18 April, 2014The entire network of the world’s energy industry trade unions is rallying in support of members of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), employed by the third largest U.S. electric power company, FirstEnergy.
The IndustriALL World Energy Conference adopted a strong resolution on 11 April to take action calling on the company to end the attack and treat its workers with dignity. The UWUA represents 3,200 FirstEnergy workers in the U.S. states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
See the IndustriALL letter to the company CEO here.
The 142 UWUA members at FirstEnergy’s Penelec subsidiary in central Pennsylvania held strong through a vicious lockout that started three days before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and lasted four months through a record cold winter, but still face malicious concession demands designed to undermine customer service and fair labour standards.
View the international solidarity video attached to this article that sends a united boost to workers battling against aggressive cuts to their employment conditions and trade union rights.
IndustriALL general secretary Raina told the union:
Your great union, the Utility Workers of America has informed us of the outrageous and anti-worker tactics of FirstEnergy, including a lock-out, and cuts in jobs, wages and benefits. As you can see from these messages from colleagues from around the world, at our recent World Energy Conference in Spain, you are not alone.
FirstEnergy is still demanding similar concessions from more than 700 additional UWUA members across Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, and these workers’ collective agreement is scheduled to expire on April 30.
In West Virginia, FirstEnergy has refused to agree to a fair, first union contract for UWUA members at a power generating plant, even though these workers voted for representation by UWUA more than three years ago in October 2010.
Writing to IndustriALL general secretary Raina, UWUA national president Michael Langford said,
I wish to take this opportunity to extend our gratitude for the solidarity shown by IndustriALL affiliates with our members in struggle with FirstEnergy. IndustriALL affiliates have demonstrated time and again that international solidarity is a powerful force for justice. We are convinced that, with the support of IndustriALL and its affiliated trade unions worldwide, we will prevail against FirstEnergy’s unfair assault on the rights of UWUA members.