Leveraging Our Strength: A Vision for Fiscal Responsibility and Growth

Michael Coleman, Secretary-Treasurer

Through these past eight years as your Secretary-Treasurer, we’ve diligently laid the financial groundwork for growth. Since day one, I’ve remained steadfast in my commitment to fiscal responsibility and transparency. It’s important to emphasize that fiscal responsibility isn’t merely a matter of numbers; it extends to the thought and consideration behind every financial decision.

Back in 2014 when I took office, UWUA had roughly $11 million in assets and $2.2 million in liabilities, for total net assets of $8.6 million. Since then, we’ve done our best to safeguard our resources by keeping our liabilities and expenses down, while continuing to grow our assets. In 2022, net assets stood at $26 million — a three-fold increase over 2014.

Over that same period, we grew our union’s operating reserves (i.e. the number of months of operating expenses we have on hand) from about 10 months to 28 months. Why is this important? A solid financial cushion empowers us to face unforeseen challenges with confidence, whether it be the unknowns of COVID, countering right-to-work assaults in Michigan and elsewhere, or withstanding fluctuations in the stock market.

Considering that we were already in good financial shape with assets five times ahead of liabilities back in 2014, one might understandably ask, “Why the need for further growth?” The answer lies in our bold ambitions for the future of our union. Higher net assets will pave the way for us to fully realize these aspirations. It’s imperative to acknowledge that our assets go beyond merely having money in the bank. Our true strength lies in the collective talent and passion of our national staff, our local leadership and each and every UWUA member — the heart of our union.

Our vision encompasses a rollout of more impactful regional conferences, the development of robust fiscal training, additional training for a new generation of leaders, and investing in a comprehensive push for organizing — both within our existing workplaces and in new frontiers like renewable energies and untapped regions where the UWUA’s presence is yet to be felt.

Local 132 officers and members joined the SAG-AFTRA picket line on August 22 as part of the AFL-CIO’s National Day of Action in support of the striking workers. Left to right: Argelia Alvardo Gonzales, Merle Bautista, Edith Moreno, Belinda Moreno, Jason Whitlock, Joe Moreno, Hovik Beduryan, Alexa Barraza, Surya Bachtar, and Cathy Jazlin.

While our financial resources equip us for greatness, it’s the dynamic energy of our membership that truly propels this union onward. Our triumphs are a collective achievement, not the result of individual actions. Your national officers, executive board and national staff stand united to facilitate your success. We are wholeheartedly committed to investing in our membership and the future of the UWUA, cultivating growth and organization.

Our commitment is to ensure you have the tools you need to succeed. When you succeed, whether as a local leader or union member, the union prospers. While we’ve weathered storms and thrived, we can now stand poised, together in solidarity, to invest in the heart of our union, which is each and every one of you.