Michael Coleman, Secretary-Treasurer
Power! Why We Build Alliances
The Utility Workers Union of America recently sent a delegation to Canada to explore participation with the North American Solidarity Project (see page 7).
The UWUA involvement with NASP is just one step in building alliances. While, naturally, we do not agree with every policy position taken by affiliation members, the UWUA leadership realizes that through interaction with different organizations we can share ideas, gain new perspectives, and promote the interests and progress of our own members. Below are several of our current affiliations, their stated mission and, in each case, our goal in joining.
In each instance, the UWUA has identified opportunities for cooperative action with other organizations that may — or may not — be seen as traditional allies of labor. Advancing the interests of our membership means harnessing the power of collective action wherever it may occur — it’s not enough to simply look for allies in easy, obvious places. Sometimes alliances can be built between unlikely partners or, at a minimum, conflict can be minimized or resolved, allowing productive, non-partisan action to move forward. Our Union is committed to fighting for our members, in whatever form that may take, including the power of building alliances whenever they may be possible.
Who are they? The AFL-CIO is a democratically governed federation of 55 unions, each with its own distinct membership and unique voice. These unions have come together to build and support the rights of working people. Working together, the AFL-CIO affiliates fight for safe, equitable workplaces and give working people a collective voice to address workplace injustice without fear of retaliation.
UWUA Goal: Building cross-labor alliances where possible and avoiding conflict where alliance is difficult. The AFL-CIO provides informational resources on organizing, bargaining, and policy work and is very helpful in collective political action during election cycles.
Who are they? The BlueGreen Alliance unites some of America’s largest labor unions and its most influential environmental organizations to solve today’s environmental challenges in ways that create and maintain quality jobs and build a stronger, fairer economy. They are guided by the principle that America can no longer choose between good jobs and a clean environment — that actions taken to create quality jobs and to protect working people and the environment must go hand-in-hand, and that together, we all can build a clean, thriving and fair economy.
UWUA Goal: Understanding the perspective of the national environmental movement, creating new political opportunities when and where possible by identifying common interests, and defusing conflict to prevent our political opposition from using wedge issues against the broader progressive movement.
IndustriAll Global Union
Who are they? The IndustriALL Global Union is a force for global solidarity taking up the fight for better working conditions and trade union rights around the world. IndustriALL challenges the power of multinational companies and negotiates with them on a global level.
UWUA Goal: Cooperative political activism, organizing, and collective worker action across the globe to counter the power of increasingly multi-national employers.
Republican Main Street Partnership
Who are they? The Republican Main Street Partnership is a coalition of over 70 members of Congress who stand for strong, conservative principles in economic and national security policy and who believe in governing in a thoughtful manner. All of its members share a commitment to conservative, pragmatic government as well as compassion in our communities and character in our national leaders. As a results-oriented organization, they believe that governing must move beyond partisan political rhetoric.
UWUA Goal: Create new political opportunities when and where possible by identifying common interests, while defusing conflict and preventing open opposition through work on shared issues.
Union Sportsmen’s Alliance
Who are they? The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is working to be North America’s largest and most effective conservation organization. They aim to engage, educate and organize union members, their families, and like-minded individuals who share a passion for hunting, fishing, shooting and the great outdoors. The mission of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is to unite the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage.
UWUA Goal: Maintaining political cohesion across the labor movement through collective social activity.