Our National Funds Deliver!

Our National Funds Deliver!

Recent collective bargaining victories by two UWUA locals will soon bring lower-cost benefit coverage to members. Local 197 members in Coos Bay, Oregon, who work for PacifiCorp, and Local 369 members in North Weymouth, Massachusetts, working for Calpine, took advantage of the UWUA’s National Health & Welfare Trust Fund (NH&WF) to win benefit improvements.

They join the more than 7,500 union members and beneficiaries coast-to-coast who are already receiving healthcare, vision, dental, life, and other insurance benefits through our multi-employer benefit fund.

Eligible staff employed by our Power for America Training Trust Fund are the third new group to receive benefits through the NH&WF.

By pooling resources and spreading costs among many employers and participants, we are able to realize cost efficiencies that allow for securing the best insurance rates possible to protect our members and their dependents.

The National Health & Welfare Fund (NH&WF) is one of our tools that is being used to benefit members nationwide.

The importance of the NH&WF to UWUA members in contract negotiations cannot be emphasized enough. It is a tool for use at the bargaining table that should not be left in your toolbox.

Don’t accept that the plan offered by your employer is the only thing available to you, without comparing it to benefits offered through the NH&WF.

I encourage the use of our National Health & Welfare Fund to either leverage companies to reduce costs or secure benefits at a better price through the National Fund.

Our Power for America Training Trust Fund is also delivering. As reported in this issue of The Utility Worker, the P4A Third National Conference was a hit. I am the UWUA National Officer who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the P4A Trust Fund.  I was very impressed with the enthusiasm, commitment, and involvement of the hundreds of members at the conference.

Our expectations for the success of the event were more than realized. With that, I can tell you that we are going into the New Year with a head of steam. Our efforts to ensure that our members remain the safest, most productive, highest skilled workers are really paying off.

Thousands of incumbent and new members have graduated from P4A’s vigorous training programs, and hundreds more are in the pipeline. We are proud of what we have been able to accomplish since P4A’s founding at our 28th Constitutional Convention. Never resting on our laurels, we are making ambitious plans for the future. The P4A Training Trust will continue to blaze a trail to the future for the UWUA, our members, and our signatory employers.

In 2018, P4A will be launching another important phase of our work – building a pathway to a career in the utility industry for high school students. Starting in January, we will begin a pilot program in partnership with Local 18007 and Peoples Gas in Chicago to introduce high school students to utility careers and teach them the skills they will need to succeed in our industries.

The program will focus on setting a foundation for students to explore careers in the natural gas field. As part of the training, students will spend time with P4A instructors, who are retired UWUA members, learning hands-on skills that are not available in vocational programs at their schools

Our message to the students, and their prospective employers, is simple – the union is ready, willing, and able to provide the necessary training to bring qualified people into the workforce and ensure our young men and women are prepared to run the utilities of the future. By so doing, we will also be building UWUA power!

Chicago will be the first such program for us and we are making plans to provide high school students in other cities and states with opportunities for training that we have to offer.

This new training program will build on the successes of our Utility Workers Military Assistance Program (UMAP), the OSHA Susan Harwood safety program, our Systems of Safety training, and the many other successful training opportunities now under the ever-expanding P4A umbrella.

The National Health & Welfare Fund and the Power for America Training Trust Fund are two of the many reasons for our success as a union in securing a better future for our members and their families.