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Local 404 Members
Experience New Jersey
UE History


Local 404 members with plaque ...
With Lee Bracey (center) are Groov-Pin workers, Local Pres. Joe Miglino (pictured holding plaque to Bracey’s left) and Chief Steward Richie Turkowsky (at right of Bracey).

A phone call taken by UE Genl. Sec.-Treas. Bob Clark from a former UE member led to the return of a bronze plaque from the old UE District Four offices and an opportunity for Local 404 members to learn something of their union’s history.

Lee Bracey of Woodridge once worked in the office of the large Westinghouse elevator factory in Jersey City. Shop workers belonged to UE Local 456, and during World War II the office workers organized into Local 456 as well. In the early 1950s, during the raids on UE, the office workers were enticed into the IUE.

Bracey missed the rank-and-file democracy and militancy he experienced in UE. "Hell, I thought all unions were this way!" he said. "I quickly found out this wasn’t true." Initially he wouldn’t join the IUE, but being a strong union person he eventually signed up — becoming local union president and, for a while in the mid-Sixties, a field representative. He later worked for another elevator company.


He found the bronze plaque, which he remembers being mounted outside the UE District Four offices, behind a filing cabinet when the IUE moved its offices out of Jersey City. He’s had it all these years, and recently boarded a train for New York planning to take the heavy plaque to the UE headquarters — and was surprised to discover the office was no longer there. He tracked the national office to Pittsburgh, and called Clark. (The national office relocated in 1987.)

As a result of that call, Bracey was contacted by Intl. Rep. Bruce Klipple, who invited the retiree to a shop meeting of Local 404 members who work at Groov-Pin Corp., who were preparing their contract proposals for their upcoming contract negotiations. Bracey reminisced with Klipple, Local Pres. Joe Miglino and some Groov-Pin workers about the 1955-56 Westinghouse strike. Richie Turkowsky, a 39-year Groov-Pin veteran had his own story to tell, about how he and co-workers in the early Sixties got rid of IUE and joined UE.

Local 404 Pres. Miglino presented Bracey with copies of Them and Us and Labor’s Untold Story as a token of appreciation for preserving this small but important part of UE history.

UE News - 02/01

Home -> UE News -> 2001 Archives -> Article

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