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District 2 Council
Enthusiastic About
Organizing

TAUNTON, Mass.

Southeastern Massachusetts’ heaviest snowfall of the season didn’t prevent delegates from arriving to the District Two Council meeting on Feb. 26 or dampen their enthusiasm.

Dir. of Org. Bob Kingsley District Pres. Judy Atkins
Dir. of Org. Bob Kingsley
District Pres. Judy Atkins

In fact, delegates from Boston, North Shore and Taunton area locals met at 10 a.m. prior to the start of the council meeting to discuss rank-and-file involvement in organizing with UE Dir. of Org. Bob Kingsley, Intl. Rep. Harry Authelet and District Pres. Judy Atkins.

With everyone agreed on the importance of organizing the unorganized, the discussion entered on finding ways to allow members to become involved in organizing while keeping their locals strong. The key, participants said, is to get more members involved and to allocate responsibilities according to individual’s strengths.

The district council considered whether UE should continue the practice of annual national convention, in response to a question raised by the General Executive Board at its last meeting. Delegates answered in the affirmative.

Organizing targets approved by delegates include a large manufacturing plant in northern New England and a hospital where organizing will take place in conjunction with the Massachusetts Nurses Association. The discussion on organizing included reports of progress in first-contract negotiations with the University of Vermont, Old Rochester School District and The Literacy Project.

GOOD QUESTIONS

Why isn’t Congress angrier with the large companies that continue to wreck workers’ lives and communities by shipping jobs out of this country? That was the question Local 204 Pres. Fred Garcia put to U.S. Rep. James McGovern, a guest speaker. The Fall River Democrat noted his disagreement with President Clinton on trade agreements and the military budget and agreement with the White House on protection of Social Security and Medicare.

Is it right that today under our Constitution corporations seem to have more legal rights than we, the people, do? Author Peter Kellman posed this question as he traced the evolution of corporate legal rights over the last century and raised issues that underlie the Labor Party’s workers’ rights campaign. The guest speaker, who had been involved in the Jay, Maine paperworkers’ strike in the 1980s, raised the critical question: Can we fight back and regain some control over the corporations’ impact on our lives as workers and consumers?

The district council will be planning more workshops on corporate power and the role of corporations in the U.S.

The February council meeting also included a workshop on "Member-to-Member Harassment." Intl. Rep. Dave Cohen led the discussion on how the union can respond when members engage in racial, sexual and other forms of harassment against one another.

Fred Garcia, whose local represents workers at Haskon in Taunton, opened the council meeting.

UE News - 04/99


Home -> UE News -> 1999 Archives -> Article

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