Labor Union

Utility Workers Union of America

UWUA logo (link)
Website:

uwua.net/

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

53-0183102

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(5)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $14,994,727
Expenses: $13,198,679
Assets: $21,028,050

AFL-CIO

The Utility Workers Union of America represents employees working in electrical, gas, water, and nuclear energy industries. The union was founded in the 1940s and is an affiliated member union of the large left-leaning AFL-CIO labor federation.

The union claims to represent more than 50,000 individual members across dozens of local chapters and caters to employees at government-owned utility companies as well as private and publicly traded companies. The UWUA supports many left-of-center labor policies and opposes many right-of-center positions. The UWUA also supports its local union chapters in contract negotiations and industrial actions including strikes. [1] [2] [3]

Background and History

Utility Workers Union of America was founded in 1946. The union traces its roots to the Utility Workers Organizing Committee (UWOC), which was formed in 1930 as part of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). The UWOC was given funding in the late 1930s and early 1940s to hire organizers to recruit local unions to join the UWOC fold, sometimes luring local utility workers unions away from other established unions such as the United Auto Workers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). [4]

By 1940 the UWOC had 180 locals, although many were not exclusively comprised of utility company employees. For example, 79 of the 180 locals within the union in 1940 represented workers at railroad companies. [5]

In 1942, the UWOC held its only constitutional convention, a step towards establishing itself as an independent national union affiliated with the CIO. The union was officially formed in its current iteration at a constitutional convention in April 1946 in Atlantic City, New Jersey and took on the name Utility Workers Union of America, CIO. A heated debate at the first convention ensued over a clause expelling from the union any member wo was also affiliated with the Communist, Nazi, or Fascist political parties, with many members speaking against the clause, which ultimately stayed in the first constitution. [6]

In 1955, the UWUA became an affiliate of the AFL-CIO following the merger of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. [7]

In 2003, the UWUA lobbied the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to allow them to take over several of the SEIU’s local gas worker unions. The SEIU allowed the UWUA to take over five local unions in a move that added “thousands” to the UWUA ranks. [8]

Also in 2003, the UWUA established the UWUA Health and Welfare Fund. The fund covers certain increased costs and health benefits for more than 8,200 of the union’s 50,000 members, maintaining over $150 million in assets. [9]

The UWUA is also affiliated with the Department of Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, an arm of the AFL-CIO that is comprised of 24 unions representing professional and technical employees such as teachers, physicians, engineers, computer scientists, psychologists, nurses, university professors, actors, technicians, and others. [10]

Political Activity and Lobbying

Utility Workers Union of America has criticized restrictions placed on labor unions by Congress in the 1940s and 1950s through the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act and the Landrum-Griffin Act. The union also has long opposed what it calls efforts to “deregulate” the utilities industries, specifically criticizing President Richard Nixon’s natural gas deregulation effort in 1969, President Jimmy Carter signing the 1978 Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act, and President George H.W. Bush signing the Energy Policy Act in 1992 as examples of “opening the floodgates to deregulation.” [11]

In 1979, UWUA established its Committee on Political Education (COPE) which allows union members to contribute to a fund that makes political donations separate from their union dues, which are not allowed to be directed towards political contributions. [12]

As of late July 2022, the UWUA’s online “legislative action center” had not been updated since the early months of the Trump administration and includes links to previous campaigns asking union members to take action to support various left-of-center positions such as opposing then-Department of Labor nominee Andrew Puzder, urging the U.S. Senate to fill the Supreme Court vacancy caused by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia with President Barack Obama’s preferred nominee, and opposing trade deals including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). [13]

Utility Workers Union of America routinely endorses Democrats in major elections including endorsing the presidential campaigns of Joe Biden in 2020 and Hillary Clinton in 2016. [14]

UWUA has praised Biden, citing his “pro-worker” agenda and applauding his administration’s day-one firing of the National Labor Relations Board general counsel who was appointed in the final days of the Trump Administration. [15] The union also praised the Biden Administration’s establishment of an Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization to study closures of coal-fired energy plants and promote “climate justice initiatives.” [16]

