Ohio Local 425 recently welcomed the newest UWUA bargaining unit into its ranks when, shortly after Aqua Ohio began providing water service in Campbell, its workers joined the UWUA. The six new members are distribution technicians, maintenance and plant operators with a wealth of experience.
The story of how they became UWUA members began last spring when Aqua Ohio announced plans to purchase Campbell’s municipal water system and treatment plant. In January 2020 Aqua Ohio took over. After Aqua Ohio hired the former Campbell water workers, they joined the UWUA.
Aqua Ohio is managing the water facilities as part of its nearby division, which already has a collective bargaining agreement with Local 425.
Thanks to the respectful relationship between the UWUA and Aqua Water throughout the country, the union was able to negotiate an agreement to have the Campbell workers covered by Local 425’s collective bargaining agreement without giving up anything in terms of pay, benefits, working conditions and seniority for retirement and vacation benefits. In addition to enjoying everything that a UWUA contract brings, the Campbell members won guarantees of job security.
Recently, they voted unanimously to accept the agreement negotiated by the UWUA.
The UWUA represents thousands of water workers in the public and private sector and is working with water companies to make sure the communities they serve have safe water and up-to-date infrastructure. Aqua Ohio is a member of the UWUA’s Power for America Training Trust Fund (P4A) and enjoys the benefits of its safety trainings.
“These guys transitioned to the UWUA because they saw the effectiveness of Local 425 and the great contracts they have been able to negotiate with Aqua Ohio. We’re happy to have them on board,” says Rich Cossell, UWUA national representative for Region III. “We have a number of members at Aqua facilities in Ohio and throughout the country. We think we can do really well for the Campbell members.”
The UWUA is in a very good position to represent water workers in both the public and private sectors. When public water authorities are privatized, the experience of the Campbell members, is an excellent example of how the impact of such a sale can actually lead to improvements for workers.
UWUA’s contracts have strong successor language that protects workers’ right to representation, wages, benefits, and more when their company is sold.