UWUA Local 304 Utility Workers Union of America AFL-CIO

The Annual UWUA Local 304 Family Picnic is cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the occupancy policies created by it.

It’s obvious that your union has been a bit distracted. We’ve lacked communication on issues important to our membership, even though, the E-Board has continued to represent your interests. Seems the 2020 curse has struck all aspects of our home and work life, including union issues.  Even with the demands on the membership caused by an elongated “Covid-19” maintenance cycle, your union’s officers have continued dealing with the company on disagreements, investigating and handling grievances, submitting information requests, scheduling arbitration, and filing board charges.

Of course the membership wouldn’t know any of this unless they attended union meetings, which has been hindered by the aforementioned obstacles, as well as members trying to squeeze in some kind of vacation out for themselves and their families.

Trouble is, whenever things seem quiet, with no new rumors or drama, the company perceives this as an opportunity to test our members solidarity. In this era of quarantine and shelter in place because of the Corona Pandemic, it’s easy for each of us, as individuals, to begin to adopt insular attitudes that work to divide us from each other.

The current political climate, with the upcoming election, act as a catalyst to further divide each other over party or political differences. It’s easy to forget the things we’ve accomplished together as a union.

Suddenly we have members up in arms over Cross-Training, a few who want to fiddle with work schedules we fought so hard to keep in our first contract, upheaval in almost every department, and an anonymous person (or persons?) posting things on your union’s bulletin board that were copied directly from a well known union-busting organization’s website. There have even been hand written comments on your union’s postings that tout Fort Martin‘s wages as better than ours,, claiming they are 3% more. Actually the are not much higher, but why? Maybe it’s to keep them from wanting a union!

If you believe this propaganda, and believe that is enough for you to trade your Sick Time for PTO, you Successor and Assigns clause, your Seniority, and all other language in our Collective Bargaining Agreement, which IS a contract, then maybe you should transfer to the Fort.

We’ve even had members call the National UWUA when they announced support for Biden/Harris! As a local, we don’t tell our members how or who to vote for, respecting our member’s opinions and differences. The National is always going to back candidates who make their job representing and protecting the membership easier, no matter which party. However, not ONE DOLLAR of your regular dues goes for political activism. The UWUA has a separate fund called COPE that is used for this purpose and members participation and donations are totally voluntary.

Frustrations are running high, but don’t let it distract from the fact that UWUA Local 304 is YOUR union. For better or worse, all the members in it are your union brothers and sisters. Our greatest strength is in the diversity among our membership, so don’t let it be a point of contention or division.

Also keep in mind the we are a relatively young union. 304 is only ten years old, the first four of these were spent in fighting for our first contract. What we ended up with was a mediated collective bargaining agreement, but it was a start and something to build on.

Many of our newer members came out of other unions. This is a big plus, while some of us still struggle with what it means to be union. They bring knowledge and experience to our young local. Their input is valuable because many of the unions these members came from had CBAs that developed over decades, instead of ours that is less than a decade old. We just have to be mature enough to listen respectfully to each others input, and if we disagree we must do so without being disagreeable.

Click on highlighted links for more information.

One thing is for sure; we are STRONGER together.

Stay SAFE!