Weather-Dependent Energy

Utility Workers Union of America has strongly supported Democratic-led efforts to subsidize and boost the construction of wind energy facilities. The union specifically has applauded legislation introduced by Democrats in Congress to create federal grant programs around wind energy. Mike Langford, then-national president of the UWUA, said in response to the introduction of a 2018 bill introduced by Congressional Democrats from Massachusetts that “Emerging energy technologies will continue to grow and, more than ever, our nation needs the leadership shown by this bill to build the worker and community-supporting clean energy economy of tomorrow.” [17]

Right to Work

Much of UWUA’s public policy work includes opposing right-to-work legislation that prohibits mandatory union fees. The union calls such laws an attempt to “mislead workers into believing that their individual power is equal to their employer’s power.” It further states that right-to-work “laws foster disunity by encouraging workers to freeload on their union sisters and brothers by enjoying the good wages, benefits and job protections negotiated by union members without sharing the costs of winning those gains.” [18]

References

  1. What are the benefits of being a union worker?” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/what-are-the-benefits-of-being-a-union-worker/ ^
  2. “Committee on Political Education.” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/committee-on-political-education/ ^
  3. “Our Affiliated Unions.” AFL-CIO. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://aflcio.org/about-us/our-unions-and-allies/our-affiliated-unions ^
  4. History.” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/history/ ^
  5. “History.” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/history/ ^
  6. “History.” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/history/ ^
  7. “History.” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/history/ ^
  8. [1] “75 YEARS! Making History, Moving Forward.” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/magazine/75-years-making-history-moving-forward/ ^
  9. “75 YEARS! Making History, Moving Forward.” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/magazine/75-years-making-history-moving-forward/ ^
  10. “About.” Department of Professional Employees, AFL-CIO. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://www.dpeaflcio.org/about ^
  11. “75 YEARS! Making History, Moving Forward.” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/magazine/75-years-making-history-moving-forward/ ^
  12. 75 YEARS! Making History, Moving Forward.” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/magazine/75-years-making-history-moving-forward/ ^
  13. “Legislative Action Center.” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/legislative-action-center/ ^
  14. “Utility Workers Union of America.” Vote Smart. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://justfacts.votesmart.org/interest-group/1765/utility-workers-union-of-america ^
  15. “President Biden Takes Important Day One Action Toward a Pro Worker Agenda.” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/news/president-biden-takes-important-day-one-action-toward-a-pro-worker-agenda/ ^
  16. “UWUA Statement on President Biden’s Proposed Interagency Task Force.” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/news/uwua-statement-on-president-bidens-proposed-interagency-task-force/ ^
  17. “UWUA Endorses the Offshore Wind Jobs Opportunity Act.” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/news/uwua-endorses-offshore-wind-jobs-opportunity-act/ ^
  18. “Right to Work.” Utility Workers Union of America. Accessed July 21, 2022. https://uwua.net/right-to-work-campaign/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Michael Langford
    National President
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 1944

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Dec Form 990 $14,994,727 $13,198,679 $21,028,050 $3,014,653 N $0 $13,098,292 $375,174 $1,759,685 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $13,409,510 $11,134,762 $18,370,326 $2,716,495 N $0 $12,721,841 $357,788 $1,512,295 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $12,829,772 $10,132,032 $17,214,891 $2,647,820 N $0 $12,130,246 $240,162 $1,504,583 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $12,061,896 $10,311,578 $13,720,179 $2,459,270 N $60,006 $11,633,999 $207,628 $1,443,394 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $11,936,461 $10,819,110 $11,415,739 $2,131,270 N $255,498 $11,175,044 $198,514 $1,660,701 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $11,878,964 $10,039,809 $10,870,807 $2,258,753 N $358,006 $10,843,152 $185,321 $1,682,940 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $11,772,938 $11,129,920 $8,663,104 $1,953,696 N $1,101,365 $10,023,810 $162,676 $1,411,098 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $11,972,333 $12,000,888 $8,019,156 $1,961,792 N $1,616,020 $9,842,201 $236,524 $1,343,944 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $13,476,270 $14,759,321 $8,095,783 $2,192,428 N $3,349,518 $9,545,802 $242,706 $1,344,250 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Utility Workers Union of America

    1300 L ST NW STE 1200
    WASHINGTON, DC 20005-4184