The Utility Worker - Michigan State Utility Workers Council



The Utility Worker - Michigan State Utility Workers Council
April/May/June 2010
Po w
Vectren members win contract improvements ... pg 9
Legislative Conference pushes energy bill and EFCA ... pg 13
Global campaign scores major victory at Covanta ... back cover
Published quarterly by
Utility Workers Union of
America, AFL-CIO
April/May/June 2010
Volume LV, No. 2 / P.N. 312840
April/May/June 2010
ISSN: 1937 4232
D. Michael Langford
Shareholder Action Yields Results
Executive Vice President
Steven VanSlooten
Union wins corporate reform at DTE Energy
Vice President
John Duffy
Regions 2-3 Conference Report Back
From education to action
Gary M. Ruffner
Michigan State Council Wins New Contract
Retiree healthcare protected, funding for UWUA’s P4A Training Trust
Vectren Dayton Members Ratify Contract
Concessions rejected, improvements won
Lobbying for Comprehensive Energy Legislation
Utility Workers join Blue Green Alliance to advocate for good green jobs
President’s Message
Speaking Out
Human Rights
UWUA Trust Funds Update
2012 Scholarship Program
Saluting Our UWUA Retirees
THE UTILITY WORKER • April/May/June 2010
National Executive Board Members
Jim Anderson
John Capra
Noel Christmas
Mike Coleman
Kelly Cooper
Pat Dillon
Harry Farrell
Robert Farrell
Robert Fronek
Rich Harkins
James Harrison
Keith Holmes
Dan Hurley
Monte Kotur
Robert Kovar
Andy O’Connell
Lucia Pagano
Richard Passarelli
Charlie Rittenhouse
Robert Whalen
Associate Editor
George Manoogian
Cover Image by NASA at
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Getting Results!
D. Michael Langford
n this issue of The Utility Worker, you will read
lies candidate who won a key Congressional seat.
about a number of victories and our ongoing
Creating national Taft Hartley funds to provide
work that is seeding the ground for more. We
health care and retirement benefits.
have taken on a rabidly anti-union employer, Covan Reaching out to the new generation of utility
ta, and won a significant first contract. We continue
workers, bridging the gap between our existing
to win new collective bargaining agreements for our
members and our new ones by opening differmembers with existing employers that protect earlier
ent avenues of communication at our regional
gains and make some advances despite the chalconferences, on Facebook, YouTube and through
lenging economic times. And we have elevated our
our website.
National Union’s presence at every level to become a
household name in all the branches of government
These are all things that need to get done if we are
that directly affect us, and even some that don’t.
to be able to preserve the good jobs we have for our
Feeding off the momentum
existing members and grow our
of our last convention, we are
membership so that those who are
creating a new, invigorated Naworking in our industries without
“We are all making a
tional Union, and we are getting
a union will be able to enjoy the
difference, shaping
good wages, benefits and working conditions that come with a
our future, creating
UWUA contract.
Moving Forward
our industry by
We have put together a team of
Standing Up for
leaders and staff that is second
building UWUA
to none. We are reaching out
What is Right
and supporting our local afThis is more important than ever
filiates as we never have before.
before in our history as powerPeople in labor, industry and
ful corporate backers in governgovernment acknowledge the fact that we have put all
ment and on Wall Street continue to emulate Robin
the right pieces together and are moving forward.
Hood in reverse, stealing from the poor and giving
The challenge is to make the whole union greater
to the rich. Despite the fact that these same people
than the sum of its parts. What we have done to make
have wrecked our economy, they continue to get
this happen includes:
the golden egg while working people are getting the
Establishing the Power for America Training Trust
to address issues we face in skills training.
Joining the Blue Green Alliance to push legislation that will protect existing jobs in coal, nuclear
and gas while laying the groundwork for good
union jobs in the green economy.
Working with our international labor federations
to make a global impact and ensure a just transition to new green utility jobs.
Building our political action capacity to affect
the outcome of elections such as the recent one
in Pennsylvania where more than 25 members
phone banked on behalf of a pro-working fami-
goose egg.
That’s wrong. And we will continue to take them
on and stand up for what is right for our Union, our
families and our country.
Every National Union officer and every one of our
staff members is giving 110%, performing at a very
high level to represent our members at the bargaining
table, in government and in our communities. We are
getting positive results.
We are seeing the fruits of our labor. Things are
changing and beginning to move in the right
We are all making a difference, shaping our future,
creating our industry by building UWUA power!
April/May/June 2010 • THE UTILITY WORKER
At Press T
Protesting at Massey Energy’s
Annual Meeting in Richmond VA
Charlie Rittenhouse, Local 69 President and UWUA E-Board
member from West Virginia, and Bryan Ash, Local 69 Vice
President. Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine explosion
was the deadliest U.S. coal mine accident in 25 years.
Save the Dates!
June 10 - 12
Region 5 Conference
- Pasadena, CA
August 12 - 14
Region 4 Conference
- St. Louis, MO
September 22 - 24
Region 1 Conference
- Hyannis, MA
June 22 - 25
UWUA 29th Constitutional
- Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
Union Wins Shareholder
Reform at DTE Energy
majority of shareholders voted in favor of a corporate reform
proposal put forward by UWUA at the DTE Energy annual meeting
in Detroit. The proposal – which was strongly opposed by management – calls for a change in the corporate bylaws to require every director
to stand for election each year, instead of the current practice of only once
every three years.
The Union submitted the resolution under Securities and Exchange
Commission rules allowing shareholders to require management to include
proposals on corporate governance issues in the company’s proxy for a vote
by all stockholders. Seventy-five percent of DTE shareholders voted for the
Union’s proposal.
“Very few companies in the utility industry continue the outdated practice
of electing directors only once every three years,” stated UWUA SecretaryTreasurer Gary Ruffner. “We’re pleased that the shareholders agreed with us
that it is long past time for DTE to adopt this common sense reform.”
The UWUA owns stock in all major utility companies employing the
Union’s members, and actively pursues shareholder reform proposals
each year. Earlier this year. American Water’s board of directors adopted a
UWUA proposal calling for a similar reform in the procedure for electing
corporate directors.
Reggie Davis Tapped for Young Workers Summit
Reggie Davis, UWUA Region 1 national representative,
is hitting the ground running as the newest, and youngest, National staffer. He will soon be attending the Young
Workers Summit. The summit is scheduled for June 10-13
in Washington, DC. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz
Shuler, the youngest person ever elected to a top AFL-CIO
office, has called this first-ever summit. There, young labor
activists will share their concerns, skills and ideas for shap-
THE UTILITY WORKER • April/May/June 2010
ing the young workers’ roles in the
union movement. Davis will bring
back what he learns and be a part of
the UWUA’s outreach to young members through online social networks.
You can learn more about the AFLCIO summit by visiting: http://www.
Regions 2-3 Conference
From Education to Action!
WUA Regions 2-3 members gathered in Pittsburgh, PA, May 12-14 for their
annual training conference. In addition to valuable skills-building workshops on such topics as Arbitration Preparation and Presentation, Cultural
Differences in the Workplace, and Understanding Health Care Reform, attendees did
something new that yielded results.
Steven VanSlooten,
Executive Vice
President, UWUA
“President Langford wanted dialogue and that’s what
we got. We learned that many locals share the same
challenges and concerns and what we can do together, with the National Union, to fight for our members,
and potential members, to make things better.”
— Eric Richardson, Chair, Human Rights Committee and Region 3 Member
Historically, as part of the regional conferences, each local reports on current activities. However, for this regional conference a new approach was
implemented in an effort to ensure others gain from the experience; understand shared commonalities; and see how to use the information for strategic
planning purposes to make the UWUA and its locals stronger. Each local was
asked to answer the following questions:
Local 475
Kathryn Bakich
The Segal
1. How have you and your local expanded the brand of the union in the local
community? (Civic/community outreach, political activity, etc.) Give one
2. Where do you see the local going in the next 6 months to 1 year, from a
strategic growth standpoint?
3. What currently constitutes an intense period of heat (threat) for the local,
and what leadership skills do you need to address the situation?
Local 111
Robert Whalen
Local 102
These questions elicited lively discussion. Important information was shared
and that will help formulate leadership activities, training, strategic planning
and support for the locals from the National Union.
April/May/June 2010 • THE UTILITY WORKER
ack cove
d from b
UWUA Scores Major
to a fair contract,” states David
Leonardi, Local 369 business agent
who headed up negotiations for
the union.
That’s when the UWUA
launched a campaign to win a
model union contract for all Covanta workers.
The International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’
Unions (ICEM) and Public Services International (PSI) both provided critical support
in the Covanta campaign. The UWUA belongs to both global union federations.”
Contract Fight Heats Up
Covanta operates more than 50
“energy from waste” and related
facilities across the U.S., primarily
for local municipal governments.
Most of the company’s facilities
are non-union, which is hardly
surprising considering Covanta
policies that aggressively discourage employees from organizing.
