As UWUA YWIC chair, I could not have been more pleased to see the large number of young and first-time delegates at the recent convention. During the Young Workers Initiative Committee resolution debate, members passionately emphasized YWIC’s influence and the need to support and develop future utility workers. Their impactful words will inspire other UWUA young workers who may also one day be a force in the labor movement. Their words transcend convention walls, and thus, I’m sharing them here:
I support the resolution because union careers change people’s lives. It’s changed mine. Like myself, kids come out of high school, unaware of the benefits a union career, like competitive wages, medical, a safe workplace, and retirement plan, just to name a few…One of the keys to keeping the union strong moving forward is keeping the young workers involved and educated. Young workers are the future.”
-Ryan Stuzman, Local G-555
“I support inspiring young members while they’re in high school and giving them the option to organize with the labor unions instead of having to take on tens of thousands of dollars in loans because they’re told that’s the only way to be successful. I support giving our youth the voice and the power they need through us, the Young Workers Committee.
The younger generations are told the only way they can buy a house, travel, and live the American dream is to further continue education until they reach the highest degree they can possibly afford. They are not told the power of collective bargaining and the power we have as a united union.”
-Hovik Beduryan, Local 132
“We have members that have gone through the young workers program who now serve as presidents, vice presidents, secretary-treasurers, members of executive committees. And things that I’ve learned along my path is how imperative it is that we as leaders do those things that were done for me along my career. So, I charge everyone out here as a leader, as a rank-and-file member: identify young people who have a talent, who have labor in their veins. Empower them to find positions within the union and support them throughout that. As our industry changes, the backbone of what this labor movement is going to be, will be these young workers.”
-Paul Talboo, Executive Vice President, Local G-555