Looking to the Future
I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge you, our members, for all the work you do, day in and day out, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 365-days a year. You keep the lights on, the water flowing, the gas burning, and make a good living doing so, thanks to our collective bargaining agreements.
I’d like to reflect on some of the things we’ve accomplished under very difficult circumstances.
Thousands of you worked during an unprecedented number of natural and man-made disasters this year. UWUA members have been on the front lines helping people and communities to recover and rebuild.
Even during the horrific Las Vegas shooting, we had a member who helped administer first aid to victims.
Right now we have crews in Puerto Rico rebuilding the grid. They are there because they will do the job right, on time, and on budget.
Collective bargaining and organizing
Our membership today is no different from those utility workers who came before us in their drive to secure the best collective bargaining agreements possible.
Despite the challenges of today, especially so-called right-to-work laws, we continue to secure contracts that are second to none. That is a major accomplishment, given the control of our country by anti-worker corporations and politicians.
Our successes draw the attention of unorganized workers. Many are reaching out, signing union cards, winning elections, and securing contracts that give them a voice at work, better wages, improved benefits, and safer working conditions.
Training the next generation of utility workers
Thousands of members completed safety training in 2017 through our Power for America Training Trust. Hundreds more received skills training. In addition, a number of new employers joined the Trust because of our proven record of success.
The Power for America Conference drew the largest, most diverse, and youngest number of members compared to either of the previous two P4A Conferences.
Carbon Capture technology
We’ve taken the lead with our partners in the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) in promoting carbon capture technology. Together, we are working to get bi-partisan legislation passed in Washington, DC that will provide tax incentives to help coal compete with natural gas, nuclear, wind and solar power.
It may take some time, but we are a union that looks to the future.
Taking issues head on in 2018
Rising insurance costs continue to be a drag on wages. To address this, we have an insurance option, the UWUA National Health & Welfare Fund. It can be used as a tool to leverage lower-cost benefits at the bargaining table.
Next year’s regional conferences will be more exciting and educational than ever. Mid-term elections are coming up, and it will be very important to elect representatives who will fight for working people.
We are meeting with much success in these very difficult times because we are utility workers. We make things happen. We are doers. We walk the walk. And we look to the future and plan ahead.
I’m wishing you the best this holiday season and looking forward to more success in 2018.