Implementing Our Training Objectives
At our 75th National Convention in 2015, the Utility Workers Union of America laid out the guiding principles of our organization and we proudly proclaimed our theme: Reclaim, Retrain, Repower, and Repair America. At the convention, UWUA Delegates passed many constitutional amendments and resolutions. Our task moving forward is to implement these principles to improve the economic and working conditions of our membership while promoting energy policies that better serve the customers in the communities we work.
Maintaining the highest standards
Training is a major objective of our National Union and the bedrock that helps us maintain our standing as the safest, most productive, and highest skilled utility workers. One of the cornerstones of our principled theme is captured in Resolution #9: Retrain America. In this resolution, we acknowledge the aging workforce and the need to train the next generation of utility workers. The National Union has embraced several different programs and training initiatives to reinforce our commitment to training and career enhancement for UWUA members.
The UWUA created the Power for America Training Trust Fund (P4A). P4A is a joint labor-management trust to create career paths in the utility industry, and to provide on-the-job training and continuous skills enhancement for our members. The program utilizes experienced active and/or retired utility workers and qualified instructors. Proudly, our program is expanding.
In addition to the expansion of the P4A program our membership increased its participation at the National Union’s P4A Conference held in October 2017. This was a well-attended, successful conference with a very diverse representation of the UWUA, including senior/experienced workers, young workers, and clerical workers. Training included presentations and dialogue with trainers from the P4A, Department of Labor representatives, and industry experts.
As we continually strive to implement the principles as outlined at the convention, we realized the geographical and monetary challenges that many of our locals face in attending the P4A Conference or even the National Convention. To that end, in addition to the regional conferences, the national leadership setup mini educational conferences to meet and share information with smaller membership groups. These meetings were informal yet very productive. There was education and dialogue that included contract negotiations, grievance processing, and financial training.
The Utility Workers Military Assistance Program (UMAP) is another initiative that we have embraced. At our convention, we proudly proclaimed that, “Providing training and good jobs for those who serve our country is a UWUA priority.” Since its inception in 2012, UMAP has put hundreds of veterans to work in the utility industry. It has been a best practice of training to placement with DOD, and DOL partners. UMAP offers many supportive services that foster an atmosphere of learning and support during and after placement with our employer partners.
All-inclusive approach to training
While participating at these various training venues we have learned there is not any one solution for training and education. Every region or industry has its own challenges or obstacles and larger locals have different issues than smaller locals. However, we have learned that sharing our efforts and ideas makes us a better organization. An all-inclusive approach to training that includes P4A, UMAP, and Regional Educational Conferences is a proven success.
We would like to hear your ideas and/or suggestions that could help our organization meet the always changing needs of the utility industry. If your local is in contract negotiations or reviewing internal safety and/or training opportunities, I strongly urge you to reach out to your local or national leadership for guidance on how to participate in some of these educational conferences and national programs. It’s a good time to be a UWUA member – our union is active and strong. We must remain diligent in promoting our guiding principles as outlined at our National Convention.