9009 is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.

This code of conduct applies to all Alphabet Workers Union spaces and in interactions with and about members, including but not limited to conferences, chat clients such as Discord, email, file sharing such as in Dropbox, and videoconferencing such as with Zoom. Both online and off.

Some Alphabet Workers Union spaces may have additional rules in place, which will be made clearly available to participants. Participants are responsible for knowing and abiding by these rules.

Examples of harassment include:

  • Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, pregnancy or parenting status, age, race, caste, or religion.
  • Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, drugs, and employment.
  • Deliberate misgendering or use of ‘dead’ or rejected names or pronouns.
  • Gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behavior in spaces where they’re not appropriate.
  • Physical contact and simulated physical contact (e.g., textual descriptions like “hug” or “backrub”) without consent or after a request to stop.
  • Threats of violence.
  • Incitement of violence towards any individual, including encouraging a person to commit suicide or to engage in self-harm.
  • Deliberate intimidation, including threatening the spurious use of power structures to intimidate.
  • Violating a reasonable expectation of privacy from other union members, by doing things such as:
  • Doxxing union members
  • Releasing member lists.
  • Harassing photography or recording, including logging online activity for harassment purposes.
  • Stalking or following.
  • Sustained derailing or unconstructive disruption of discussion.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Pattern of inappropriate social contact, such as requesting/assuming inappropriate levels of intimacy with others.
  • Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease.
  • Deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent, except as necessary to protect vulnerable people from intentional abuse.
  • Publication of non-harassing private communication.

Platform usage

The foundation of our union organizing is in face-to-face conversations. It is generally expected that your first and primary points of contact will be with other members of your workplace unit, working group, committee, or chapter.

We expect that most organizing will happen in smaller, more focused groups, while broader forums exist to allow for wider discussion, including asking and answering questions and concerns, connecting with members from across our union, and advertising specific-topic forums. Keep in mind that these larger, more open forums may be too fast-moving for all union members to be able to participate in a timely fashion, so folks raising questions or concerns may be redirected to other people or forums, and any specific topics that gather large interest may be worth spinning up another channel and moving the conversation there. Disagreements can (and should!) be brought up, and may be appropriate in larger venues, but the ideal resolutions are almost always going to be in smaller, more focused groups.

As such, administrators or moderators may moderate for topicality or keeping groups appropriately focused, with enforcement being considered more strictly in groups with larger audiences.


In general we prioritize safety over comfort and will enforce accordingly.

Attempts to circumvent or abuse this Code of Conduct, including testing the boundaries of a rule despite warnings, or using the Code of Conduct to derail appropriate conversation or intimidate others, is explicitly a violation of this Code of Conduct.

Violations of these policies may result in restricting write/comment capability to essential channels or banning from secondary or unofficial ones at the discretion of the administrative staff of those platforms, and repeated violations may end up referred to chapter coordinators, stewards, or ultimately to the membership or Executive Council for mediation or ultimate determination on appropriate actions, with the vulnerable person’s perspective being part of the consideration. Specifics on mechanisms (who, responsibilities, goals, etc) will be laid out in another doc.

All decisions may be raised with other members for mediation or brought up to the Executive Council, if all else fails and remediation does not seem possible. It is encouraged to start with your local chapter coordinator or union steward for guidance.

Rights and responsibilities


All members in good standing have the following rights in the union:

  • Equal rights to participate in union activities
  • Freedom of speech, specifically the freedom to participate in union communication platforms within the policies of each
  • Freedom of assembly
  • Freedom from discrimination on the basis of craft, skill, age, race, caste, sex, gender (including gender identity, gender expression, and trans status), sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, affiliation, disability, neurodivergence, immigration status, family or marital status, or any other protected characteristic
  • The right to union support in cases of workplace mistreatment and for workers whose employment status is pending determination of any legal processes
  • Does not guarantee a certain type of support that the union can provide
  • The right to discuss and to participate in establishing via referendum or Assembly:
  • The amount and frequency of dues, fees, and assessments, within the bounds of CWA’s constitution and bylaws
  • AWU-CWA internal and strategic matters
  • Amendments of the rules and the Articles
  • Regarding representation and transparency:
  • The right to propose agenda items for Annual Assemblies, to be voted on by the membership
  • The right to fair representation via Assembly and the Steering Committee delegates as established in the Articles
  • The right to read published minutes of Assemblies and Executive Council meetings
  • Regarding elections:
  • The right to nominate candidates for office
  • The right to run for elected officer positions
  • The right to vote for officers and referenda via secret ballot
  • The right to protest the conduct of an election by following the defined procedures for vocalizing union grievances internally
  • Protection against retaliation from union members for exercising these rights


All members, both full and retired, are expected to:

  • Abide by Union rules and the Articles to the best of their ability
  • Support their coworkers both within and outside of our union
  • Stand in solidarity with AWU-CWA members, AWU-CWA as a whole, and CWA
  • Keep AWU-CWA and CWA business, plans, and conflicts internal to AWU-CWA and CWA. This means:
  • Do not share confidential AWU-CWA business, such as meeting minutes, granular member data, and campaign plans, outside of AWU-CWA or CWA
  • Do not publicize internal conflicts, especially those related to interpersonal matters, outside of AWU-CWA and CWA
  • Discussing interpersonal conflicts with individuals (even nonmembers) for advice and support is allowed, but use best judgment on which details should be kept private for the safety of our Union
  • Do not engage with the press on Union matters without being a trained spokesperson
  • Follow the Communications Committee’s press rules and CWA’s guidelines on social media posts, and ask them if there is any doubt on whether something is allowed
  • Maintain a high standard of conduct whenever you may be interpreted as a Union representative or otherwise affiliated with AWU-CWA
  • Keep other people’s membership in the union private unless they give you explicit permission to do so or they have already publicly outed themselves

In addition, although these are not explicit requirements, members are encouraged to:

  • Follow guidelines passed by work committees
  • Vote in elections when they are eligible to do so, to make their voice heard
  • Keep aware of union activities via email or by attending meetings, to allow AWU to mobilize quickly
  • Stand in solidarity with other unions and labor organizations

As a reminder, AWU-CWA uses a mode of enforcement that aligns with restorative justice rather than punitive justice. The “Enforcement” section above discusses this briefly.