A key element of UWUA’s
strategy included publication of
Covanta’s track record of labor and
environmental violations to public
officials in every U.S. community
where the company operates. The
Union also exposed Covanta’s controversial history to communities
overseas, especially in Canada, Ireland,
and the U.K., where the company is trying to expand.
Global campaign
In June 2009, the campaign provoked a
firestorm of controversy in the Netherlands, where Covanta was one of two
“Indeed, in the many years that ICEM has followed first contract struggles following successful organizing drives in
the United States, we cannot think of a better initial collective agreement. This is not
merely a “foot-in-the-door” contract, but one that is surely built to last and one that all UWUA
members ­— in fact, all union members in America — can be justly proud of.”
— Manfred Warda, General Secretary, ICEM
potential bidders for a publicly-owned
waste management firm. The Dutch
company abruptly canceled the proposed $1.4 billion transaction, after
political leaders in the country criticized
Covanta’s role in the deal and numerous
Dutch newspapers publicized the labor
dispute in Massachusetts.
The UWUA also carried its campaign
to local governments throughout the
U.K. and Canada, where Covanta hopes
to build new plants. A member of the
British Parliament introduced a resolution condemning Covanta’s bargaining stance in the U.S., and newspapers
in Ireland and Canada prominently
covered the UWUA’s dispute with the
The UWUA also challenged the
company’s conduct before federal law
Covanta Campaign Timeline
May 2, 2008
Covanta employees at SEMASS
plant in West
Wareham, Mass.
vote for UWUA Local 369 in National
Labor Relations
Board election
Aug. 14, 2008
Covanta issues
concessionary contract
demands in
including numerous illegal work
rules restricting
employee rights
Aug. 25, 2008
UWUA Local
369 writes to
Covanta CEO
Anthony Orlando,
offering to enter
into productive
with company;
Orlando declines
to reply
THE UTILITY WORKER • April/May/June 2010
Sept. 10, 2008
UWUA National
President Michael
Langford urges
union leaders in
Britain, Canada,
and Ireland to
support UWUA
members in
Covanta dispute
Sept. 30, 2008
Member of
European Parliament Proinsias
De Rossa writes
Dublin city officials criticizing
Covanta’s role in
waste incineration
project in Ireland
Feb. 9, 2009
Covanta informs
SEMASS employees
their bonuses and
wage increases have
been rescinded, stating
“the corporate bonus
you have received in
the past is not available to employees who
are in bargaining units
represented by unions”
April 2, 2009
U.S. Occupational
Safety & Health
fines Covanta $6,375 for
safety violations at
SEMASS, including equipment
“maintained” with
cardboard and
duct tape
May 7, 2009
UWUA delegation
attends Covanta
shareholder meeting at company’s
New Jersey
headquarters to
raise dispute with
Covanta Chairman
Sam Zell
Victory at Covanta
enforcement agencies. The U.S. Occupational Safety
and Health Administration issued two sets of safety
citations against Covanta during 2009 for serious
electrical and fire hazards at SEMASS.
In March 2010, an NLRB administrative law judge
ruled, that Covanta had committed numerous unfair
labor practices, including the illegal termination of
SEMASS employees’ wage increases and bonuses.
The decision ordered the company to pay full back
pay to the workers.
Exemplary Contract Settlement
Meanwhile, the Union continued pressing for a fair
settlement in negotiations. Local 369 conducted 96
bargaining sessions with the company, led by Leonardi with the assistance of Mohoney and SEMASS
employees Gerry Fabich, Phil Canedy, and Ed Pierce.
As the UWUA campaign escalated, Covanta finally
signaled a willingness to settle. The new contract
provides wage increases of 2.8% each year over a
three-year term, a one-time ratification bonus of
$1,250, plus bonuses of up to 7% on employees’
gross pay every year.
A second agreement requires Covanta to pay an
average $14,000 to each employee to compensate for
the wage increases and bonuses withheld by management following the union election. That agreement
provides a 3% wage increase retroactive to early
2009, an 8.1% bonus for 2008, a 2.7% wage increase
retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010, and an additional 4.85%
bonus for 2009.
“We’re thrilled with this new contract,” states
Fabich, chief shop steward at the plant. “I can’t say
enough about the UWUA’s determination to stand
with us to firmly establish a strong union for Covanta employees.”
May 20, 2009
NLRB issues
complaint charging Covanta with
illegal work rules
at all of its U.S.
June 1, 2009
OSHA fines Covanta $13,500 for
additional violations at SEMASS,
including energized equipment
covered with fly
ash and other
electrical hazards
June 3, 2009
Dutch firm
Essent abruptly
cancels proposed
$1.4 billion sale
of its waste
management unit
amid widespread
Dutch media
reports concerning Covanta labor
dispute in U.S.
June 8, 2009
Member of
John McDonnell
resolution in
British Parliament urging no
Covanta expansion in U.K.
The new contract provides wage increases
of 2.8% each year over a three-year term, a
one-time ratification bonus of $1,250, plus
bonuses of up to 7% on employees’ gross
pay every year. A second agreement requires
Covanta to pay an average $14,000 to each
employee to compensate for the wage increases and bonuses withheld by management following the union election.
Celebrating their hard-fought victory are, from left to right; Local 369 ‘s Paul Doyle, Field Organizer;
Lou Mandarini, Attorney; and Dan Leary, Acting Secretary-Treasurer; Covanta Bargaining Committee
members: Phil Canedy; Gerry Fabich; Ed Pierce; and David Leonardi, Local 369 Business Agent.
June 30, 2009
NLRB issues
new complaint
Covanta with
illegally rescinding bonuses and
wage increases
to retaliate
against SEMASS
workers’ union
Aug. 27, 2009
Gary Smith,
national officer for
British union GMB,
attends SEMASS
informs Covanta
bargaining team
that its hostile
approach to UWUA
damages the company’s prospects to
expand in U.K.
Dec. 23, 2009
NLRB petitions
U.S. federal
court in Boston
for rare “Section
10(j)” injunction
against Covanta
unfair labor practices at SEMASS
March 26, 2010
NLRB Administrative Law
Judge issues
decision finding Covanta
illegally withheld
bonuses and
wage increases
workers, ordering back pay
April 22, 2010
UWUA members
ratify two labor
agreements at
Covanta SEMASS
providing an estimated $2 million
in backpay and a
three-year labor
April/May/June 2010 • THE UTILITY WORKER
Michigan State Utility Workers
Council and Consumers Energy Shake on
Five-Year Contract
ollowing months of negotiations
that began in September 2009,
an agreement has been reached
between the UWUA Michigan State
Utility Workers Council and Consumers
Energy for a new five-year contract.
The 2010-2015 contract, which was
ratified on April 28, covers nearly 3,000
members throughout 23 locals. Highlights include a 15% wage increase over
the term of contract and a commitment by both parties to jointly pursue
funding of the P4A Training Trust in
future public service rate cases.
Mutual Gains Bargaining
Similar to the 2005-2010 contract, the
new agreement was reached through
Mutual Gains Bargaining (MGB) and
facilitated by Edward Hartfield of the
National Center for Dispute Settlement (NCDS), explains Pat Dillon,
president of the Michigan State Utility
Workers Council.
Negotiations began with three
“teams” for healthcare, pension and
data. The MGB process requires
the parties to establish joint teams
focused on developing options to
address agreed upon issues and allows
for increased involvement from the
23 UWUA locals within the Council
and the Consumers Energy contract.
Each team consisted of three representatives from the union and three from the
company. The healthcare and pension
teams made their final presentations to
the main table in January 2010. Then in
February, five additional teams (again
three union reps/three company reps)
began developing options to address
issues in skill and training, overtime response, per diems and meal allowances,
vacation/paid time off, and shifts and
schedules. A tentative agreement was
reached April 1.
THE UTILITY WORKER • April/May/June 2010
“Wage increases include COLA (cost
of living allowance) as well as a yearly
general increase resulting in 2.75% over
year one, 2.5% over year two, and 3%
each of the next three years,” says Dillon.
“Although the yearly percent of increase
adds up to 14.2% over the life of the
agreement, due to the fact that the wage
increases compound each year the end
result is a 15% increase,” Dillon adds.
the general budget and did not have
to be used for the training. “Now, by
having the funding placed in the P4A
Training Trust, we can ensure that the
rate payers’ money is going toward what
it was intended for, the training of the
membership,” expains Dillon.
Dillon concedes that members may
now pay a premium for healthcare,
which phases in at 7% – 13% over the
term of the contract, but adds
that a zero premium healthcare
option was maintained. “We
“We have been pursuing funding
knew healthcare was going to be
of the P4A for the last three rate
an issue. We’re facing very difficases and although the MPSC’s
cult economic times in Michigan.
