to be Independent
... and Proud to be UE!
they say the members
run the union – they do!
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
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
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
'We rely on UE for advice ...
but in the end it's our decision ...'
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
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
A national union
we're proud to belong
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
Proud of Our Independent Union
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
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!
President, UE Local 799
Delaware City Schools, Delaware, Ohio
UE has made a big difference for us!
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
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