Crises of 2001
At District One Convention
|The newly elected officers of
District One are given the oath of office by Genl. Sec.-Treas.-elect Bruce
Klipple. From left, Treas. Seretha Taylor, Vice Pres. Bob Miller, Joe Miglino,
trustee, Rec. Sec. Barbara Prear, Sgt.-at-Arms Tom Dininny, Pol. Ed. Dir.
Duane Yaindl, Kevin Elmquist, trustee, Pres. Connie Spinozzi, and Lester Koch,
trustee. Not pictured: Fin. Sec. Tim McCambridge.
The events and aftermath of Sept. 11, the economic crisis, and
the UE financial plan captured the attention of delegates to the 49th
convention of UE District One, held here Oct. 27.
District One Pres. Connie Spinozzi joined with
delegates in mourning the workers who died on Sept. 11 simply because they
were at work. In her convention address, she noted survivors’ accounts of
some supervisors in World Trade Center offices who urged those evacuating the
doomed buildings to remain at work.
Warning against the hysterical calls for restricting civil
liberties in the name of fighting terrorism, Spinozzi told delegates, "We
need, more than ever, to stay the UE course." She called for continuing
support for an aggressive labor movement and ongoing political action as the
best means of staving off attempts to worsen the plight of working people.
'FURTHER EROSION OF RIGHTS IS LIKELY'
Political Education Dir. Duane Yaindl urged locals to
raise "fast track" trade negotiating authority and prescription
coverage under Medicare in political action efforts with state and federal
lawmakers. He agreed with Pres. Spinozzi that further erosion of rights is
likely, and advised locals to visit their representatives’ offices and
"keep our perspective in the forefront" on every issue. Brother
Yaindl asked locals to send word of these experiences to him, in the hope of
publishing a district political action newsletter.
Officers and delegates thanked newly elected Genl. Sec.-Treas.
Bruce Klipple for his years of dedicated service as a field organizer
and international representative, as he left District One to assume national
office. They presented Klipple with a plaque and other mementoes. Brother
Klipple expressed his thanks, saying that he "eagerly accepts the
challenge of helping to guide UE into the future."
In his remarks to the convention, Klipple reported on UE
first-contract struggles underway around the country, and saluted those
workers, and members of longer established locals, for their continuing
willingness to fight ruthless bosses. He assured delegates "UE is still
strongly committed to organizing," emphasizing the importance of finding
more campaigns and the rank-and-file role in building the union. Klipple
outlined the tasks of the Regional Organizing Councils
(ROCs) endorsed by the UE National Convention and announced plans to resume
organizing schools in 2002 to "activate a new corps of rank-and-file
organizers to hit the streets and build our union!"
The new national officer provided details of the UE financial
plan, and led a lively discussion of both the plan and its impact on UE
locals. He urged delegates to have the same kind of informative exchanges
within their locals about local finances, and to incorporate ROC participation
in their activities.
In closing, Klipple reminded delegates of plans to hold the 67th
UE Convention in North Carolina and said he had no doubt that District One
will prove to be "a fine host for this historic event."
Local 155 delegates reported on two strikes that occurred
during the summer. At Metco Manufacturing Co., settlement of a two-week strike
came about when the employer acceded to the main demand of keeping medical
insurance plans fully paid. The unconditional solidarity among the entire
workforce, and strong veteran leadership in the shop, made this positive
result possible. Local 155 members at Competitive Media Reporting were forced
to return to work after an eight-day strike without improving the company’s
last offer because nearly 20 percent of the unit had crossed the line. The
good news, delegates said, is that several promising young leaders stood out
on the picket lines, and members fully participated in making the difficult
decision to end their strike.
The extensive report of Local 150, North Carolina Public
Service Workers Union, included news of continuing recruitment and
consolidation work, grievance activities, stewards’ training and a campaign
against a thinly veiled privatization scheme at the University of North
Carolina-Chapel Hill disguised as a "flexibility" proposal. Durham
City Workers, members of Local 150, are battling the new city manager to
maintain "meet and confer" rights on disputes and to continue dues
check-off. They are also launching a campaign to win a major role in the city’s
"New Worker Orientation" program.
In other reports, Local 120 announced a good settlement with
Locke Insulators. Local 121 continues efforts to build member unity through
group grievances and shop-floor grievance activities. Local 111 delegates
informed the convention of favorably resolved grievances, new profit-sharing
bonus plan and success in challenging Gardner Cryogenics to hire women and
minority applicants. Local 112 political action has featured a visit to the
district’s U.S. Representative in opposition to fast track. Local 329 is
preparing for negotiations and fighting a new attendance policy.
Delegates approved the development of a commemorative
ad/program book to defray the costs of sponsoring the 2002 UE Convention.
Districts and locals wishing to participate should contact the District One
office at 812 Fayette Street, Second Floor, Conshohocken, PA 19428, email@example.com.
UE News - 2/02