(Michigan Public Service ComWe have delayed paying premiums over the last several years by
mission) staff has been supportmaking changes to the healthcare
ive of the concept, Consumers
plan, but there are only so many
has fought it tooth and nail...
adjustments that can be made. It
was either dealing with paying a
Now, by having the funding
premium or having an inferior
placed in the P4A Training Trust,
health insurance plan.”
we can ensure that the rate pay-
ers’ money is going toward what
it was intended for, the training
of the membership.”
— Pat Dillon, President, MSUWC
P4A Training $$ Big Win
The commitment by Consumers to pursue funding for the P4A Training Trust
may prove to be the biggest highlight
of the contract. “We have been pursuing funding of the P4A for the last three
rate cases and although the MPSC’s
(Michigan Public Service Commission)
staff has been supportive of the concept,
Consumers has fought it tooth and nail.”
says Dillon. Previously, training funding
provided by the rate payers went into
Protecting Retiree
“Of greatest concern was trying
to protect our retirees who are
affected by changes in the active members’ healthcare plan.
Current Medicare retirees will
experience just a slight increase in their
deductible, office visits co-pay and
prescription drug coverage; however,
they will not pay a premium. Current
pre-Medicare retirees (55-65 years) will
only pay 50% of the active members’
premium co-pay,” says Dillon.
“I’m happy with the overall end product. I feel we won a good, fair contract,
especially when you consider we’re in
the state of Michigan, where we currently have the highest rate of unemployment in the country,” stresses Dillon.
Vectren Dayton Workers Ratify
New Contract
WUA Local 175 members at
Vectren’s gas utility in Dayton,
Ohio ratified a new contract in
April that turns back numerous company demands for concessions, and instead
provides significant wage and benefit
gains over the three-year agreement.
to work because of sickness or injury.
The previous contract expired on October 31, 2009, but Local 175 members
continued to work under the terms of
the expired contract after overwhelmingly rejecting Vectren’s concessionary
company. The website – – detailed ProLiance’s troubled legal history, including a
$33 million federal jury verdict finding
that the firm had defrauded a municipal
customer in natural gas sales from 2000
through 2002.
Local 175 President Kelly Cooper speaks at
the Regions 2-3 Conference.
UWUA Executive VP Steve VanSlooten congratulating
Local 175 President Kelly Cooper.
Improvements Won
The contract, ratified April 22,
includes gains in Local 175 members’
wages, job security, retirement, and
healthcare benefits. Previously, management had demanded painful takeaways
from Dayton workers in all areas of the
“This contract represents a significant
victory for our members and our customers, despite the demands by Vectren
over the past eight months to impose
major cutbacks in family incomes and
job security,” stated Kelly Cooper, president of Local 175.
Concessions Rejected
When negotiations commenced last
August, Vectren demanded steep concessions in retirement and healthcare
benefits, abolition of job security guarantees for workers, and elimination of
severance pay for any employee unable
Chris Tebbe and Paula Green from Local 175.
With negotiations dragging on
without progress, the UWUA initiated a campaign to support the union’s
bargaining position. Local 175 members and retirees fanned out across Ohio
and Indiana to leaflet Vectren board
members, including in the company’s
hometown of Evansville, Ind., as well as
at regional banks where some Vectren
directors also serve as board members.
The UWUA also launched an innovative website concerning ProLiance
Energy, a natural gas marketing firm
co-owned by Vectren and another utility
The contract settlement with Vectren
continues the job security guarantees of
the previous contract, enhances workers’ healthcare and retirement benefits,
and provides major improvements in
disability benefits for disabled workers. Other features include annual wage
increases of 2.25%, 2.75%, and 3.0%
over the three-year term, plus a $1,000
bonus payment to all workers upon
The most contentious issue of dispute
in negotiations had been Vectren’s
demand to eliminate the defined benefit
pension plan for new hires, substituting instead a substandard 401(K) plan.
Local 175 successfully resolved the issue
by negotiating improvements to the
401(K), bringing retirement benefits
under the plan up to comparable
benefits for existing workers under the
traditional pension plan.
April/May/June 2010 • THE UTILITY WORKER
As UWUA members, what can we do to help our
co-workers, family and friends understand the
need to transition to clean energy?
Jessica M. Francis-Wright
Vice Chair
Local 601
As UWUA members, we need to stress to our union brothers and sisters, family and
friends that transitioning to clean energy will help to increase the demand for jobs. We
need to explain that these jobs encompass the same skill sets that our members currently
use in their day-to-day work. At a time when many jobs are currently going overseas,
this will ensure that we keep jobs here where they belong. Clean energy is two-fold: environmental responsibility and securing American jobs.
John (Scotty) MacNeill
Executive Board Member
Local 1-2
Lead Mechanic
Bring the issues down to the grass roots. Let them know how clean energy will affect
their lives and those of their children by ensuring their future, not just in jobs, but also
in our environment.
David Brown
Local 483
Instrument Specialist
The best way to help our families, friends and co-workers understand the need to transition to clean energy is conversation, lots of conversations. It doesn’t matter which side of
the debate on global warming they take. Everyone can agree we want to breathe clean air.
The fact that clean energy equates to clean jobs makes the conversation that much easier
to have.
Lee Herbert
Vice Chairman
Political & Human Rights Advisor
Local 601
Field Collector
It is important as union leaders we start a grassroots movement. It is crucial that we go
back to our communities and begin to educate. Reach out to our schools, churches, civic
and social organizations until we have reached the masses of our people.
THE UTILITY WORKER • April/May/June 2010
James Spry
Executive Board Member
Local 1-2
Senior Nuclear Maintenance Coordinator
As UWUA members, we need to educate our co-workers, family and friends on the
needed transition to clean energy. As a nuclear worker, I speak to anyone who will listen
on the benefits of nuclear power. The fact that it does not emit carbon is great for the
environment, economy and our country in our fight against “global warming.”
Valerie King
Association Representative
Local 601
Customer Service Representative
Develop a caucus within our union or a campaign that focuses on the changing economy and the way that technology will enhance job opportunities for utility workers. This
will help ease the anxiety of workers so that they feel included in the overall strategy
and movement to advance green jobs in our industries. It’s not about eliminating jobs;
it’s about a concerted effort to mobilize union workers and their legacy.
Tom Banks
Local Union Trustee
Local 223
General Pipe Fitter
Clean energy is our future and we need to be the organization to mold it for our future
and the future of our country. People need to understand clean energy means jobs with
good pay and benefits. Clean energy will be an ongoing and ever changing industry for
future generations. What better gift can anyone give their family than a safer and better
life than you had?
George Stieber
Vice President
Local 150
Nuclear Control Operator
As with any social or economic issue: communicate, communicate, and communicate.
Whether it is through radio, TV or, with this generation, the Internet, we should share
our vision with the public, the ways and hows of the transition to clean energy. Even if
they don’t believe that global warming is occurring, we should explain the importance
of reducing or eliminating reliance on foreign sources of energy, and the simple responsibility we have to our environment as well as to future generations.
April/May/June 2010 • THE UTILITY WORKER
Utility Workers Join Hundreds of Green Jobs Advocates
Lobbying for Comprehensive Energy Legislation
he UWUA continues
to play an active role in
the Blue Green Alliance
(BGA), a growing coalition of
labor unions and environmental
organizations seeking passage of
a comprehensive clean energy bill
to ease climate change and create
millions of good, green jobs.
In early May, UWUA activists
joined hundreds of people on
Capitol Hill to lobby members of
Congress to pass such a bill. The
UWUA President Mike Langford with Representative
Job Development Coordinator Carl Wood speaking with Henry
effort was a conclusion to events
Edward Markey (D-MA), chairman of twin climate
Waxman (D-CA), co-author of a bill to create clean energy
surrounding the 2010 Good Jobs,
and energy panels in the House and co-author of the
jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming
Green Jobs National Conference.
Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security
pollution and transition to a clean energy economy.
Act of 2009.
“We need to get energy legislation passed so that our industries
nuclear, water, gas and coal.”
economy that creates good jobs, reduces
know what the rules are,” said UWUA
The conference drew nearly 3,500
global warming, and preserves America’s
President Mike Langford. “Once that
people over two and a half days to turn
economic and environmental security.
happens, there will be billions invested
ideas into action and build a new, green
in our core industries — electric,
Utility Workers and the Blue Green Alliance
Dan Leary
Acting Secetary-Treasurer
Local 369
Ed Good
Executive Board
Local 350
“I represent overhead, underground, station operators, coal fired, gas, nuclear and now trash-to-energy. You name it, we represent them. Climate change legislation is a scary prospect for some of our
members, especially coal. But I’ve got to say that I’ve been to two Blue Green Alliance events where
we focused on the legislation. It looks great. The job creation in it is tremendous for every area of our
industry. To be able to do that and protect the environment is just fantastic. They want to retrofit coal
plants to burn clean coal. There is retraining money in there, so if it comes down to eliminating some of
the older plants, we will continue to be the ones who generate electricity in the new generation plants.
