Union Times – 28 Feb 2020

Local 223 Swears in New President

At 6 PM on February 19, 2020, Local 223 held a nomination meeting for the Office of President. Juanita Ray was nominated by Chairman Marc Little of Gas Division. Juanita soon found out that she would be running unopposed. Within a few minutes, the National Union was contacted, one official vote was cast and she was sworn in as President by Vice President Tim Cox. Per Article VI Section 7 of the Constitution and By-Laws of Local 223, Juanita will be installed as President of Local 223 following the announcement of the election results.

This is a proud day for Local 223 as Juanita Ray becomes the first African- American Woman to become President of Our Local. We look forward to her leadership as she replaces Mike Smith, who retired in December of 2019.

Celebrating Black History Month and Its Legacy

UWUA Local 223 is proud to celebrate Black History Month by honoring and recognizing the contributions of African-Americans throughout history who have pushed past adversity and showed us what happens when people commit to a cause, work hard and dedicate themselves to doing whatever it takes to make a difference.

While the history of labor unions in the United States dates back to the mid- to late-1800s, one of the most influential African-Americans dedicated to the labor cause was A. Phillip Randolph, who in 1925 organized and ran the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first predominantly African-American labor union.

Randolph’s efforts paved the way for better working conditions for large numbers of African-American railroad porters, including: shorter work weeks, better pay and overtime wages. Randolph remained active in the BSCP through the 1955 AFL-CIO merger, and remains an African-American pioneer in labor union history.

Continuing his firth against racism, Randolph’s efforts were instrumental in the 1941 executive order in which President Roosevelt banned discrimination in the defense industries during World War II, as well as President Harry S. Truman’s executive order in 1948, which ended segregation in the armed forces. The celebration of Black History Month lets us see how one person’s efforts can make a tremendous impact on the generations that follow. Whether you’re celebrating presidents, activists, poets, athletes or artists who made an impact on our culture or world, there are countless names to consider. Names like Martin Luther King, Jr., President Barack Obama, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Zora Neale Hurston, Colin Powell and Muhammad Ali are all recognized and leave an indelible mark on our society.

It is important that we take time to celebrate the diversity among, as well as these remarkable people and their accomplishments. We are people of different races and backgrounds, of different religions and political views. We are people of different cultures, traditions and histories. And this is the beauty of it all. We are as diverse and the same as the collective stars in the solar system. We are separate but one. We are workers, coworkers, friends and humans. Let’s celebrate us as individuals and as a group – always proud to be UWUA Local 223.

Local 223 UWUA Updates Communications

Newly Updated Website and New Public Facebook Page

Local 223 UWUA recently launched an updated website at WWW.LOCAL223UWUA.ORG. The website is part of an effort to bring a new, more modern look and feel to Local 223’s digital presence and to improve communication with our members.

The website includes an –
*  About section including our mission and the history of the Local
*  Member Resources such as Healthy Living, safety and diversity information
*  News (Union Times and the Annunciator)
*  Events/Calendar
*  Retirees
*  Account page where members need to register on the site to gain access to confidential information like the Local 223 contract, which is no longer accessible on the public page.

The site has a responsive theme, which improves viewing for members who look at the site from a mobile device or tablet.

It also integrates Local 223’s new public facing page on Facebook at HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/UWUA.LOCAL.223/. Please “like” our new public FACEBOOK PAGE to follow us so you can share news with your friends and neighbors about the great things we’re doing for the community.

Local 223 also has a public Facebook group for members to join for more personal interaction. Visit the group at HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/GROUPS/179305298788114/ to join.

We will continue to add more features to the website in the future and may expand our presence on social media in the coming year.

Updates to Text Communication

UWUA Local 223’s texting system has changed due to new laws that were recently implemented. A new “Long Code,” 8775800223, was issued to replace the previous “Short Code.” If you were previously registered, there is no need for you to register again.

You, as a values member of Local 223, will receive Division updates, social event alerts, emails surveys and much more. Signing up is simple to do, first enter the new Long Code, 8775800223, into the top as the recipient, and second, enter your keyword from the list below into the message area. Please note that keywords have no space between numbers and letters. Then you will be prompted to answer 2 additional questions to complete your registration. Please make sure that you enter your name and a Non-Company email address, failure to do so may result in you being deleted from the list!

Safety Update from CDC – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary


The Center for Disease Control is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which has now been detected in 37 locations internationally, including cases in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

Source and Spread of the Virus

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-COV, SARS-COV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All three of these viruses have their origins in bats. The sequences from U.S. patients are similar to the one that China initially posted, suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.

Early on, many of the patients in the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. Person-to-person spread has been reported outside China, including in the UNITED STATES and OTHER LOCATIONS. Chinese officials report that sustained person-to-person spread in the community is occurring in China. In addition, OTHER DESTINATIONS HAVE APPARENT COMMUNITY SPREAD, meaning some people have been infected who are not sure how or where they became infected. Learn what is known about the SPREAD OF NEWLY EMERGED CORONAVIRUSES.

Situation in U.S.

Imported cases of COVID-19 in travelers have been DETECTED IN THE U.S. Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 also has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan, but at this time, this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States.

What May Happen

More cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States. It’s also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in the United States. Widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time. Schools, childcare centers, workplaces, and other places for mass gatherings may experience more absenteeism. Public health and healthcare systems may become overloaded, with elevated rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Other critical infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and transportation industry may also be affected. Health care providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it. NONPHARMACEUTICAL INTERVENTIONS would be the most important response strategy.

CDC Response

Global efforts at this time are focused concurrently on containing spread of this virus and mitigating the impact of this virus. The federal government is working closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners, to respond to this public health threat. The public health response is multi-layered, with the goal of detecting and minimizing introductions of this virus in the United States so as to reduce the spread and the impact of this virus. CDC is operationalizing all of its pandemic preparedness and response plans, working on multiple fronts to meet these goals, including specific measures to PREPARE COMMUNITIES to respond local transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. There is an abundance of PANDEMIC GUIDANCE developed in anticipation of an influenza pandemic that is being repurposed and adapted for a COVID-19 pandemic.


There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for HEALTH WORKERS and PEOPLE WHO ARE TAKING CARE OF SOMEONE IN CLOSE SETTINGS (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For information about handwashing, see CDC’S HANDWASHING website.

For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’S HAND HYGIENE IN HEALTHCARE SETTINGS.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have SPECIFIC GUIDANCE FOR TRAVELERS.

For more information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

Printable PDF File: What to do if you have coronavirus COVID19?

In safety and solidarity,
Jim Finch
Local 223 Health & Safety Director and Safety Committee Member

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