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Union Veterans Council

Meet the Union Veterans Council

The group is highlighting the work that veterans do on the eve of Veteran's Day

Brian Young's picture
Nov 09, 2021

On November 11th, the United States honors our veterans on Veterans Day. In the union movement, the Union Veterans Council (UVC) works with our vets to bring them into the union movement.

The work the UVC does is extremely important. Not only does the group work with vets to better acclimate to coming home after the war, but it also helps them to use the skills they learned while in the Armed Forces to create a safe career for them here in the United States. With more than 1 million veterans in the union movement, they make a substantial part of the workforce and are represented in every position from first-year apprentices to international union Presidents.

The UVC says that its goal is to Engage, Educate, and Mobilize our veteran community. In 2020 this work centered around convincing union veterans to vote for Joe Biden over Donald Trump. Thanks to this work, and some of the statements Trump made attacking veterans, Trump only received 47% of the support of veteran households, down 14 points from 2016. They promise to continue this work in 2022 and 2024 to educate these members on supporting union-backed candidates in a host of races nationwide.

With Veterans Day just a few days away, the UVC is launching “Operation Union Veterans Day.” This campaign will seek to tell the story of the role that these vets and their families play in the union movement. They will also use it as a tool to mobilize and engage with union vets to bring them into the organization. As part of the operation, the UVC is working with local unions to create veterans’ events throughout the month of November. They are also hosting a virtual roundtable with the AFL-CIO on Veterans Day to discuss workplace and union issues that directly affect our nation’s union veterans.

The UVC is also collecting videos from a diverse set of veterans from around the country where they discuss Veterans Day and what it means to be a union vet. Non-union vets have also recorded videos talking about why it is important for the United States to have more and stronger unions. According to the UVC, if you know a veteran at your job site, you can have them submit a video by clicking here. These videos will then be shared on social media to let the larger union movement and the larger veteran community know about the importance of working unions and the work that our veterans are doing once they return from their service.

They are also hoping that these videos, along with engagement with local and international unions will get the organization's name out there more so that more of the union’s membership joins the UVC. While many veterans are engaged and work with the UVC, there are many who don’t even know it exists and don’t know about the help and brotherhood the organization can provide for our veterans. With the spotlight on these members during the month of November, there is no better time to highlight the work that unions and the UVC are doing to help those who served our nation.

Working with our veterans is especially important in this day and age where millions have served our nation during two of the longest wars in our nation’s history. When these men and women come back after their tours of duty, those that get a union job make on average $12,000 per year more than non-union veterans. With financial instability being one of the greatest challenges facing veterans, a union job takes one of their major stressors away and the UVC hopes this will be a major factor in curbing the high rates of suicide among veterans.

Unions also provide much-needed healthcare for veterans. According to the UVC, only about 6 million of the 20 million veterans receive their health care through the VA. Instead, the vast majority rely on private health insurance, so having a union job with affordable insurance is key for keeping our veterans healthy and dealing with the sometimes unique health issues that veterans may have.

So this Veteran’s Day, thank your co-workers who signed up to protect our nation and let them know about the UVC and the work that the group is doing on their behalf to not only create stronger unions but to better represent our union veterans.

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