That means a lot to our members. We don’t want to put blinders on like other unions have done. New
technology is where the industry is going. When they build a new plant, and it’s green, we want to make
sure that’s our work. All the credit for our forward thinking goes to the National Union who are part of
the Blue Green Alliance. We are moving forward with the industry which is what we need to do.”
“What we’re doing with the Blue Green Alliance is building a coalition of labor and environmental
groups to promote good jobs in the new green economy. I work at the Burger plant; it is going to be
transitioned from fossil fuel to 100 percent biomass. Our members understand that without the transition to biomass our plant would have been closed down. We possess the skills that are needed in the field
of green energy, whether it’s in new plants or the retrofitting or scrubbing of other plants. We know that
coal is going to be a part of the energy portfolio for the country; it’s just that simple, whether you like it
or don’t like it. The key here is that under the President’s plan, there are going to be large investments in
clean coal technologies. Those scrubbers are quite expensive. However, they provide a lot of jobs, they
provide a lot of economic opportunity, so utility workers should not see that as a negative. We say it’s a
jobs creator. Our plant is a prime example.”
THE UTILITY WORKER • April/May/June 2010
Building UWUA Power!
Legislative Conference Pushes Energy Bill and EFCA
Parked outside of all the Legislative Conference proceedings was Local 1-2’s impressive, new mobile office.
“We need to let our representatives
know the Utility Workers will fight
hard for comprehensive climate
change legislation that invests in
the creation of good domestic jobs,
that ensures the transition between
older technologies and new technologies is realistic and adequately
funded, that reduces the pollution
that causes global warming and
that protects consumers.”
— D. Michael Langford, President, UWUA
ore than 150 utility workers converged on Washington, DC for the UWUA’s biannual Legislative Conference during the last week in April.
They heard from top labor, environmental and government
leaders. At their 40 Congressional visits, they pushed for the
passage of a jobs creating energy bill and the Employee Free
Choice Act (EFCA).
U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, AFL-CIO President
Richard Trumka, Steel Workers President Leo Gerard,
BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Dave Foster,
Vice President Joe Biden’s chief economist, Jared Bernstein,
and several congresspeople addressed the conference. A
panel of Washington insiders also took part in a Town Hall
Meeting to keep the conference lively until the end.
“This was enlightening and inspiring,” said Hector Ortiz
from California Local 132 who was taking part in his firstever legislative conference. “I met and spoke with Xavier
Becerra, my Congressman. It felt good. It’s nice to know the
union is doing something and we are making a difference.”
The conference came at a critical time for utility workers.
The Senate is now considering the American Power Act,
introduced by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). Their bill aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
The House of Representatives passed the Clean Energy
Security Act last year. That bill, authored by Henry Waxman
April/May/June 2010 • THE UTILITY WORKER
Building UWUA Power!
(D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA), would set limits on
greenhouse gases and a system to trade carbon emissions.
Both pieces of legislation would invest in green jobs,
invest in training, and provide a boost to the economy.
Shaping the Future, Creating Our Industry
“Our members and our industries must and will play a
vital role in solving our economic crisis,” UWUA President
Mike Langford told participants. “We are the backbone
of America’s utilities. And we must unleash domestic
energy resources, rebuild our infrastructure, protect good
jobs and make green jobs good jobs if we are to become a
stronger nation and build a better world.
“We need to let our representatives know the Utility
Workers will fight hard for comprehensive climate change
legislation that invests in the creation of good domestic
jobs, ‘that ensures the transition between older technologies and new technologies is realistic and adequately funded,’ that reduces the pollution that causes global warming,
and that protects consumers,” Langford said.
When that occurs, “We’ll be in on the ground floor, with
a say in how workers will be treated, what their wages will
be and who represents them in a whole new industry.”
Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow welcomed a visit from UWUA members, left to right,
Chris Collier and George Stieber with Local 150, Senator Stabenow, John Fisher and
Dan Pfeffer with Local 388. Stabenow votes consistently on the side of labor. “She saw
us labor guys and came right up to us,” says Collier. “She’s a friend of labor, always has
been. She is a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act. She knows what got her
here and who is supporting her.”
Stephen F. Lynch
UWUA Power Goes Global
Just as the conference began, a contract agreement was
reached between Local 369 and Covanta. The UWUA
engaged in a global campaign against Covanta to persuade
the company to negotiate what turned out to be an excellent first contract (see
story on back cover).
This good news added
fuel to the lobbying efforts of the Washington
conference as it provided
a clear example of the
UWUA’s growing power
and influence in the
From left, Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) and
utility industry and with
Congresswoman Laura Richardson (D-CA) at the reception.
elected officials.
Linda Sánchez
Luis V.
David Foster,
Blue Green
UWUA Chief of Staff Stewart Acuff is signing a book
Deborah Smith, Region 1 Human Rights Advisor an
member of Local 369
THE UTILITY WORKER • April/May/June 2010
k for
nd a
“We can’t afford a false choice between coal and
nuclear and wind and solar and hydroelectric
power and geothermal. We need to put Americans back to work producing and using all those
types of clean energy.”
— AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis speaking with Hector
Ortiz and Daniel Parral, California Local 132 members.
“You helped put me in office in my first race
in 1992. That is something that I will always
remember. I feel very proud to be your Secretary of Labor. I am someone who understands
working men and women. I remember talking
to you a long time ago about green jobs. What
is a green jobs worker? Well, it is someone who
will use the job skills they now have to help
reduce our dependency on oil and reduce our
consumption of energy.”
— U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis
“We’ve built a movement that will be the engine
to drive the change that will create good jobs
for the next generation. Our generation will
either leave to the next generation the worst
mess in history — or the greatest opportunity in
— United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard
“By making large scale investments to address
climate change, we can not only make the planet sustainable for future generations, we can
fundamentally restructure the global economy,
redistribute wealth, create good jobs and empower people.”
— Debbie Sease, National Campaign Director, Sierra Club
April/May/June 2010 • THE UTILITY WORKER
Gary Ruffner, Secretary-Treasurer
Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO
Year Ended December 31, 2009
Statements Of Financial Position
Current assets
Cash and cash equivalents
Accrued interest receivable
Per capita receivable
Accounts receivable
Due from (to) other funds
OSHA grant receivable
Receivable from locals for bond premiums
Total current assets
Furniture and equipment
Software licenses
Total assets
Defense and
Organizing Fund
General Fund
Accounts payable and accrued expenses
Amounts due for unsettled investments purchases $2,031,289
Funds held on behalf of others
Total current liabilities
Accrued postretirement benefits cost
Deferred compensation liability
Total long-term liabilities
Total liabilities
Temporarily restricted
Total net assets
Total liabilities and net assets
Benefits Fund COPE Fund
Statements Of
Expenses - General Fund
Year Ended December 31, 2009
Payroll taxes
Other fringe benefits
Postretirement benefits
Executive Board expenses & allowances $346,214
Temporary office services
Supplies and materials
The Utility Worker
Professional services
Year Ended December 31, 2009
COPE Fund contributions
Conferences and meetings
Depreciation and amortization
Per capita reimbursed upon request
Defense and
Organizing Fund
Benefits Fund
THE UTILITY WORKER • April/May/June 2010
Affiliation fees
OSHA safety training
Dues and subscriptions
Per capita dues
Initiation and charter fees
Interest and dividends
Allocation of interest and dividends
Net appreciation in fair value of investments
Credit card royalties
OSHA grant revenue
Net assets released from purpose restriction
Net assets beginning of year
Net assets end of year
Office rent
Postage and delivery
Change in Net Assets
Quit The Corporate Double Talk and
Give Employees Their Fair Share!
hese days in negotiations, employers are using “marhas become a $3 billion a year busiket-based” arguments to justify cutting wages and
ness as many employers would rather
benefits, reducing the workforce, and then pocketing
spend money to beat back unionizathe profits from these cuts and increased worker productivity.
tion efforts than see that employees
Steve VanSlooten
They try to do this by manipulating market research to show
receive their fair share. Employers
Executive Vice President
that upper management deserves more and workers deserve
today don’t want to pay their fair share
of our members’ healthcare plans,
Upper management “market indicators” are used to inflate
reasonable wage increases, or pension benefits. They want us to
the pay and pensions of corporate execs. Companies argue
continue to work more while they continue to give us less and
that research shows that CEOs nationwide are making more
themselves more.
and more money and getting better and better pensions — so
they too are going to have to pay more
The Recovery Act Keeps
to maintain their upper management.
People Working
However, employers then claim their
“We need to unite as
To the management of utility compamarket research shows just the opposite
nies that are crying poverty, especially
one labor force and
when it comes to workers and contract
those that are piggybacking on the
negotiations. They say that, because
let our elected leaders
promise of greener jobs and healthier
their studies show workers are earnliving, The American Recovery Act is
know we won’t tolering less and less, with fewer and fewer
putting money back into our employbenefits, they will need to cut, cut, cut
ate having our harders’ pockets, not later, but right now
to remain ‘competitive.’
