United Service Workers Union 138-50 Queens Boulevard
Briarwood, NY 11435
Tel: (718) 658-4848
Fax: (718) 523-5722
Despite the state of the U.S. economy, the USWU has seen unprecedented growth. Since 2005, USWU has achieved a truly remarkable 22% increase in membership. Even in very hard-hit industries such as the automotive industry, our membership has remained stable due to aggressive grassroots organizing and affiliation initiatives. This has been accomplished while maintaining our commitment of providing the highest level of representation to our members. Our focus remained steady and USWU continues to dedicate over 90% of its resources to the representation or its members.
USWU has always prided itself on being a progressive organization with the ability to react quickly to the dynamic environment within which we operate. The principles that guide our decision making continue to be: putting the interests of our members first, providing support and autonomy to our affiliates, structuring our union to provide for the greatest level of democracy, and operating as efficiently as possible. At USWU we have established a philosophy and practice of Responsible Leadership.
In 2010, USWU will continue to conform to its Responsible Leadership agenda. We will maintain our fiscally conservative approach to protect the interests of our members and their union. We will continue to streamline operations to make us as efficient as possible. These cost-saving measures have helped keep costs at a minimum, enabling us to have one of the lowest dues structures in the labor movement. We will continue to seek out cost-saving measures and operate as leanly as possible. We will continue to avoid bureaucracy, and take a hands-on approach in our dealings with our affiliates and the membership.
For the future, USWU has a solid plan for remaining a strong, vital organization. In these uncertain times, we must plan for the unexpected and be prepared. It is our goal to build on our great successes over the past years and find new areas for growth. USWU will remain vigilant for opportunities to expand our membership into new or different industries as well as working to grow in our established industries.
The United Service Workers Union, IUJAT (USWU) can trace its origins back to a small independent labor organization, representing approximately 4000 members that was created in the 1950s. Under the leadership of USWU’s then-president Steve Elliott (who joined the local in 1980 and served as president from 1987 to 2000), the Local grew to approximately 20,000 members within seven years. The exponential growth of the Local and its national identity soon led to the creation of the United Service Workers Union (USWU), a national organization with over a dozen subordinate locals.
Today, under President Lori Ann Ames, USWU represents approximately 30,000 members within twenty affiliated local unions throughout the United States. It has satellite offices in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and upstate New York and members throughout the nation.
From its inception, the union traditionally represented workers in the petroleum, automotive, alarm and transportation industries. However, throughout the years as USWU has grown in size, its jurisdiction has continued to expand to cover employees working in construction, HVAC, building service, public sector, white collar professionals, moving, office/clerical, service, telecommunications, and manufacturing industries.
Much of this growth can be attributed to USWU’s progressive and experienced leadership, and its commitment to organizing. The USWU dedicates approximately 45 percent of its annual budget to organizing and affiliations. It also has dozens of professional organizers on staff, who are dedicated to grassroots organizing.
The leadership of USWU has led its eighteen affiliated local unions to unprecedented growth and prosperity through expertise and dedication. This double-digit growth can be attributed to the officers’ commitment to aggressive grassroots organizing tactics, affiliations and mergers with independent labor organizations, and through cooperative joint ventures with other labor unions.
As a result of its success, USWU is able to offer the most progressive, topnotch benefit plans, providing secure medical, welfare, and employment separation benefits to the union’s membership for 50 years. The Union’s Taft Hartley Fund provides fully insured medical, dental, life, AD&D and supplemental disability benefits. The United Welfare Fund has also organized its own, extremely qualified dental network which provides members with quality care at no cost. The Union’s Taft Hartley Security Fund provides our members with employment separation benefits. Through collective bargaining, your employer will contribute to your individual account. Annually, the Trustees will declare a dividend which has been quite impressive over the years. As the Trustees of the Fund understand that this benefit is very important to our membership, our participants’ balances are invested only in bonds that are guaranteed by the United States Government. The Union also offers its membership the ability to participate in a 401(k) plan.
Not only is USWU’s success reflected in its growth and outstanding member benefits, but is also mirrored in the workplaces of its membership. USWU members are at the top of their industries, enjoying competitive wages, excellent benefits, secure employment, and dignified working environments through the united efforts of USWU’s officers and staff.
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