YOUNG WORKERS – Make Your Voice Heard, Vote!

Reggie Davis, Chair, Young Workers’ Initiative Committee

This has been a year of unprecedented challenges for the entire world.  COVID-19 has claimed many lives worldwide, including over 185,000 lives here in the U.S.  It has wreaked irrevocable economic harm on industries, businesses large and small, and caused families to fall into financial and emotional despair. Adding insult to injury, this once in a lifetime tragedy is still raging during what is undeniably the most important presidential election season ever.

We will persevere

The Utility Workers Young Workers’ Initiative Committee (YWIC) would like to offer our perspective and encouragement to our fellow UWUA sisters and brothers. We are all wading through these rough waters together and, while we may bend, we have not, nor will we, ever be broken. We are all forced to make tremendous sacrifices. We must endure the inability to physically be with our families and friends, or travel and live our lives free from necessary social distancing and safety precautions. Many have had to forgo traditional ceremonies and life events such as graduations, weddings, and funerals. We are all forced to make uneasy, necessary adjustments. Some have had to make the hardest adjustment of all; the adjustment of living without loved ones lost to this deadly virus. To those we offer our deepest condolences.

In our internal YWIC communications we realized a common theme. In spite of all we have sacrificed and lost, Utility Workers are still employed and still able to provide for our families. As many families have lost part or all of their income, at least from our vantage point, the Utility Workers have not experienced the same level of economic hardship as others. Many of our members work from home when and where it is possible, and there is a genuine effort to address the safety concerns raised by our leaders and members. For the most part our union leaders have received cooperation from our respective companies to keep us safe.

While we feel fortunate and blessed to still receive a paycheck during this pandemic, our feelings are balanced with empathy and sympathy for our fellow Americans and anyone who has not been able to maintain economic wellbeing during the pandemic. Therefore, the YWIC is committed to ramping up our efforts in our community partnership endeavors. We will do our part to promote the union values that have benefited us throughout this pandemic. Whenever and wherever it is safe, we will continue to volunteer at food pantries, nursing homes and labor and awareness walks. We will always represent the union way through our altruistic and educational projects, both internally with our members, and externally with our families and communities.

Vote your interests

This pandemic has shined a light on the social and economic disparities that plague the working class. From the grocery store workers to the health care providers and, of course, the women and men who keep the power on. These essential workers are the frontline warriors getting us through this perilous time. They not only deserve greater appreciation, they all deserve job security, a living wage, affordable housing and healthcare.  This can only happen if we have policy makers in place who will enact legislation that promotes justice and socioeconomic fairness.

This is why it is so important to vote. More importantly, we must vote our interests. Party affiliation means nothing if the issues that directly affect our livelihood and improve the quality of our lives are not met.  Our country is deeply divided and tribalism has largely replaced reason and compromise. The YWIC is not promoting one party over the other. We are simply suggesting we all make an informed decision at the ballot box. This November is an opportunity to give power to our voice and speak up for fairness, equality, and the interests of our families. Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, or have no party affiliation, we are all working class Americans and our vote should reflect that.