"Many of us forget that without organized labor, our children would be going to the mines and mills on Monday morning instead of going to school," commented Ray Pompano, Local 243. Without collective bargaining, he said, there would be no vacations, pensions or holidays.
The combination of an active membership, hard-working committee and staff support blocked Graham Packaging’s attempt to impose health insurance co-payments and a lengthy contract, reported Marianne Hart, Local 1421.
Insurance became a major issue in two UE strikes this year. Entoleter workers protected their medical benefits during a 100-day strike, reported Dorothy Johnson, Local 299. Strikers convinced all but two scabs not to cross the picket line. Local 299 members stood strong, she said, and they enjoyed the support of UE locals and the Greater New Haven Labor Council and other supporters.
The illegal refusal of CMI to give Local 1187 information needed to respond to the company’s proposed insurance plan cuts forced UE members to undertake an unfair labor practices strike in February, said Robert Morris. Load King workers in Elk Point, S.D. continue to carry on the struggle, he said.
Carl Rosen, District 11, outlined steps that convention delegates (and the entire union) can undertake to assist Local 1187 — send protest messages to CMI’s chief executive officer and visit CMI directors and distributorships. (Send messages to CEO Tom Engelsman at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dennis McLaughlin, Local 506, expressed his outrage at how corporations trample on the collective bargaining rights of newly established unions, citing the difficulties faced by Local 758 in trying to secure a first contract from the Glastic Plastics division of Kobe Steel. Referring to the statement in the resolution that "They set union busters on us like mad dogs," McLaughlin said, "If they want to send those dogs after us they’re going to have to realize they’re going to come up against the (UE) junkyard dog as well."
Eileen Ginley, Local 791, discussed her local’s
ongoing efforts to improve the living standards of Ohio Turnpike workers
and to obtain justice for part-time workers. Penny Lee, Local 233,
whose local had begun negotiating a wage re-opener, also contributed to
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