EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT
Steven VanSlooten , Executive Vice President
Workers Banding Together in Union
Approaching the end of another year, I always like to reflect on the previous year and think about what the New Year will bring. I have to say that the results of the mid-term elections give me hope. We will work with those who were just elected to get them to improve the lives of working people, rather than helping those who don’t need it.
As we prepare for the holidays let’s be thankful for our union and what we have as utility workers. We are truly blessed for what we have been able to do as workers banding together in our union.
Fighting together as one
Our wages, benefits, and job security are among the best in the world. The companies do not give these benefits to us. We have to band together and speak with one voice to negotiate them. Without our union contract, our benefits and security could be changed and/or taken away at the whim of the employer. We should reflect on that and thank those who came before us. They set the bar high. Our job is to try to protect what we have and inch the bar up a little bit more.
We need to be proud of being union workers. We have what we have because we do come together as a union. Regardless of what little disagreements we have here and there, when it all boils down, when the rubber meets the road, we stand together as family and fight together as one.
Going into the New Year, we have the opportunity to move forward. As long as we stick together and fight together, we’re going to be ok.
One area of our continued success is in the training of incumbent and new workers through our Power for America Training Trust (P4A). We’re bringing more companies into the fund, training more workers, and hiring more instructors.
I’m happy to announce a new agreement with California Water Services Company to provide safety and skills training to UWUA members. I cannot overstate the importance of this new relationship for our California Water Utility Council, California Water, and the public.
P4A recently hired William Komianos as a Health and Environmental Director. Bill will develop and deliver training programs, enhance existing training, and provide health, safety and environmental support to members.
A total of 3,200 members successfully completed P4A trainings this year: 2,100 in Health, Safety and Environmental skills, and 1,100 in Struck-By and Caught In-Between hazards.
Protecting what we have, preparing for the future
Looking forward to 2019 we will continue to defend existing modes of energy production, but we are not going to stick our heads in the sand and let someone else do the work in emerging renewables. It is important that we keep our eye on new technologies. We’re not going to stop them from happening. We have to protect what we have and prepare for what is coming.
When it comes to the generation of electricity and the distribution of electricity, water, and gas, we want to make sure we are on the front lines and do whatever we can to secure that work for our members.
There are a lot of tracts being put out for bids for offshore windmills. We want to be the ones operating and maintaining those sites. We want to be the ones doing that work.
We’re not giving up on fossil fuels but with companies moving into offshore wind and other renewables we want to be the ones who are working, doing the training through our P4A, building training centers, and getting those workers into the union. That’s going to be on the fast track going into 2019.
Let me close by wishing each and every one of you the best this holiday season. Here’s to the New Year!