2018 Ends on a High Note
This year is ending on a high note. UWUA members and staff mobilized like never before to elect worker-friendly candidates in the mid-term elections. Our Power for America Training Trust (P4A) just marked a major milestone in training the utility worker of the future. UWUA members are once again proving their worth as first responders. We are fighting California’s devastating fires, and responding to hurricanes, floods, and gas explosions.
We live up to the motto: Reclaim, Retrain, Repower, Repair America!
Holding politicians accountable
We helped elect scores of candidates who ran on a worker-friendly platform in November. Among them is Michigan Governor-Elect Gretchen Whitmer. We were the first union to endorse her and we expect she, and the other candidates we supported, will work to reverse the anti-worker, anti-union policies that are holding workers down and destroying the middle class.
Our electoral gains were achieved by working together with other unions and worker-supported organizations. That’s what the labor movement is all about, strength in numbers. I want to thank those of you who helped get out the vote to put people into office who will represent our interests.
Building alliances with those who share our goals is not limited to elections. For example, we are working on a strategic alliance with the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. Their members work in all of our power plants doing overhauls, refueling, and more. Their training centers are well equipped and located throughout the country. Together we can organize and provide the opportunity to expand P4A’s successful model nationwide.
Organizing to increase power
We are always looking for ways to organize to increase worker power and build better communities.
With the retirement of long-time National Organizer Larry Kelly, Local 601 Executive Secretary Valerie King joined the National Staff as an organizer and Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus. I personally want to thank Larry for his decades of work on behalf of utility workers.
Valerie will bring a lot of experience and resources to engage and activate women. Local 18007 Business Manager and Chair of the UWUA Veterans Committee, Rick Passarelli, will also be concentrating on recruiting more women for our Utility Workers Military Assistance Program (UMAP).
Utility workers of the future
With the price of renewable energy now competitive with fossil fuels, utilities are investing in wind and solar generation like never before. While protecting current jobs, we are doing everything we can to make sure our members work in the electrical generation and storage jobs of the future.
I am happy to report that our P4A just received provisional approval from the U.S. Department of Labor to train workers in two new job classifications: wind turbine technician and renewable specialist (wind, solar and battery storage).
This puts us in a leading position nationally to make sure the jobs created in the renewable sector will result in lifelong union careers. We have the support of some important politicians and major environmental groups for this work.
As the New Year fast approaches I want to encourage you to participate in Martin Luther King Jr. Day events in your community. It is critical that we build on his powerful legacy and demand good jobs, housing, education, affordable health care, and justice for everyone!
Enjoy the holidays. Happy New Year!