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UE Forward 2000
64th National UE Convention

Special Issue

The 64th Annual UE National Convention

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Opening Doors for Democracy

Hovis Speaks to Challenges of Democracy

Organizing: Bringing Change to the Job

'Build This Union!' Kingsley Urges Delegates

Adopt Collective Bargaining Goals

Delegates Endorse Militant Shop Actions

Fighting Hate is a Union Responsibility

Union Heroes Combat Closings

Labor's Greatest Challenge Comes From Within' — Fletcher

'The Economy Should Benefit Workers For a Change' — Sanders

Getting Global About Labor Solidarity

Ten Years Stronger — Zenroren

Convention Photo


Convention Information

UE Policy

UE News

64th Annual UE Convention
Shop Actions

"There is no contract language that can actually substitute for a strong and militant membership action."


The resolution "Aggressive Shop Floor Struggles" emphasizes that militant worker action in the workplace is the best protection of rights, and delegates agreed.

Victor Key

Victor Key

"There is no contract language that can actually substitute for a strong and militant membership action," said Victor Key, Local 1010. The union’s complaints about subcontracting got the attention of management at the GE aircraft overhaul shop in Ontario, Calif. after well-publicized picketing and militant action, he reported.

Management needs to see the members in action, emphasized Sam Lopez, Local 896. To reach a second contract, graduate employees of the University of Iowa backed their bargaining committee by gathering outside of the room where negotiations took place — "yelling, screaming, marching, waving flags, playing loud music, being obnoxious." Without that action from the bottom up, the union can’t survive, she said.

Contracts, and rights on the job, would be worthless without strong membership backing, suggested Glenn Bush, Local 1107. Management ordered second-shift workers at Farnam Sealing Systems to remove union stickers and buttons or be sent home. Most workers refused and were sent home — and the union succeeded in having them paid for the time lost, he reported.

Barry Rideout
Barry Rideout

Bosses like to see grievances fall into the legalistic trap of binding arbitration, commented Barry Rideout, Local 120. "If you have an active membership and have a real struggle going on in your shop, it’s always good to get the members involved because a majority of the time you can keep a lot of potential grievances from even reaching that point," he said.

Joe Chavez, District 10, recalled how after his first negotiations, he thought that having a contract meant that now the union "had it made." But the UE field organizer assigned to Local 1014 smiled, shook his head and said, "now you’ve got to defend it." "And how true that has been over the last 36 years that I’ve been in the shop," Chavez said.

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