Navigation Bar

Home -> Independent Union Connection -> Join Us! -> Proud to Be ...

Proud to be Independent
... and Proud to be UE!

In UE they say the members
run the union – they do!

Mike Bluell, Chief Steward, UE Local 1107

Our shop makes auto industry gaskets. We joined UE in 1994 ... and I don’t think there’s anything we haven’t improved. In our first negotiations we won the biggest and the best contract we’d ever had in 27 years.

Before, when you were fired, that was it. Now we backing and legal resources and our members know we can settle grievances and get back pay.

It’s hard to pick one thing, but what I like best is every member in the shop has a voice. In UE they say the members run the union – they do. It’s the principles of the Union that made us what we are today.

Mike Bluell, Chief Steward, UE Local 1107
Farnum Sealing Systems, Necedah, Wisconsin

Top of Page

'We rely on UE for advice ...
but in the end it's our decision ...'

Dorothy Johnson, President, UE Local 299

Being a part of UE has meant that my local can run the union ourselves and get the backing and help from a national organization and the assistance of the National UE’s staff. However, we make our own decisions and that’s the way it should be. The National Union is also provides resources and staff assistance during negotiations when requested by the local union. We rely on UE National staff for their advice and expertise... but in the end it is our decision whether or not to take that advice...and that for me is the beauty of the UE. The members do run our union.

Our stewards and officers receive copies of the monthly "UE Steward" which contains information that has helped us to protect our rights on issues like — surveillance or drug testing. Leadership training and education about a wide variety of topics are available to our local union upon request. If we need to do research about our company’s finances, the National UE’s research department gets us the information we need

We run our union here in New Haven, but we get help and training from the National UE when we need it.

Dorothy Johnson, President, UE Local 299
Circuit-Wise, North Haven, CT

Top of Page

A national union
we're proud to belong to ...

Dan Kelley, President, UE Local 893-IUP

At the point that we affiliated we had been an independent union for 11 years and were in our 5th contract with the State of Iowa. Because we had to fight our way out of a national union that we felt misused and wasted our dues money, a significant segment of our membership was suspicious of any affiliation. I can happily report that in the years since the affiliation with UE that suspicion has evaporated. I hear no anti-UE or negative talk in terms of the national union. In fact, we have received much-needed support from the UE national. For example, two years ago in negotiations with the help of the research department of the national union we arbitrated our state contract and ended up winning 1 1/2% more over two years than did any other union in State government.

Before we affiliated, some of us had the wisdom to realize that we would never get any larger without an affiliation with a national union. Since affiliating with UE we have picked up 5 school districts, a health care facility, city workers, and others who work for the state government. That represents a considerable amount of growth in a short period of time and there is no way we could have done that without the help of UE. Of course, this also helps us to build our strength politically.

When we decided to seek an affiliation we had a search committee that in fact contacted 17 different national unions. Other unions wined and dined us but UE did not. We were always suspicious of unions that offered to spend dues money to fly us out to their national office in Washington D.C. or provide a free hospitality room for our conventions. We felt that if they spent their own members= money that way they=d probably spend ours that way when we affiliated. We chose UE because they were like us - a democratic rank and file union that took a militant approach in dealing with the employer.

Dan Kelley, President, UE Local 893-IUP
Iowa United Professionals

Top of Page

We’re Proud of Our Independent Union

Nina Williams, President, UE Local 799

My name is Nina Williams and I am president of new UE Local 799 in Delaware, Ohio. I want to tell you that as a public school employee I’m proud of our independent union. When we joined UE, several other bigger unions were asking us to go with them. But we were impressed with UE. UE guaranteed that we would control our union locally, but get backing and support from the National UE.

I’m glad to tell you that UE really dug in and gave us the help we needed. During bargaining this summer, we won our first union contract. Before, the administration would hire people off the street instead of giving current employees a chance to apply for new positions. Now, under the contract, seniority is the deciding factor in transfers and promotions.

Our contract calls for a 10% increase in wages over three years and provides 2.5% in back pay. The wage increases were the biggest anyone can remember for classified workers in our school district. We also eliminated the old two-tier wage system which paid some workers substantially less than others doing the same work. This contract ends that practice and places everyone on the higher tier – resulting in immediate wage increase of up to $2.10 for some of our members.

Joining UE was the best thing we ever did!

Nina Williams, President, UE Local 799
Delaware City Schools, Delaware, Ohio

Top of Page

UE has made a big difference for us!

Rose Richards, President,  UE Local 240

Since we affiliated, UE has made a big difference for us. We got real seniority rights for the first time ever. Jobs are posted. We got the biggest raises we=ve seen in quite a while. Our health insurance has drastically improved. We=ve made improvements to our vacation schedule, sick pay, sub-contracting language, and recall rights. Temporaries are all but eliminated. Transfers are restricted.

We have stewards who get help and training from UE staff. We have a full-time organizer who works with us all the time.

The UE helps you get prepared early for contract negotiations and they encourage the membership to be active and involved. When the company tries to do something bad - like contract out work or move jobs around we can always count on the UE to be there for help and give us the resources, tools and ideas to protect our jobs. Now the company knows it can=t just do whatever it wants. The UE has made our shop better organized and more informed. In UE the members really do run the union.

Rose Richards, President,  UE Local 240
Bookbinding Dept., Elbe Cesco Inc., Fall River, MA

Top of Page

Joining UE was the
best thing we ever did!

I've told people many times that I think joining UE was the best thing we ever did since I've been in the union. We manufacture auto parts in my shop and I've been there for 24 years. Before, we had no one to help us out when we got in a difficult situation. Now, whenever we need help, we have people from UE available to help us. They have the expertise that we don't have.

We did much better in negotiations after we joined UE. Without the help of the UE organizer who assisted us in negotiations, I don't know what we would have done. I would strongly recommend affiliating with UE to any independent union members who are considering it.

Brad Kepler, UE Local 715
Simpson Industries, Edon OH

Top of Page

Home -> Independent Union Connection -> Join Us! -> Proud to Be ...

Home • About UE • Organize! • Independent Unions • Search • Site Guide • What's New • Contact UE
UE News • Political Action • Info for Workers • Resources • Education • Health & Safety • International • Links