The economic crisis we confront today demands that we act now to defend middle class jobs and revive the American Dream for our nation’s working families. Unleashing domestic energy sources, rebuilding our infrastructure, protecting good jobs and creating green employment opportunities are at the core of the solutions to the crisis. For utility workers, this offers great opportunities as the decisions that are made in these areas affect us directly. We need not choose between environmental devastation and good domestic jobs; a robust energy sector and consumer protections; or safeguards for current workers and a well-trained, diverse workforce of the future. Indeed, it is imperative that all of these be included in energy policy and job creating stimulus programs that address the crises we face. The Utility Workers Union of America advocates for:
Rebuilding our infrastructure to reverse the damage done by years of neglect by the market driven, deregulated industry. We must modernize our electric, gas and water systems to create better efficiencies and promote conservation.
Training and retooling our workforce to operate and maintain the utilities of the future. This is not just about acquiring new skills; training must be tailored to meet the needs of full-time workers who will be enhancing their skills throughout their careers. Due to the large number of retirements expected over the next five years, utilities are one of the few sectors with projected job growth. We must make sure that utility jobs allow workers to earn a decent living. And we must encourage greater recruitment, training and employment of women and minorities.
Maximizing existing technologies to increase efficiencies and reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants while investing in carbon neutral nuclear power.
Developing promising technologies, such as carbon capture and sequestration, wind, solar, biofuels and other renewable energy sources to jumpstart the next generation of power plants.
Adopting government regulations that secure our future by protecting consumers, encouraging energy conservation, rewarding the use of sustainable energy sources and requiring investment in the workforce and infrastructure. Years of failed experimentation with deregulation in the energy sector have left our country weak, vulnerable, and unprepared for the future.
The Utility Workers Union of America continues to be in the forefront of the fight for a secure energy future that protects consumers, respects workers’ rights and creates good paying domestic jobs. We are the safest, most productive, highest skilled workers in the world.