This will be a monumental year for the UWUA and our members. As we enter the midpoint of our eighth decade, never before has the UWUA participated in so many different areas where decisions affecting the work lives of our members are made.
In order to ensure our nation succeeds in an ever-more competitive world, utility industry executives and elected leaders in government are being called on to invest heavily in our industries. As a result of work we’ve been doing over the last decade, we are in a good position to secure current and future work in the water, gas, electric, and nuclear industries.
While the House and Senate remain divided in Washington, making it hard to get legislation over the finish line, there is bipartisan agreement on the need to take action in a number of areas where we have been extremely active and influential.
Protecting our jobs
We were a key player in securing broad bipartisan support for passage of the Furthering Carbon Capture, Utilization, Technology, Underground Storage, and Reduced Emissions Act (FUTURE Act) last year.
The FUTURE Act is designed to fuel growth in research, development and investment in carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) equipment in coal-fired power plants, ethanol plants, steel plants, and other large carbon emitting industries.
Following that success, we are now supporting passage of the USE IT Act, another step forward in advancing technology-based solutions to environmental challenges in a manner designed to maximize the economic potential of our energy and manufacturing sectors.
In seeking new ways to power our nation and energize our industrial base, this bill recognizes the value of retaining and creating high-quality, family supporting jobs, and their importance to the working families and communities that depend on them for their way of life
Building for our future
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)’s latest 2017 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave the nation’s infrastructure a grade of “D+,” and estimated that getting to a grade of “B” would require a significant federal investment over the next 10 years. We are teamed up with our labor and environmental allies in the BlueGreen Alliance to get Washington to take action and invest in our infrastructure.
The Department of Labor (DOL)’s recent support of our Power 4 America’s national apprenticeship program in renewable energy is another example of how we are building the foundation in growing industries — wind, solar, and battery storage — for current and future members.
We were at the table when the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act was drafted. It would create a federal grant program that unions and community colleges could apply to for funding to train workers for the offshore wind industry. Our first DOL national apprenticeship program puts us in a position to reap the rewards of our efforts.
In all of these examples we see the opportunity to boost our economy, create millions of good, union jobs, while simultaneously reducing pollution, combating climate change, and strengthening our communities.
When we gather for our 31st National Convention this summer we will be more powerful and influential than ever before and prepared to take on the challenges ahead. I am looking forward to engaging as many member delegates as possible as we set a course for the future.