After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Congress passed a bill recognizing April 18th as National Lineman Appreciation Day. Every UWUA member plays an important role in ensuring our communities have access to the utilities they need to function, and we are proud to have the hard work of our linemen and women singled out for national recognition and appreciation.
Make no mistake, even with the advanced training and safety protocols our union continues to fight for, lineworkers’ jobs remain difficult and dangerous. These often unsung men and women work around the clock to keep the power on in all sorts of weather, yet are not recognized as first responders.
Tracy Moore, founder of the Highline Hero Foundation, lost her husband Marc on August 26, 2002 when he was tragically electrocuted while working for the city of Lakeland, Florida. “I learned that day the true power in electricity, and the true sacrifice our linemen make — all give some, some give all,“ said Moore. “Lineworkers are truly first responders and I would love to see them recognized as such.”
"Paramedics, police officers and firefighters benefit from first responder status; utility workers, however, not having this designation, are treated like average citizens and can be restricted from travel during emergencies," said UWUA Executive Vice President Pat Dillon. "This became an issue during Super Storm Sandy when utility workers could not travel to and from work unimpeded and had to wait in line for fuel with others, delaying emergency response.
In December 2022, UWUA Local 1-2 scored a victory for utility workers in New York with an important new law that recognizes the role utility workers play in helping communities return to normal by exempting them from disaster-related travel bans. We celebrate this win, but also recognize that there is still a great deal of progress to be made ahead of us to honor and protect those who perform this challenging work.
On April 18th, please join us in thanking all the linemen and women for keeping our country running. Help raise awareness on social media by posting a message of support, photo of yourself or a union brother or sister on the job, or story of someone you know along with the hashtag #thankalineworker