President’s Message – James Slevin

An Honor to Serve You! - UWUA National President, James Slevin

An Honor to Serve You!

Brothers and Sisters, as your new president I want you to know right off the bat that I am honored, humbled, and proud to be elected to represent each and every one of you at the national level.

I will continue the legacy of those utility workers who came before me, those who built the UWUA into the strongest union representing workers in gas, electric, and water utilities.

I particularly want to thank former president, now President Emeritus Mike Langford and former

Executive Vice President

Steven VanSlooten for their years of service to our members and the larger labor movement. They set us on a path for the 21st Century and it is now up to each and every one of us to continue to move this union forward.

Moving forward

As utility workers, we’re working more hours than ever before, and our families and country are suffering. When my mother and father were alive, this country wanted to build families, not destroy them. I believe that the labor movement is going to reverse the attack on working families and their unions. My focus will be on growing the UWUA and continuing to strengthen the labor movement.

In order to do that, we have to change, not just union officers, but rank-and-file members too. We have to get more involved, and more vocal, whether it is in the union hall or in the voting booth.

We have to tell employers, “I deserve respect. I came into work today and at a minimum I want to be thanked for the work I do.” I don’t see CEOs waking up at 2:00 in the morning to rush in when outages happen, water mains break, or there’s trouble with a gas line. We do and we should be recognized for that.

Be change

Our industries are changing faster than ever before. We will either be on the forefront of that change or we will be left behind. I will make sure that we are moving forward, not just for you, our members, but also for the labor movement. We must never forget that it was the blood, sweat, and tears of working people just like you and me that built the middle class of this great nation. To strengthen the labor movement and move our country in the right direction we must all get involved and get active.

We understand the rapid change that is happening in the utility sector because we experience it every day. Contact your elected representatives and let them know that you understand the change and that they must make sure your perspective, the worker’s perspective, is central to their decision making. That is the only way that the changes taking place in our industries will benefit all Americans.

We do the work

You hear a lot of talk about a Green New Deal. Utility workers care for the environment as much as anyone. We also like a safe workplace and wages and benefits that will support our families. For a Green New Deal to succeed, it must include us. It must protect our jobs — those doing the work today — and all of the gains unions have made in wages, benefits and working conditions. And it must provide more good union jobs for utility workers of tomorrow.

As your president, I want you to know that I will not stand still or stop moving. I will demand that of other officers and staff. The most valuable things in my life are my family and my membership. If you need help, call.

In solidarity.