District 1 Arrives
In North Carolina;
At the start of the Juneteenth march in Raleigh: Bob
Kingsley (with sunglasses and tie) is flanked by Saladin Muhammad, UE Field
Organizer and national chair of Black Workers for Justice, and Baldemar
Velasquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee. Local 150 Pres.
Barbara Prear holds the banner at right. District 1 Council delegates and
Local 150 members took part in the march and rally.
If the presence here of the District One Council for its June
16 meeting was a boost to UE’s organizing in the Tar Heel State, the
inspiration was mutual. Participants from Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
and Virginia repeatedly expressed their appreciation for the union spirit of
the hundreds of new UE members signed-up in North Carolina.
Representatives of UE Local 150, North Carolina Public Service
Workers Union, helped fill the Tobacco Workers hall, as they added to reports
and discussion. They came from Department of Health and Human Services
facilities, from the University of North Carolina system and the City of
Durham. UE members also came from Vermont-American and Cummins Diesel, where a
non-majority status UE organization carries out shop-floor defense of workers’
"Everyone has the same problems, the constant fight for
dignity and a livable wage," declared District One Pres. Connie
"I’m proud of 150, they’re the hottest thing in
UE," said Tim McCambridge, Local 123, Staunton, Va. "You’re
making history," he told the Local 150 delegation. "Keep kicking
The idea of making history received reiteration with the news
that the 2002 UE Convention will take place in North Carolina, the union’s
first-ever convention in the South. "We have to take seriously this
unprecedented, historic event," commented Barry Rideout, Local
120. "This is an opportunity to show the labor movement what kind of a
union we are, to show the labor movement what working-class people in North
Carolina are about," he said to applause.
‘LONG WAY TO GO’
"UE has arrived in North Carolina!" proclaimed Dir.
of Org. Bob Kingsley. The national officer reviewed the union’s
organizing work and first-contract struggles in a number of areas around the
country but noted that North Carolina is "the one place in the United
States where we are making the greatest progress." He added that "It’s
early, we’ve a long way to go and a lot of progress left to make."
Later in the meeting, Kingsley led a discussion of the union’s
finances and modifications of the financial plan going to the UE Convention in
Duane Yaindl, Local 111, and Bob Miller, Local 155,
presented executive board-approved resolutions on ergonomics and support for
the Labor Party, to be submitted to the UE Convention; delegates approved
both. Yaindl, in his report as political action chair, noted that the shift in
power in the U.S. Senate following the defection of James Jeffords from the
Republican Party has allowed the Patients’ Bill of Rights to come forward.
While this is progress, what’s really needed is the universal coverage
envisioned by the Labor Party in its Just Healthcare campaign, he said.
Randy Skaggs, Local 123, was elected interim trustee.
‘GOOD OL’ BIRD’
Pres. Spinozzi urged a large presence from District One at the
UE National convention to back the candidacy of Bruce Klipple for
general secretary-treasurer. The former president of Local 140, Klipple has
been international representative in District One for 11 years. "We’ll
be losing an integral part of District One, but it will be for the good of the
national union as a whole," Spinozzi said.
McCambridge assured delegates, "Bruce is a pretty good ol’
bird," adding, "He’ll do a fine job, he’s a fine man."
Council delegates took part in a march through Raleigh and
rally outside the North Carolina capitol. Sponsored by the Farm Labor
Organizing Committee and Black Workers for Justice, the Juneteenth march and
rally commemorated the end of slavery and celebrated the unity of black and
Latino workers in the new movement for justice in the South. UE’s Kingsley
addressed the rally, describing his union’s struggles for workers’ rights
in North Carolina and around the nation.
UE News - 06/01