Officer’s Report from the UWUA 30th Constitutional Convention
|National Executive Officers|
|D. Michael Langford, President|
Steven VanSlooten, Executive Vice President
|John Duffy, Vice President|
Mike Coleman, Secretary-Treasurer
National Executive Board Members
On behalf of the UWUA Officers and Executive Board, we welcome delegates and guests to our historic 30th Constitutional Convention. This year we come together with added purpose and resolve. As we celebrate our 70th anniversary, we know the struggle ahead to improve our lives, and those of our families, our communities, and our country, will not be easy.
The power of those who seek to take away what we, and the entire labor movement, have accomplished must be confronted. There is no union better positioned to do that than the UWUA. Our members deliver the essentials of life — water, gas, and electricity — to the American public. Our primary goal is to make things work better for our members. We also know that when things go well for utility workers, they also go well for everyone else. It’s that simple.
Our coming together couldn’t happen at a more important time. We are on the cusp of what will either be a revival of the values and beliefs that made our union, the middle class, and our country great, or the continued decay of our workplaces and the underdevelopment of our nation.
That’s why we chose the theme for this year’s historic convention. Now is the time to Reclaim, Retrain, Repower, and Repair America!
Over the next four days we will meet, discuss, and vote on the direction our union will take for the next four years. One thing is certain, as we enter our eighth decade, we are more unified than ever. That makes it possible to defend the gains our members have made, win further improvements, and bring the benefits of union membership to more workers.
We are also at the decision-making table as never before, having our say in the communities we serve, in the state houses, and in the White House. Through the hard work of our members, their locals, and the National Union, we are building the foundation for future utility workers to succeed.
The work of our union since the last convention is included in the pages of this Officers Report. You can see that we are more than holding our own against some of the most powerful corporations in the world. We are on the front line of the battle to preserve good jobs and America’s middle class. Our work helps determine the future course of our nation. When we succeed, everyone benefits.
We have said many times before; the UWUA of the 21st Century must be fundamentally different than the UWUA of the 20th Century. This is a changing world and we must reinvent our union with bold new strategies and initiatives. That’s why we continually search for opportunities to engage more members, their families, and our retirees in the affairs of the union.
This year’s convention will include a number of firsts that are designed to grow the power of our members and our union. Our young members will be featured presenters. Every day, Young Workers Initiative Committee members will take center stage to present their successes in activating younger members and building community support for the labor movement.
There will also be a first-ever women’s caucus. As women take on a greater role in our union and our industries, we will develop a road map to address issues that impact women, encourage them to become active as members and officers, and engage women in the workplace. Also new at this year’s convention is the 2015 Utility Worker Heroes Recognition. Utility workers are first responders, performing heroic acts. We will honor that. In addition, the support work of our retired members will be featured at the convention. Workers may retire from their jobs, but they need never retire from the union!
Each of these additions to the convention are designed to increase our ability to fight for our members, improve their lives, and move our union forward to be better able to face the challenges of the future.
The founders of our union built a powerful, democratic organization. As we participate in our 30th Constitutional Convention, let’s celebrate our history and chart a path to the future. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!