District 11 Gears Up for Organizing
|Representatives from newly-organized Iowa locals proudly show
off their charters, presented at last months District 11 Council meeting. Genl.
Pres. John Hovis, who presented the charters, is standing at left.
A celebration of union growth and plans for expanded educational and
organizational work highlighted the District 11 Council meeting here Feb. 14-15, the first
official meeting attended by delegates from Iowa and Nebraska since their locals joined
the district in December 1997.
Delegates committed to attending and recruiting for the five-day
organizing schools taking place in Iowa in April and Milwaukee in May. Plans were also
made for a leadership conference to take place in Milwaukee. District Pres. Carl Rosen
challenged each local to have an educational component at every membership meeting.
Genl. Pres. John Hovis presented charters to newly organized Local 1174,
Quad City Diecast; Local 898, Newton, Iowa schools; Local 855, Hawkeye Community College;
Local 865, Glenwood schools; and Local 821, Spencer schools. He also recognized the
Urbandale schools workers, who will be part of amalgamated Local 893.
Delegates made a commitment to continue organizing so that the uplifting
introduction of new locals can be a high point of every district council meeting.
Corporate profits are up, CEO salaries are up, the stock exchange is up
but workers pay adjusted for inflation is only at a 1988 level, as we face
"unbridled capitalism in its purest form," said Pres. Hovis in his remarks. The
UE leader called for a stronger labor movement that organizes to build our numbers. Labor
corruption must end, Hovis said; our movement "must be purer than newly driven
snow" and rank-and-file democracy should become the norm, not the exception.
LABOR PARTY ... AND THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
Calling for a readjustment of political ideals, Hovis told delegates that
it is in our interests as working people to build the Labor Party and improve
The choices are stark, the union leader said. "We can cooperate or
resist," Hovis said. "We can mobilize and fight to change the rules and the
District 11 Pres. Rosen reported on the effect of the crash of the Asian
markets on both world and national economics. Over-production in Asia means a drop in
prices; the end result for American workers is deflation. "There is a division among
the ruling class regarding the solution," Rosen said. "Do they prime the pump or
institute an austerity program?"
Expansion of labor rights is our solution to deflation, the district
president said. He reminded delegates that this was labors response to the
depression of the 1930s.
Local reports noted many grievance and contract victories; most indicated
a great deal of activity in many different arenas which represent the additional energy
resulting from the merger of Iowa and Nebraska locals with Chicago-based District 11.
Delegates voted on constitutional changes related to the merger of the
Iowa and Nebraska locals, endorsement of candidates, discussed the need for the Labor
Party and planned future meetings.
John Pounds of the Chicago Public Arts Group gave a slide presentation and
suggested ways labor can use art to communicate with membership and the public.
And delegates danced the night away at a fund-raiser for the
Districts participation in the UE Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.