— and we know it. In April, the Obama
earned money deductadministration announced that nearly
ed from our paychecks
Free Markets are Not Free
$100 million worth of grant money
We reject these arguments. The truth
will be available to establish workforce
to bail out greedy
is that this corporate-speak/logic has
training for 30,000 Americans across
corporate executives.”
driven this country into dire economic
54 programs. The money, and the job
straights. Free markets are NOT free
opportunities for all of us, are there.
– they are manipulated to enrich the
Unfortunately, corporate greed is there
few. Goldman Sachs’s CEO, Lloyd
too, and it’s not pretty.
Blankfein, has a base salary of $600,000, but after stock awards
We must not forget where we came from. We must rememand other compensation, he pockets nearly $10 million in
ber the thousands of hard-working union individuals that
annual salary. The fact that the company’s once pristine repupreceded us, who fought hard for us to have what we have
tation in the financial industry has now been tarnished by a
today. We need to unite as one labor force and let our elected
multimillion dollar fraud scandal and is being investigated
leaders know we won’t tolerate having our hard-earned money
comes as no big surprise. Despite our nation falling into a
deducted from our paychecks to bail out greedy corporate
recession it hasn’t seen the likes of since the Great Depression,
executives. We will not tolerate being told that we must suffer
Blankfein’s generous income was the average for most corpocuts in the jobs, wages and benefits that working families so
rate bigwigs at Standard & Poor’s top 500 businesses in 2009.
desperately need and deserve. As one voice, we are stronger
Time and again ‘the man’ wants us to believe that inflation
and can turn this trend around for the betterment of all, inand unemployment are the culprits responsible for stealing
cluding the thousands that still struggle for union representamoney out of the pockets of hardworking Americans. Meantion — which is why we so strongly support the Employee Free
while, the hardworking men and women who make these
Choice Act.
companies strong and profitable are getting less and less for
I will close with a quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt. “The
their efforts because the folks at the top don’t want to pay a fair
test of our progress is not whether we add more to the
share. Columnist Steven Greenhouse wrote in The New York
abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide
Times that 12.4% of the American workforce belonged to a
enough for those who have too little.”
union in 2008, down from 35% in the 1950’s. Union busting
April/May/June 2010
2010 •• THE
“Government of the people, by the people,
and for the people shall not perish from
the earth.”
hose words that were spoken by Abraham Lincoln as part
Deregulation Cause of
of his famous Gettysburg Address have as much meanGreat Recession
ing today as ever before. Unfortunately, almost 150 years
So now, here we are, 81 years since
later, there are forces in this country today that would have you
John Duffy
the start of the Great Depression
believe that government is the source of all our problems and
National Vice President
and in the middle of the worst
that the private sector is our only savior. While it will take job
economic crisis since. Why were
creation in the private sector to get out of the economic crisis we
we suddenly thrust into this economic nightmare? Why didn’t
are currently in the midst of, the Great Recession was brought on
Glass-Steagall prevent this from happening? There is a one word
by abuses in the private sector itself and lack of effective governanswer for both of those questions. DEREGULATION!
ment regulation.
In 1999, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Texas
If we go back to the greatest economic crisis in our country’s
Republican Phil Gramm, pushed through
history, the Great Depression, its root
the Financial Services Modernization Act
cause was, once again, abuses in the
(FSMA). The act was, in essence, a repeal of
“There are a whole lot more
private sector and lack of government
the Glass-Steagall Act. A new wave of merghonest working class Ameriregulation. There was little control
ers was on.
cans in this country than
over what banks could do with your
Apparently money can buy a lot of confimoney once they got it. OverzealCEO’s. And we need to let
dence. In the two years preceding the passage
ous involvement in stock market
our representatives in Washof the bill, the affected industries poured a
investment by commercial banks was
combined total of $300 million dollars into
considered by many to be the main
Washington, DC without regard to party.
in making government work
reason for the market’s crash. As a
The act was approved by a Republican
for us doesn’t end there. We
result, over 9,000 banks failed in the
Congress and signed into law by Democratic
need to pass the Employee
President Bill Clinton. That’s not the kind of
Free Choice Act to level the
bi-partisanship we need in Washington.
Government Helps
Solve Crisis
playing field for those who
want to join a Union and to
obtain first contracts.”
It was clear at the time that it was
the responsibility of the US Government to not only deal with the crisis
at hand but to find a way to prevent it from happening again. In
1933 the Glass-Steagall Act was voted into law. The law would
bring sweeping changes to the financial sector. Eventually, banks,
brokerage houses and insurance companies were effectively
barred from entering each others’ industries, and investment
banking and commercial banking were separated.
While the changes brought on by the Glass-Steagall Act were
resisted by the financial industry, we did eventually overcome the
economic disaster of the Great Depression. From that time on,
(with Glass-Steagall fully in force) we as a nation, after a successful outcome in World War II, saw one of the greatest economic
expansions in our history. The creation of the great middle class
at that time was a result of the post-war economic boom and
the expansion and influence of labor unions. While a thriving
industrial base created jobs, labor unions saw to it that those
jobs came with good wages and benefits. Labor unions raised the
economic bar for all workers, union and non-union alike.
THE UTILITY WORKER • April/May/June 2010
Financial Industry Fights Reform
The impending mergers would find us, less
than a decade later, listening to a new phrase,
‘Too big to fail.’ Reform of the financial
industry is critical in preventing future economic disasters. And
you can be sure that the captains of the financial industry will
fight tooth and nail against any such reform. But don’t give up
on government as the titans of industry would like. Just like collective bargaining, our strength is in our numbers. There are a
whole lot more honest working-class Americans in this country
than CEOs. And we need to let our representatives in Washington know that. But our job in making government work for us
doesn’t end there. We need to pass the Employee Free Choice Act
to level the playing field for those who want to join a union and
to obtain first contracts. We need tougher OSHA safety standards
with more rigorous enforcement and heftier fines and imprisonment for those who are responsible for workplace fatalities,
which average over 5,000 a year.
We can and must make government work for us. The alternative is simply government of the corporation, by the corporation
and for the corporation.
What is the Price of a
Union Education?
recently attended the Regions 2-3 educational conference
edge, tools and inspiration. I have
not realizing it was going to be one of the most important
come to understand through this
events in my union career. When we look at what we do
experience that the knowledge is all
as union officers, it is magnified ten fold when we have a real
around us and we must aggressively
Eric Richardson
crisis. We usually don’t have a large staff to do research needed
pursue it.
Chair, Human Rights Committee
to attack the issues we face.
The member I was helping was a
Right before leaving for the conference, I had just learned
former union officer and half way
about a member who the company was trying to force to retire
through his ordeal, he said to me,
or go on long term disability at the
“Thirty seven years we’ve complained about
age of 57. At the time this ocwhy spend the money to go to educational
curred, the president and secretary
conferences and what do we get out of it?”
“The National Union is
were working out of town and the
Then he said the resounding truth, “Had I
vice president had retired. One of
not been at the regional conference where the
our experienced welders was being
knowledge was, we would have never been able
to a point where they
pressured by the company to retire
to get up to speed as fast as we did and gain an
can perform at a highand I had not dealt with this type
understanding of how to approach the crisis!”
of issue before. The member was
on workers’ compensation and the
always reacting and
New Wave of Training
company had just zeroed two of his
are poised to do more
As of this date, we were able to come to an
paychecks along with giving him
agreement that was very beneficial to the
organizing and provide
this disturbing news. I knew I was in
member and also gave the company an out
a sea of trouble. What could I do to
even better member
without the use of an attorney or going to
defend my member?
The National Union is helping develop
Union’s Knowledge Base
locals to a point where they can perform at a
is There for You
higher level so we aren’t always reacting and
Being on the Human Rights Committee and having the likes of
are poised to do more organizing and even providing better
Craig Massey and Rob Howard to consult with was a tremenmember representation. The new wave of training includes
dous asset. Having access to Bob Chet and Dr. Arthur Matleadership training, membership engagement, political leveragthews was also great. I had never talked to Rich Mata before
ing and organizing
the regional conference but got to meet him there and get a
We may think all we have to do at a conference is sit and listen
quick education on workers’ comp. Many times, in the heat of
but I say be interactive, engage in conversation, and broaden
battle, you have to absorb information very quickly and then
our tool chest by learning how to best represent our members
process what you’ve heard so you can use it.
who expect us to produce when the time comes to step into a
I have seen on the cover of “The Utility Worker” magazine and
crisis. So what is the price of a union education? It’s priceless!!!
on the UWUA website that regional conferences provide knowl-
UWUA Human Rights Committee
The Human Rights Committee promotes and develops the active participation in UWUA affairs of all minority groups and women. They
also seek to improve communications between the national office and the offices of the regional director and the local unions in matters
concerning human rights. To this end, the delegates to the 2007 UWUA Convention expanded the scope of the committee chair by voting
to include his/her participation in all regular meetings of the National Executive Board as an advisor. The committee members are: Eric
Richardson, Chair, Region 3, Local 544; Deborah Smith, Region 1, Local 369; Marei J. Burnfield, Region 2, Local 537; Craig Massey, Region
4, Local 223; and Robert Howard, Region 5, Local 246.
