President’s Message, Summer 2015

Moving Forward with a Head of Steam!

D. Michael Langford, UWUA National President

D. Michael Langford
UWUA National President

We’ve built up a head of steam at the 30th Constitutional Convention and are moving full speed ahead. Our convention theme to “Reclaim, Retrain, Repower, and Repair America!” articulates the sentiments of our members, and the American people as a whole: the need to address the challenges working people face in our country today. In pursuit of the goals expressed in this theme, the National Union will focus on service, organizing, education, and political action over the next four years.

Political Action

There is no doubt that billionaires are running this country. They are orchestrating an unprecedented and relentless attack on the rights of working people to organize and bargain collectively. And in so doing, these billionaires are destroying our democracy.

People are sick of politics. But, we must remain engaged and elect representatives who have our interests at heart. We have to reclaim our nation. We have to do everything possible to encourage our members to engage in the political process. It doesn’t matter if a candidate has a “D” or an “R” in front of their name. If they are for working people, then we’re for them. To succeed, we also need to build our political action (COPE) funds.

Education

I’m a strong advocate of lifelong learning. In the last four years, our Power for America training programs have really taken off. This is becoming a part of who we are: utility workers training utility workers. When we do the training, it gets done correctly.

Our industry is changing rapidly and we need to stay ahead of these changes. This is essential to enjoying a lifelong career with the good pay, benefits, and working conditions often taken for granted.

Organizing

The only way to raise wages in this country and address inequity is to organize the workforce and negotiate through collective bargaining. The more workers who have the benefits we have, the harder it is to take them away.

Look at what’s taking place in coal plants around the country. It’s a setup for utilities to charge the highest price to generate power. When these power plants are eliminated, an artificial shortage is created.

The move to repower America with green technology will not succeed without base load energy. That’s why we need to keep these coal plants going. To that end, we are pushing federal agencies to support carbon capture: to make coal clean.

The challenges we face make it an imperative to organize workers in new “green” economy and to make whole those workers and communities affected by plant closings.

uwuamag-summer15-michael-langford-quoteService

Our country’s infrastructure needs repair. We cannot continue to go down this path of run it ‘til it breaks. Much of the rebuilding work in water, gas, and electricity should be done by Utility Workers because we know how to do it economically, safely, and on time. The National Officers know the pressure that comes with the job and are committed to serving you. We will give you the tools you need to get the job done.

Through our Member-to-Member program, the Young Workers Initiative Committee, the Women’s Caucus, and more, we are rolling up our sleeves and putting our boots on the ground.

We won’t back down. We never have and we never will. We will continue to fight to make sure our members are protected, reclaim our work, and take back our country.

Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!