Local 329 Pres. Tom Dinniny and his
delegation present District 1 Pres. Connie Spinozzi a plaque commemorating
her late husband Ray
Spinozzi, president of Local 155, who
passed away in March.
Building the union and organizing the Labor Party were offered
as the best responses to attacks on workers’ jobs and living standards,
during discussion at the UE District One Council meeting here June 12.
Although 275,000 jobs have been created over the last year,
the news media fails to talk about the 30,000 manufacturing jobs the United
States has lost each month during the same period, charged District Pres.
Connie Spinozzi. The reality behind those figures is evident in District
One, with hundreds of members of Locals 123 and 124 losing their jobs. While
both companies have used the excuse of the Asian economic crisis for their
actions, the job losses are in fact due to U.S. trade policies, especially
NAFTA and GATT, Spinozzi said.
"The answer is the Labor Party," the District
president declared. The Republicans and Democrats have deserted working people
for corporate financing. UE locals should help build Labor Party chapters in
their areas to provide a voice for the working men and women of this country,
Delegates also directed their attention to the importance of
building a stronger UE, debating and unanimously adopting a resolution
entitled "Organizing the Unorganized."
"Going through a campaign is rough, most people want a
union but the boss gets them scared," commented Butch Pridgen,
district recording secretary. "If we don’t start organizing we are
going to have to move to another country to maintain our standard of
The resolution had the endorsement of Dir. of Org. Bob
Kingsley, who urged locals to "get a fire lit" in their areas
and pledged the support of the national union in assisting local organizing
At left, Dir. of Org. Bob Kingsley
praises the courage of District 1 members in recent struggles. Right:
Local 150 Pres. Barbara Prear gives a report as Butch Pridgen listens;
Prear was elected a district trustee.
In his remarks to the district council, Kingsley praised the
courage of UE members in District One, citing the spirited strike of Local 120
at Locke Insulator and the fight of Local 124 to save jobs at CII. He
reiterated the comment of Local 124 Pres. Maken Dodge that everyone who
lifted their hands to struggle against the plant closing is truly a hero.
Kingsley spoke of the union’s pioneering work in organizing Local 150, the
North Carolina Public Service Workers’ Union. That struggle, he said,
"is not only important to UE but to the entire labor movement."
The national UE officer also reported on the multi-union
alliance organized by UE in the ongoing effort to win a first contract with
the Glastic Plastics subsidiary of the Japan-based Kobe Steel. And Kingsley
shared with delegates the General Executive Board’s recent revision of the
union’s five-year plan, with new approaches to organizing and controlling
Our's is a unique union founded on democratic principle and
militant struggle, Dir. of Org. Kingsley said. In good times and bad, the
membership has always come through, he commented, expressing his confidence
that the members will do the right thing to preserve and expand their union.
Delegates took part in workshops on member-to-member
harassment and safety and health. How does the union deal with members who
harass their co-workers on the basis of race, sex, color or creed? A workshop
led by Intl. Rep. David Cohen examined the union’s responsibility to
confront such harassment. Local 155 Pres. Bob Miller presented a
workshop covering the basic rights of union members when they are required to
perform unsafe work.
The council meeting was hosted by Local 329.
UE News - 07/99