YOUNG WORKERS: Young Workers Help Build Our Union

Ryan Stutzman, Local G-555

In spring 2023, I was one of several Young Workers Initiative Committee (YWIC) members who took part in the UWUA organizing training in Roswell, NM. Little did I know then that I would put that training to good use just a few months later. When UWUA Organizing Director Deidre Brill and National Representative Valerie King reached out for help organizing Columbia Gas employees throughout the state of Ohio, I answered the call. I am one of the newer YWIC members, so I was a bit nervous. Still, I was willing and eager. Most importantly, I felt prepared due to the training I had previously received.

Since early September, I’ve been involved in a campaign to organize Columbia Gas employees. I’ve traveled across the state of Ohio and driven thousands of miles to reach hundreds of these employees. During these in-person visits, we had productive conversations, and we were able to deliver the information members needed to make an informed decision about what the UWUA can do for them.

Overall, most of the employees wanted to learn more. Those who work for Columbia Gas face issues including affordable health care and surveillance on the job in work trucks. We’ve made great progress in getting the information to the employees. UWUA national organizing staff hosted a centralized meeting in Columbia Gas’ territory to allow the workers to gather and follow up with their questions and concerns.

For me personally, as both a young worker and someone new to the challenges of the organizing process, it has been a very rewarding experience. I am thankful that I was given this opportunity to help others attain the many benefits members of our union enjoy. I look forward to other opportunities to organize, learn, mentor, and represent the YWIC and the UWUA in the future.