10 Questions for President Slevin
Q: What would you like people to know about you?
A: I’m a utility worker, the son of two immigrants and my father was a utility worker. I saw the struggles they went through. Same as the next person, I am continuing to work toward the American Dream.
Q: What are you excited about in this new role?
A: I’m excited about learning and listening. I’m always trying to learn more. Right now, I’m doing a listening tour of our locals across the country and trying to meet with as many of our members as possible.
I’m hearing a lot about the issues our members face on the East Coast and the West Coast and everywhere in between. For example, our members have been impacted by everything from Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast to the wildfires out west. I’m really hearing about what happens to the utility workers lives and their families when these kinds of things hit.
Probably one of the biggest reasons I got into the labor movement is seeing the struggles of working families. So, I’m always thinking about how we can make a better workplace and better life for our members.
Q: How do you see the utility industry changing over the next 5-10 years?
A: It’s changing today, not five years from now. The technology revolution happening today is faster. Climate change is impacting everything we do and that’s why we have to be engaged. We can’t have corporations dictating policy changes. We have to steer the ship. We can’t sit back and see what happens.
We have some great minds and we have to work together. The truth is the utility industry isn’t going to be the same in every capacity. Deregulation was fast moving, but what we’re experiencing now is moving even faster.
Q: How are we as an organization meeting those challenges?
A: Changes are going to happen and we’re not sitting back. We’re engaged and working to understand what that means for workplaces and our members’ livelihoods.
We’re engaging in discussions about climate issues, advocating that workers and communities are considered as policies are written. We’re on the doorsteps of the elected officials making decisions and ensuring our rights are protected in collective bargaining.
Q: What is your top priority over the next several months?
A: Getting out to meet members and listening, that’s my top priority. We have some talented people out there and I want to hear their sides of it. The two most valuable things in my life are my family and my members and letting them know their value.
Q: What was your favorite moment of the convention?
A: There were two. One was seeing all of the new members at their first convention stand up and seeing how many there were.
The other is hearing a story from an individual who attended a Power for America (P4A) conference. Attending that conference really inspired him to be more involved in the labor movement and become an advocate for safety in his workplace. That showed we’re doing some things right.
Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: I like all foods.
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: For movies, I like old humor like “Dazed and Confused,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Superbad.”
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: One of my hobbies is that I like to cook.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being a member of the UWUA?
A: Being part of this organization, when events happen we’re on the forefront of it. We don’t get enough respect for the work that our members do, making sure people have the electricity, gas and water they need. When wildfires or storms come through, we’re there and being part of the union and seeing men and women act as first responders it makes you proud.