CA Local 132 Internal Organizing Campaign Adds Members, Strengthens Union

UWUA Local 132, representing 3,600 Southern California Gas workers, is building union strength through a new internal organizing program.

Edgardo Fuentes signing a union card during a break from his SoCalGas training.
Edgardo Fuentes signing a union card during a break from his SoCalGas training.

Over the last several months, by deploying their shop stewards throughout their 20,000 square mile service territory, over 200 workers have signed union cards and now enjoy the full benefits of being UWUA members. This increase to their membership not only strengthens the local, but the new stylistic approach to organizing is better educating newer members of the importance of unionism.

In addition to signing up current SoCalGas employees, the local has calculated the number of new hires and part-timers moving to full time over the next 10 months and expects to sign up more than 450 new members in 2016.uwuamag_winter2016_local-132-quote

“In order to build a strong local, Local 132 leaders determined it was critically vital to undertake an internal and sustained organizing campaign to sign up new members,” says Local 132 President Robert Hoffman. “To succeed, we knew we needed to have the broadest possible ownership of this organizing vision. We have achieved that with our shop stewards and through the help of the UWUA national staff.”

Working with a small group of shop stewards and UWUA national staff, Local 132 leaders created the infrastructure for the internal organizing campaign. This core group consists of young and energetic seasoned workers, which allows for the passage of institutional knowledge regarding past organizing tactics and stresses the importance of building a strong union for the future.

From UWUA Local 132's Facebook page
From UWUA Local 132’s Facebook page

The group created Internal Organizing Policies and Procedures; training materials, evaluations/surveys for best practices; and other useful tools. Additionally, the training materials include a section on unionism. This is particularly important because it stresses not only the importance of belonging to a union but also what labor unions have historically won for workers, and what will continue to provide for its workers.

Local 132 has truly recognized the importance of having a strategic internal organizing campaign that uses the infrastructure and power of their shop stewards to assist in this critical endeavor. With this successful internal organizing initiative, Local 132 can now move forward in sustaining lucrative employment with an aggressive approach to “Reclaim, Retrain, Repower and Repair America.”