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District Six Solidarity
In Meeting,
Streets of Erie


UE members from Local 506

UE members from Local 506, other Erie locals and District 6 Council delegates took part in a June 10 march and rally sponsored by the unions of Erie County.

Speakers included UE Pres. John Hovis (pictured at top, right), District 6 Pres. John Lambiase and Mike Drakulic of Local 684, as well as State AFL-CIO Pres. William George and other labor leaders.

Dir. of Org. Bob Kingsley (center, right) reported on the revised National union financial plan. District 6 Pres. John Lambiase (below, right) chaired the District 6 meeting, which took place in the Local 506 union hall.

  UE Pres. John Hovis
Dir. of Org. Bob Kingsley
District 6 Pres. John Lambiase

Delegates to the District Six Council meeting completed a packed agenda on the afternoon and evening of June 9 that included discussion of the revised National union financial plan, attention to first-contract struggles and a workshop on public education. The following morning, delegates joined hundreds of union members from around Erie County in a march and rally celebrating labor solidarity.

As work slows at a number of UE-represented shops in western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and western New York, District Six Pres. John Lambiase said, the Bush Administration pursues policies that are "not our agenda" — tax cuts for the wealthy, appointment of corporate officials to top Administration posts and lucrative contracts to corporate backers.

Taking a closer look at the Bush tax cuts, Lambiase asked delegates to imagine a shop of 100 workers, and a contract that gives 40 cents of every dollar wage increase to the highest paid employee. "Public services will be cut for those who need them, and the tax cuts will go to those who don’t."

"We’re in class warfare," Lambiase declared. "If we’re not throwing punches, we’re taking hits."

District Six Council delegates received a detailed report on the revised National union financial plan from all three of UE’s top officers. The revision is based on discussion at the last District Six Council meeting in March and at other district council and local union meetings since the adoption of the plan by the General Executive Board in January.

Leading off, Dir. of Org. Bob Kingsley reported on current organizing efforts to point out that organizing new members has always been the top priority for the union — and that by improving the working conditions of unorganized workers we also guarantee the future of our union.

Genl. Sec.-Treas. Bob Clark told delegates that the officers followed through on suggestions and criticism from the membership. A less expensive national headquarters was a major recommendation, Clark said, and he has been busy working on achieving that goal.

"This is an opportunity to ensure ourselves of a future, of our ability to back up workers in fights with the boss," said Genl. Pres. John Hovis. "These tough decision in your hands," he observed. "I don’t know of another national union where members have this kind of voice and shot at the national officers."


Local 684 continues its 18-month-long fight for a first contract with The Electric Materials Co. (TEMCO), a specialty copper mill in North East. The large delegation from Local 684 received a standing ovation when shop leaders reported they are signing up new hires and intend to prevail.

Workers at the Lutheran Home, members of District 1199P have been on strike against the Erie nursing home for five months to achieve a first contract. Bridget Evans, a Certified Nurse’s Aide with 12 years at the home, explained how short staffing and management’s lack of respect and flagrant unionbusting forced the strike. Neil Bisno, vice president of 1199P, briefed delegates on the disgrace of short staffing and mandatory overtime created by the profit-driven health care crisis. Delegates raised more than $200 for the Lutheran Home strikers.


The district council approved resolutions calling for defense and improvement of public education, closure of the former U.S. Army School and a ban on mandatory overtime.

In his report, Political Action Co-Chair John Thompson urged an all-out campaign this summer to defeat "trade promotion authority" (fast track), recognized by all sides as crucial to the Bush Administration’s plans for the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Political Action Co-Chair Donna Cramer and Sue Smock, both Local 506 members, reported on their participation in the People’s Summit and protests against the FTAA in Quebec in April. FTAA is an extension of NAFTA to every nation in the Americas except Cuba. "With FTAA anything goes, and what’s going to go is our jobs!" Smock declared.

Delegates participated in a workshop on schools, led by Intl. Rep. Carol Lambiase, which emphasized the importance to working people of free, public education and the harm posed by privatization and vouchers. The earliest unions took public education as their goal, said Tom Migdal, Local 692; in those days, "only the aristocrats in society had education."


Bruce Klipple spoke briefly to delegates about his candidacy for the office of General Secretary-Treasurer, emphasizing his 22 years in the union as a rank-and-file member, steward, local president, field organizer and, for the past 11 years, international representative. (Incumbent Bob Clark is not seeking re-election.)

Delegates nominated officers, to be elected at the October meeting. Nominated were John Lambiase, president; Tom George, vice president; David Adams and Randy Majewski, financial secretary; Mary Ice, recording secretary; Walt Franke, Scott Buterbaugh, Jim Tew, Lynda Leech, Gretchen Kelly, David Kitchen, Charles Tangle, Bryan Rice, Scott Allison and Fred Haag, executive board; Patrick Rafferty, Mary Stewart and Don Kosobucki, trustees; Sue Smock, alternate trustee; and John Thompson and Donna Cramer, political action co-chairs.

Editor's Note: This story differs from the version published in the printed version of the UE News.

UE News - 06/01

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