April/May/June 2010 • THE UTILITY WORKER
UWUA Trust Fund Update
The UWUA’s three National Trust Funds
provide members with training services,
health and welfare, and retirement benefits. This column is an update for union
members on key developments within
the funds.
UWUA Power for America
Training Trust
The Trustees of the UWUA Power for
America Training Trust recently approved the expenditures required for the
trust to become a “Partner in Education”
with the Midwest Energy Association
(MEA). This strategic partnership will
position the trust to be a dynamic training force within the utility industries in
which UWUA members work.
The MEA serves the people that bring
electricity and natural gas to American homes and businesses. MEA was
founded as a training association over
100 years ago by visionary distribution utilities in the Midwest to improve
safety and efficiency. Utility companies
nationwide now benefit from MEA’s
industry roundtables, operations conferences, and other events. Members
collaborated to develop EnergyU, the
world’s premier online training and
testing system for the gas and electric
utility distribution industry. The MEA
not-for-profit fee structure delivers
to members and subscribers the best
possible training at the lowest possible
cost in the areas of natural gas, liquids,
OSHA, electric, and leadership training.
This relationship with the UWUA
Power for America Training Trust will
expand over the coming months. The
MEA website will soon include a UWUA
portal and UWUA accredited on-line
courses for participants to take to either
gain new skills or refresh current occupation training requirements. This is an
exciting addition to the UWUA Power
THE UTILITY WORKER • April/May/June 2010
for America Training Trust Tool Box of
Opportunity. The MEA and UWUA are
committed to provide trust participants
the best-in-class training experience that
will prove to be a valuable, nationally
recognized credential on their training
UWUA Deferred Compensation
Trust Fund (410k)
The investment-consulting firm of
Morgan Stanley-Smith Barney (MSSB)
was recently awarded the contract to
be the trust’s financial asset manager.
MSSB also manages the assets of the
UWUA Health & Welfare Trust Fund.
By awarding MSSB this contract, the
trustees were able to leverage the current relationship between the parties to
gain a very competitive administrative
cost structure. The trustees believe that
MSSB will provide a professional asset
management component that is required for the best return on investment
for trust participants. Over the coming
months, as the trust’s current certificate
of deposit assets reach maturity, they
will be transferred to an MSSB account
and the trustee-directed investment
policy components will be implemented.
UWUA Health & Welfare
Trust Fund
The recent enactment of the National
Health Care Reform legislation will
provide health care coverage for a large
number of uninsured Americans. The
legislation also mandates that insurance
exchanges be created which will allow
“competitive markets” to emerge for the
purchase of health insurance products
for individuals and small businesses.
Analysis of the legislation’s extremely
vague content causes experts in the
health care benefit fields to be very
By National
Training Director
Rich Mata
concerned as to the eventual definition
of the law’s intent.
Over the coming months, the legislation mandates that the Secretary of
Health and Human Services conduct
hearings, public meetings and interested parties forums to gather input
on the legislation’s many unanswered
questions. It is vitally important that
the UWUA and labor be a part of
these discussions as the lobbyists for
corporations, health insurance, and
pharmaceutical companies as well as a
myriad of other interested parties are
already lined up to try and influence the
legislations’ final language. The trustees,
along with the trust fund professionals, are cautiously watching the debate,
and will notify the fund’s participants
of any changes that might eventually be
required due to this evolving legislation.
UWUA Power for America Training Trust:
UWUA Trust Fund (401K):
UWUA Health and Welfare Trust Fund:
Be sure to visit and bookmark the
trust’s website for timely, insightful
information regarding the union and
industry news —
You can also follow us on Facebook
by doing a search for “Power 4
America,” on Twitter and
on YouTube:
Graying of the Workforce:
What Can and Should State Commissions Do?
he energy industry is facing an
impending workforce shortage.
The shortage reflects an unprecedented number of retirements expected
to occur in the next decade, coupled
with increasing energy demand and
changes in the skill sets needed to support shifts toward “greener” energy technologies. Both the U.S. Department of
Labor and the North American Electric
Reliability Corporation have expressed
concerns that the anticipated workforce shortfall threatens the reliability,
efficiency, and security of utility services. Indeed, the Department predicts
that 500,000 energy industry workers
will retire over the next five to ten
years, a turnover rate of 50 percent.
Utility Commission’s Role
Concerns about the “graying of the
utility workforce” — and how state
commissions should consider responding to them — are addressed in a
January 2010 paper published by the
National Regulatory Research Institute
(NRRI) entitled, “Are Utility Workforces Prepared for New Demands?
Recommendations for State Commission Inquiries.” NRRI is a research
organization that prepares papers on
matters of interest to state utility regulators. The paper calls on state utility
commissions (1) to allocate resources
to investigate the status of current and
future staffing plans of regulated utilities; (2) to encourage solutions where
appropriate; and (3) to mandate them
where necessary. This message has
been favorably received by the National
Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners who endorsed the paper,
and expressed support for “cooperative
approaches that regulators and utilities
can take in addressing future changes in
the utility workforce.”
The UWUA has long counseled local
unions to consider and, where appropri-
ate, participate in state utility commission proceedings. Among other things,
utility rate and related proceedings offer
opportunities for workers to educate
commissions about the link between
workforce training/staffing issues and
the ability of a utility to deliver safe and
high quality services to customers at the
“The UWUA has long
counseled local
unions to consider
and, where appropriate, participate in
state utility commission proceedings.
While some state
statutes are more explicit than others, every state commission
has some form of
authority to address
workforce graying
and other staffing
lowest reasonable cost. While some state
statutes are more explicit than others,
every state commission has some form
of authority to address workforce graying and other staffing matters. Thus,
local unions can raise proper staffing
questions in proceedings in which they
are relevant to the matters at issue.
Local unions who seek to bring staffing issues to the attention of regulators
generally have two routes through which
to raise concerns. First, the union can
wait for a utility-initiated “triggering
Scott Strauss, Attorney
event,” e.g.,
Spiegel & McDiarmid
the submission of a
rate hike request. Second, the union
can itself initiate matters by asking the
Commission to undertake an investigation. The latter action could be taken,
for example, in response to an external
event, such as a lengthy service outage
accompanied by negative customer reaction. When investigations are conducted, labor organizations should strongly
consider participating, as you can
provide unique, on-the-ground perspectives on staffing issues and their impacts.
Once an investigation is underway, local
union participants can seek the production of data central to the evaluation of
graying issues, including with respect
to hiring, recruitment, retention, succession, and training/apprenticeship
Staffing Issue
In terms of solutions, local unions can
point to programs initiated by utilities
across the country, at times in partnership with workforce representatives.
The NRRI paper highlights examples of
such programs, including the UWUA’s
“Power for America Training Trust
Fund,” which was pioneered by Local 223. The Power for America Trust
Fund is now being administered by the
National, and has programs operating in
Michigan, Iowa, and Minnesota.
Graying issues are a subset of general utility staffing concerns, and the
same considerations can be applied to
investigations of other staffing issues,
such as workforce diversity or the degree
to which workforce composition and
skills are keeping up with the industry’s
changing needs—not only in the energy
industry, but in water, telecommunications, and other regulated industries as
The paper is available at
April/May/June 2010 • THE UTILITY WORKER
UWUA Remembers Jeffrey D. Bakker
effrey D.
Bakker, 53,
a Region
IV representative for the
Utility Workers Union of
America since
2003, passed
away on March 11, 2010, following a
valiant fight against cancer.
Bakker was born on Nov. 19, 1956 to
Lloyd and Joanne Bakker in Holland,
MI. He graduated from West Ottawa
High School in 1975 and spent six years
in the United States Navy. During that
time, he married hometown sweetheart Karen Kintner and, upon being
discharged, they moved to Charlevoix,
where they made their home for 28
“I’ve known Jeff since kindergarten, we were in Boy Scouts and played
football in high school together,” recalls
Steve VanSlooten, UWUA’s executive
vice president. After Bakker got out of
Local 369’s Maverick
Construction Company, Michael McNally
Receive Patriot Award
The Massachusetts Committee for
Employer Support of the Guard and
Reserve (ESGR) recently awarded
Local 369’s Maverick Construction
Company and its owner, Michael
McNally, with the Patriot Award, for
their support of employees who serve
in the Massachusetts National Guard
and Reserves.
Local 369 organized Maverick Construction back in 2000. Since then we
have had a very cooperative relationship even though we had a down turn
in the economy. This is in large part
do to Mike McNally.
THE UTILITY WORKER • April/May/June 2010
the Navy, he went to work at Consumer
Energy’s Big Rock Point Nuclear Plant
in Michigan. Once again, he met up
with VanSlooten, who began working at
Consumer’s Campbell Complex in 1981.
