Introducing: How It’s Done

National Vice President, Craig Pinkham

As utility workers, we often proudly declare ourselves as the stewards of essential utility services — ensuring everyone has the basics needed to move through life. It’s a source of profound pride, a badge of honor we wear as we navigate the complexity of our daily tasks on the job. But amidst this pride, do we truly comprehend the intricate work, technologies, and processes that underlie these everyday miracles?

Historically, a single utility company may have offered multiple services: electricity, gas, and water. In such companies, workers in each sector had distinct roles but shared a common employer, which facilitated interaction and collaboration. However, over time, this model has become increasingly rare. Deregulation further exacerbated this trend by creating more division, leading to separations among utility workers providing these services.

Eversource Energy, where I worked for many years before assuming the role of vice president in the national union, stands as one of the country’s few remaining multi-service utilities, and my tenure working there offered me unique insights into the utility landscape. Programs like Local 369’s “Walk in My Shoes” initiative provided firsthand exposure to diverse roles within the union, profoundly shaping my understanding of our collective efforts. Starting as a co-op worker in the call center, I transitioned through various roles in customer service, underground maintenance, overhead construction, and distribution dispatch. Each job assignment broadened my education and deepened my appreciation for our industry’s interconnectedness.

During a recent conversation among the national officers, President Slevin proposed an effort to broaden our perspectives beyond the confines of our own roles, sectors, or companies. We need to look beyond just our locals and regions. We must gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation for the work done by all of our UWUA brothers and sisters if we are to prepare and build our union for the future.

Thus, he tasked the union’s communication staff with launching a new series in this magazine to spotlight particular jobs and their execution across the country. The goal? To illuminate the diverse array of tasks undertaken by utility workers daily. It’s a chance to peer beyond the boundaries of our own workplaces and sectors, fostering a deeper appreciation for the contributions of our fellow members. While I had the privilege of exploring various roles within Eversource, the opportunity to learn from colleagues nationwide promises even greater enlightenment.

Consider, for instance, the stark contrasts between the responsibilities of an overhead line worker and those of a steam power plant operator. While both are integral to our electric system, their day-to-day realities diverge significantly. Such disparities only magnify when we extend our gaze beyond electric to gas and water utilities. By shedding light on these distinctions, we aim to foster a greater sense of camaraderie and mutual understanding among UWUA members.

Our union is a vast and diverse family, united by a shared commitment to serving our communities. Yet, within this tapestry of talent, a multitude of roles and responsibilities exist, each essential in their own right. From the hundreds of titles and classifications outlined in our contracts to the countless tasks performed daily, there’s much to explore and celebrate within our ranks.

Through this multi-part series, we’ll aim to bridge the gaps between our sectors, departments, and job titles, recognizing the inherent value in understanding each other’s work. By spotlighting common roles and introducing the individuals behind them, we hope to foster a spirit of collaboration and knowledge-sharing that will strengthen our union from within.

As we delve into topics ranging from water treatment to power generation, from customer service to substation operations, we’ll uncover a wealth of insights and best practices waiting to be shared. It’s an opportunity not only to enhance our own proficiency but also to fortify the bonds that unite us as utility workers.

In the end, it’s about more than just knowing what we do —it’s about understanding why it matters, both to our union and to the communities we serve. So, let’s embrace this journey of discovery, together forging a path toward greater unity, efficiency, and excellence in all that we do.

If you have an idea for a job description or job area of UWUA members’ work that we should feature, e-mail UWUA’s Communications Director Erin Bzymek at