UWUA Awarded Prestigious Eugene and Ruth Freedman Leadership Award for Work with Veterans

Labor-Business Partnerships Help Veterans Find Post-Military Careers

WASHINGTON, DC (DECEMBER 15, 2020) – Today the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) was awarded the 2020 Eugene and Ruth Freedman Leadership Award by the Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services (Dixon Center). UWUA President James Slevin accepted the award in an online ceremony this evening on behalf of the organization in recognition of UWUA’s efforts to promote the well-being of veterans and their families.

“It’s an honor to be recognized with this prestigious award and to know we are making a meaningful impact helping veterans find family-supporting careers after their time in the military,” said UWUA President James Slevin. “This award is a credit to the hard work and dedication of a big team of people who are committed to ensuring veterans and their families succeed.”

UWUA and the Dixon Center along with the utility companies Peoples Gas and Consumers Energy worked together to address underemployment issues and career placement obstacles that disproportionately impact the veteran community. To date the program has benefited over 700 veterans and their families.

“UWUA is leading the way with its career development and placement programs for veterans,” said Retired Army Colonel David W. Sutherland, chairman of the Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services. “We’ve seen the UMAP program change lives over and over again.”

Additionally, the ceremony honored UWUA’s Director of Veterans Affairs and Workforce Development, Rick Passarelli with the Michael ‘Mick” Yauger Point Man Award for his leadership.

“The UMAP program wouldn’t be what it is today without Rick’s remarkable dedication,” said President Slevin. “After the pandemic shutdown UMAP training programs earlier this year, he broke down doors across Chicago pushing for veterans to resume their training so they didn’t fall through the cracks. It’s one of many examples of his excellent work and we’re tremendously proud to see Rick honored this evening.”

The Eugene and Ruth Freedman Leadership Award is given to organizations that embody the philanthropist spirit of its namesake. The couple’s lifetime of philanthropy, including supporting military and veterans’ services, continues through their family foundation. The award is named after Eugene and Ruth Freedman, whose lifetime of philanthropy continues through their family foundation and their three children, Penny Freedman, Nancy Remak and Rick Freedman.


Chartered in 1945, the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), AFL-CIO represents around 50,000 active members employed in America’s utility sectors including the electric, gas, water, and related professional and service industries. James Slevin is the UWUA’s National President. For more information visit https://uwua.net.