In 1986, Bakker was elected president
of Local 346, a title he held for nearly 17
years. In 1992, Bakker was also elected
vice president of Michigan State Utility
Workers Council.
It was in 2003 that Bakker was appointed to the position of UWUA
national representative for Region IV, a
title responsible for midwestern members.
“The chance to get to know all the
different local unions in the region, and
learn more about different areas of the
utility industry, such as water works and
the professional and call center employees, is something I’m really looking
forward to,” said an enthusiastic Bakker
in a 2003 interview.
“For those who didn’t understand the
impact of being a union member, he’d
sit down and explain what the union
meant to society,” says VanSlooten.
“Whether it was an individual’s healthcare benefits in jeopardy or a local that
needed his help, he believed in seeking
justice, and was very straightforward.
He worked hard to improve the lives of
members, as well as the union membership as a whole.”
“But he was also a very dedicated family man. His wife Karen and his children
were the center of his world,” adds
VanSlooten. Bakker and his wife were
blessed parents of five boys and now
have three daughters-in-law: Zachary
and Angie (Marietta), Levi and Amanda
(Pischner), Tick and Rachel (Neumann), Marshal, and Ezra. They also
recently became grandparents to Cullen
and Isla.
“Jeffrey Bakker left an indelible mark
on this union-it’s stronger today because
of Jeff,” says VanSlooten proudly. “He is
my union brother and lifelong friend. I
miss him a great deal.”
Top of His Class, Top In His Field,
Makin’ Us Proud
Congratulations go out to John Massengill, a bargaining
& grievance officer with Local 223 in Dearborn, Michigan.
Massengill, is employed by DTE Energy in the skilled trades
department, and is also a graduate from Siena Heights
University, where he was recently awarded for being one of
the university’s Top 90 students ever, in commemoration of
the school’s 90th anniversary.
“I graduated in 2008 magna cum laude with a bachelor of
John Massengill
applied science in industrial technology,” says Massengill. “I
accepted this award not only for myself and family but for
all the members of UWUA. I was given opportunities by this union that few people
“I believe the single largest contributor to me getting this award is the trust that
the leadership of UWUA has placed in me to not only do a good job, but to make
sure ‘our’ voices are heard,” he adds.
Massengill’s voice already has been heard in his community, loud and clear. DTE
awarded him the “Walter J. McCarthy Jr.” volunteer leadership award for his efforts
at various nonprofit agencies within Monroe County.
2012 UWUA Scholarship Program
The UWUA Scholarship Program was established by Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO, for sons and daughters of active UWUA members. Since its inception in 1961, the program has provided 101 scholarships. The annual competition is conducted through the National Merit Scholarship Program by National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), an independent,
not-for-profit organization. NMSC’s purposes are (1) to identify and honor exceptionally able high school students and (2) to
provide a system of services for corporations, foundations, and other organizations that wish to sponsor college undergraduate scholarships for outstanding students who interest them. All aspects of the selection of winners and the administration of
their awards are handled by NMSC.
Who Is Eligible?
Only high school students who are sons and daughters of UWUA active
members can compete for these scholarships. Such students also must
meet all requirements for participation in the National Merit Scholarship Program that are published in the PSAT/NMSQT Official Student
Guide, which is updated annually and distributed to students through
their high schools.
To participate in the program, students must take the qualifying test,
the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/
NMSQT) during the proper high school year. In general, students who
spend the usual four years in grades 9 through 12 must take the PSAT/
NMSQT when they are in their third year (grade 11/junior year). Students
who plan to leave high school a year (or more) early to enroll in college
full time should refer to the PSAT/NMSQT Official Student Guide (or
contact NMSC) about when to take the test. A participant also must be
a citizen of the United States or be a permanent U.S. resident (or have
applied for permanent residency, the application for which has not been
denied) and intend to become a U.S. citizen at the earliest opportunity
allowed by law. The PSAT/NMSQT Official Student Guide explains these
and other requirements for the competition, gives detailed information
about the test (including sample questions and a complete practice test),
and describes the scholarship programs NMSC administers.
be chosen on a competitive basis and without regard to family financial
circumstances, gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. An
NMSC committee of professionals trained in selection will choose the
winners by evaluating several factors about each eligible candidate; these
include academic record throughout high school, significant activities
and contributions to the school and community, test scores, the school’s
recommendation of the candidate, and the student’s essay about personal
characteristics, activities, plans, and goals. In most cases, winners will
be notified by NMSC in March of 2012. All winners are notified directly,
prior to any public announcement that may be made about recipients.
What Is The Amount Of The Award?
The stipend for each UWUA Scholarship winner is determined individually
by NMSC and can range from $500 to a maximum of $2,000 per year for
up to four years of college undergraduate study or until baccalaureate
degree requirements are completed, whichever occurs first. The amount
of the stipend takes into account both educational costs of the college to
be attended and family financial circumstances. NMSC may increase or
decrease the winner’s annual stipend, within the minimum and maximum
limits set for the scholarship, after considering other scholarship aid the
winner receives, any change in college to be attended, and/or significant
changes in family finances.
How Does A Student Enter The 2012 UWUA
Scholarship Program?
Are There Requirements That Scholarship Winners
Must Meet?
To enter the competition for UWUA Scholarships to be awarded in the
spring of 2012, children of members who will complete high school and
enroll full time in college in 2012 must take the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall
of 2010, on the date their school chooses for the administration — either
Wednesday, October 13 or Saturday, October 16, 2010. (At the beginning
of the 2010-2011 school year, the student should obtain a copy of the 2010
PSAT/NMSQT Official Student Guide from the high school counselor
and make arrangements with the school to take the PSAT/NMSQT in
Yes. The formal offer of a UWUA Scholarship that NMSC sends to each
winner specifies terms for acceptance and continuation of the award. A
winner must enter college in the fall term following selection and must
enroll as a full-time undergraduate in a college or university in the United
States that holds accredited status with a regional accrediting commission
on higher education. (Scholarship stipends are not payable for attendance
at service academies, virtual universities, and certain institutions that
are limited in their purposes or training.) Also, the winner must attend
college during the day, enroll in a course of study leading to one of the
traditional baccalaureate degrees, and remain in good academic and
disciplinary standing.
The student also must file an entry form directly with UWUA by
December 31, 2010 (see form on next page). The entry form for the 2012
competition must be completed and mailed to: Utility Workers Union of
America Scholarship Program, Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO,
815 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006.
How Are Winners Selected?
All UWUA Scholarship winners in 2012 will be chosen from a group
of candidates who (1) score high on the 2010 PSAT/NMSQT and (2)
are notified by NMSC in the fall of 2011 that they may receive further
consideration for a scholarship by meeting several academic and other
requirements set by NMSC. Scores from the 2010 PSAT/NMSQT will
be used by NMSC as an initial screen of applicants in the 2012 UWUA
Scholarship Program. Entrants who advance in the competition will
be contacted by NMSC on or before December 31, 2011. (Only those
entrants who advance in the competition will be notified and receive
materials from NMSC.) These students and their high school principals
will complete applications that include biographical and academic
information that must be filed with NMSC. Scholarship winners will
Who Handles Scholarship Procedures?
All phases of the competition, including the selection of winners and
payment of scholarship stipends are handled for Utility Workers Union
of America, AFL-CIO by National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
NOTE: A student who does not take the 2010 PSAT/NMSQT because of illness,
an emergency or other extenuating circumstances (but meets all other participation requirements), may still be able to enter the 2010 competition. To request
information about possible arrangements for alternate testing after the October
2010 PSAT/NMSQT administration, the student must write directly to NMSC as
soon as possible but no later than March 1, 2011. The student should not delay;
the earlier the student writes, the more options there are for scheduling test dates.
The letter must be postmarked on or before March 1, 2011, for the request to be
considered. Write to National Merit Scholarship Corporation, Attn: Educational
Services, 1560 Sherman Avenue, Suite 200, Evanston, Illinois 60201-4897; telephone 847/866-5100.
April/May/June 2010 • THE UTILITY WORKER
Scholarship Program Entry Form
THE 2012 UWUA SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM for sons and daughters of active members of the Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO.
Utility Workers Union of America Scholarship Program
Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO
815 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
This entry form is to be completed
and returned before
December 31, 2010 to:
Please enter my name in the 2012 UWUA Scholarship Program. The program is open to active members’ children who will complete
high school and enroll full time in regionally accredited U.S. colleges in 2012 and who meet all other participation requirements
specified by National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).
I will complete high school in 2012 and enroll full time in college in 2012: MONTH
The month and year I will complete high school is:
I am the
SON or
DAUGHTER of an active member of the Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO
YES, I will take (took) the 2010 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) on October 13 or
16, 2010. I understand that 2010 PSAT/NMSQT scores will be used by NMSC as an initial screen of applicants in the 2012 UWUA
Scholarship Program.
