General Executive Board
Meets For Two Days
Of Intensive Discussions
Members of the
UE General Executive Board deliberate. From top, left: Dir. of
Org. Bob Kingsley; Pres. John Hovis and Sec.-Treas. Bob Clark;
Phil Bishop, Dist. 7 secretary; Bob Rudek, Dist. 11 secretary;
Joyce Clayborne, Dist. 7 president; Dist.1 Pres. Connie Spinozzi
and Sec. Barry Rideout; Dist. 6 Pres. John Lambiase; Dist. 6
Secretary Dave Adams and District 10 Sec. Maryanne Hart.
After an "exciting four months," UE seems to be
"on its way to a better than average year on the organizing front,"
reported Dir. of Org. Kingsley to the union's General Executive Board (GEB),
at its meeting June 9-10.
In particular, he said, UE organizing was boosted by the
union’s largest National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election victory in 20
years at the Henry Mayo Hospital in Santa Clarita, Calif.
The GEB’s first action was to charter the Hospital’s more
than 500 licensed vocational nursing staff, technicians, clerks and support
staff as UE Local 1004.
Kingsley detailed the union’s prospects in a number of
organizing campaigns underway around the country, as well as ongoing tough
campaigns to secure first contracts. District 11 Pres. Carl Rosen
briefed the GEB on the latest developments at GATX in Chicago, where a UE
effort to rescue a largely immigrant workforce from a corrupt union was
tripped up (but not derailed) by NLRB bungling.
Intensified work to UE Local 150, the North Carolina Public
Service Workers Union, has seen a steady increase in dues-paying members,
During two days of intensive meetings, the GEB took a close
look at the union’s organizing, collective bargaining, political action and
internal finances. The GEB consists of the presidents and secretaries of each
district and the three national officers.
The Board came to few decisions on major issues, but, says
Genl. Sec.-Treas. Bob Clark, the discussion itself had more impact than
formal votes. "The national officers were looking for guidance on a
number of really important issues," he told the UE NEWS. "The
Board’s input was valuable, and it was heard."
Genl. Pres. John Hovis, Dir. of Org. Bob Kingsley
and Clark led discussions on:
A budget for fiscal year 2000-20001;
Organizing strategy and allocation of staff resources;
An approach to building the Labor Party.
General Secretary Bob Clark reported that the national union's
expenses are down in every area except for rent as he presented an update on a
new budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
High stakes negotiations are underway in New York, reported
Genl. Pres. Hovis, who leads the UE committee negotiating with General
Electric. The union’s national agreement with GE expires June 25.
District Seven Pres. Joyce Clayborne said that in her
district, regional coordinators are educating and mobilizing rank-and-file
volunteers in an organizing plan. Several Board members suggested that field
staff should have the experience of both organizing and servicing.
A series of state political action conferences took place
successfully this spring, reported Chris Townsend, political action
director. Rank-and-file UE members brought a working-class agenda to the
attention of state legislators in Iowa, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
Vermont and Wisconsin.
The House of Representatives endorsed both permanent normal
trade relations with China and the "NAFTA for Africa" bill, over
union objections, Townsend said. Labor will face a difficult struggle in
defeating these measures in the Senate. UE had a prominent part in the April
16 rally in Washington against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund,
Clark and Townsend observed.
The Board had an intense discussion on the way forward for the
Labor Party, with a special guest to aid in the deliberations — Labor Party
National Organizer Tony Mazzocchi. Mazzocchi said there are
possibilities developing for further union backing for the party and for
electoral work (the Labor Party has yet to run a candidate), but the emphasis
must be on recruitment. "We have a long road ahead of us," he said.
A majority of GEB members agreed with District Two Pres.
Judy Atkins, that UE counsel the Labor Party to continue with its issues
campaigns, especially the "Just Health Care" campaign. But Carl
Rosen proposed that the Labor Party put greater emphasis on running
The GEB also gave considerable attention to the plans for the
union’s upcoming National convention, which takes place in Erie, Pa. from
UE News - 06/00