Name of Applicant: Last
Middle Initial
Home Address: Number and Street
Home Telephone Number: (
Birth Date:
Zip Code
High School You Currently Attend: Exact Name
Zip Code
Zip Code
High School Where PSAT/NMSQT Taken (if different): Exact Name
Name of Member Parent:
Employing Company:
Local # to Which Parent Belongs:
I further understand that the selection of scholarship winners and stipend payments will be handled by National Merit
Scholarship Corporation of Evanston, Illinois.
Signature of Applicant
Signature of Parent Who is a Member of UWUA
Verification of Active Membership by Local Union Officer (please obtain prior to submission):
“I verify that the parent listed above is an active member in good standing with the local union, and that the above information is
true and complete to the best of my knowledge.”
Signature of Officer
Printed Name of Officer
Title of Officer
Daytime Telephone Number
win a brand new
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Saluting Our UWUA Retirees
The UWUA wishes all our retirees health and happiness during your “golden years.” Enjoy it — you’ve earned it!
Local 1-2
Ralph Canzone
Salvatore Denaro
Lou Diolallevi
Bill Farrell
Louie Formasano
Samuil Gelman
John Johanson
Steven Marshall
Bill Mulligan
Ronnie Nardone
Celita Ortiz
Thomas Sitaca
Lennox Victor
Joseph Vidal
Carroll G. Weaver
Local 102-B
Anthony G. Francart
Local 102-D
David W. Malacane
Local 102-L
Jeffrey L. Sampsel
Local 102-M
Archie D. Barnhart
Dave Corob
Bruce Grandel
Local 102-R
Charles A. Muir
Local 119
Douglas Towler
Local 127
Richard Carbona
Gary Coy
Robert J. Doak
Michael E. Johnson
Ralph Kibbey
Rex Leaman
Mark Majors
Patrick McKenzie
Marilyn Nida
Raymond Peterson
Ronald Pincock
Steven Spence
William Woodbury
Local 132
Manuel T. Aguilera
Jose Calderon
Betty H. Dominguez
Curtis Gorham
Stephen Mathisen
Mary Cecilia
Michael Rincon
Consuelo Silva
Jose N. Torres
Barry Yamanaka
Local 140
Ronald Blazejewski
Joseph Boak
Dane Burford
Michael Data
Richard Goughler
Thomas Houstons
Phillip Kerber
Robert Nimmo
Wesley Prince
David Rosenholm
Russell Schaefer
George Seals
John Skuta
Local 144
Daniel W. Mathews
Thomas Mulvahill
Local 150
Lucious M. Carver
David A. Horton
James A. Laroy
Vinh H. Nguy
Jackie W. Peake
James A. Vanslooten
Local 175
Willie E. Cravens
Joseph L. Hochdoerfer
Paul Jefferson
Steven C.
Robert A. Quinn
Marvin Louis Saunders
Local 223
John Biecker
James W. Burris
Bernard A. Grabowski
Russell L. Grodi
Daniel R. Gumola
Iain M. Hamilton
Gary Head
William F. Kastler
THE UTILITY WORKER • April/May/June 2010
Barry A. Levine
Danny Menger
Thomas J. Mikla
Richard G. Nimeth
Lino C. Petrucco Jr.
Ronald D. Phillips
Kevin A. Sawyer
Kenneth Stanford
Steve Torok
Ada Turner
Evelyn Wilk
Larry K. Wynn
David L. Yuna
Local 242
Raymond Sarver
Ronald Young
Local 246
Frank Bitetto
David A. Lawrence
Robert J. Rundquist
Walter Whiddon
Local 254
Alan J. Prior
Local 258
Gordon H. Jeffords Jr.
Robert E. Miller Jr.
Local 270
Mae B. Cargill
Camille C. Gullickson
Mark Hassel
Joseph T. Ronyak
James E. Williams
Rodney A. Solida
Local 296
Charles M. Mathews Jr.
Local 355
Salvatore Giordano
Saverio Glussich
Arturo Graziano
Robert Martin
Paul Mirabella
James Scheiber
Terri Schunk
Herminio Silva
Local 365
Thomas Marr
Local 369
David Azevedo
Charles Baima
Walter Boyle
Ernest Correia
Mary Cronan
Lorraine Durgin
Charles Forte
Paul Heidke
Woolsey Johnson
Bruce Manssuer
Margaret Merlino
Francis Sullivan
William H. Sullivan
Thomas Walsh
Nancy Wildes-McLean
Local 391
Thomas R. Blaney
Frank J. Piccione
Melinda Stradford
Local 393
Nicholas E. Androvich
Carlotta H. Brown
Paul T. Scaley Jr.
Robert J. Wilbur
Local 395
Raymond Dewey
Local 398
Glenda Chitwood
C. Dean Settle
Local 406
John R. Costello
Local 456
George Dobrich
Franklin George
Fred Jones
George Magaro
Carl M. Pastore
Charles W. Valvo
Paula M. Voelkel
Local 467
Steven Zaucha
Local 470-1
John Cusick
David Kyder
Local 600
James Wesley Kindell
David Lee Schuck
Local 517
Bill Johnson
Steve Voyantis
Local 601
Terence Bigelow
Patricia Krall
Elise Kuech
Local 522
Clarence Edwards
Anthony Soto
Local 534
Rosa Maria
Local 537
Tom Aloia
Tennyson Beddoe
Frank P. Blasi
William Brennan
Terry Brosious
William Cholish
Douglas B. Cooper
Fay Franus
John G. Golden
Robert L. Golden
Wade Harding
Donald M. Hines
Ronald Hostutler
John E. Keane
George Keener
Gregory Koch
John Liparula
Gary McKenna
John Ohnhaus
Robert J. Potochny
Robert L. Phillips
John A. Reel
Gregory Vrobel
Diane Warznak
Lawrence A.
John Yukevich
Richard Zaluski
Local 542
Linda Doyen
Local 544
George Bailey
Barry Fouss
Local 686
William Atkinson
William Danhardt
Sebastian Galati
Joseph Halloran
Patrick Kennedy
Dennis Kenney
Walter Musial Jr.
John Redding
Kenneth Renshaw
Dennis Robb
Jose Rodriguez
Raymond Rucker
Juan Serrano
Local B310
Robert Conklin
Normand Dumas
Mary Fratus
Luther “Butch”
Patricia Kennedy
Donald Kidney
Julius Kolawole
Marsha Lavoie
Deanna Love
John O’Connor Jr.
Janet Piccolino
Anthony Poirier
George Smith III
Valuable Savings on
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Treat him to Goodyear
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For details on these and dozens more Father’s Day gift ideas, visit
Father’s Day Ad—4/2010
Do you want to receive the magazine electronically?
If yes, then provide us with your email
Have you moved? Then let us know!
Please fill out and mail this information and the mailer panel above to: The Utility Worker, UWUA, 815 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Name New Address
Local #
City State Zip Code
UWUA Scores Major Victory at Covanta
WUA and Local 369
achieved an historic victory when workers ratified a contract at Covanta Energy’s
SEMASS plant in West Wareham,
Mass. on April 22, 2010. The
vote turned back the company’s
efforts to prevent employees from
achieving a first UWUA contract
at the plant following a successful
organizing drive two years earlier.
Workers at the waste incineraGerry Fabich, Convanta Bargaining Committee member, in front of the
tion facility actually ratified two
company’s SEMASS waste incinerator facility. The two-year organizing
and contract campaign demonstrated what a committed membership
contracts – one granting subbacked by their local union with National UWUA support can achieve.
stantial back payments for wage
increases and bonuses improperly
UWUA’s efforts as “relentless,” in a 2009
taken away by management to
letter to all Covanta employees attempting
retaliate against employees for organizing,
to defend the company’s position in the
and a second three-year agreement guardispute.
anteeing annual wage increases, bonus
payments, health and safety protections,
and union rights such as seniority, a grievance procedure, and protection against
unfair discipline.
The settlement marked a dramatic
conclusion to a two-year campaign waged
by UWUA to win justice for the workers. Even Covanta’s CEO described the
Organizing Win
“Covanta thought we would just go away,”
observes Michael Langford, UWUA national president. “What they didn’t know
is that the UWUA is a union that never
gives up fighting for our members.”
The first step in the two-year struggle
occurred when SEMASS workers voted for
the UWUA in a National Labor Relations
Board election conducted in May 2008,
despite a fierce management campaign
against the Union.
“Covanta tried every trick in the union
busters’ handbook,” according to Bobby
Mahoney, the UWUA national representative who spearheaded the organizing
drive. “Workers knew we had a majority
of votes for the Union, no matter what
management threw at them.”
Paul Doyle, a Local 369 organizer who
was instrumental in the campaign, also
praises SEMASS employees’ determination. “Nothing fazed these workers,” states
Doyle. “They knew the only way to win
a voice at work was to organize a strong
After the election victory, Covanta
shifted tactics by demanding unacceptable
contract proposals, including work rules
considered illegal under federal labor law
for more than six decades.
“When we saw those proposals, we knew
Covanta had no intention of agreeing
Continued on page 6

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