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District 11: Largest
Council Meeting in
Recent Memory

LACROSSE, Wis.

At the largest District 11 Council meeting in recent memory, delegates gathered here on June 20-21 to celebrated several first contracts and reaffirmed their mission to build the union across the Midwest.

Adding to District Pres. Carl Rosen’s warning of an economic downturn, several delegates testified to feeling the effects of a shadow economy quite unlike that highlighted in the Wall Street Journal. Nevertheless, the tone was one of determination.

The results of that determination could be seen in eight first contracts achieved since the previous district council meeting. Iowa school support staff continued their forward march under the UE banner with seven of those first contracts; Quad City Die Cast workers in East Moline, Il. also gained a first contract with UE.

In addition, several established locals reported that they took the initiative by teaching the boss how to best run the workplace. Facing a closing of their Milwaukee plant due to management’s inability to find orders, Local 1172 found the work needed to keep Steeltech in operation, reported Brian Childs.

"The troops are ready," Childs said, referring to members’ preparedness not only to defend their rights and improve their condition but to be leaders in keeping their jobs in their community.

A few locals, like Local 1128 in Sioux Falls, S.D., reported that Schwartz Manufacturing workers may face layoffs as a result of the Asian economic crisis; the company recently lost a contract with a hard-hit South Korean firm.

Locals facing or in the midst of layoffs committed themselves to protecting their members and their communities by enforcing seniority rights won through hard-fought contract struggles.

In remarks that paralleled delegates’ reports, Dir. of Org. Bob Kingsley laid out four areas on which to focus the union’s energies: Organizing the unorganized, fighting for its members, building international solidarity and making its presence felt on the political front.

Delegates learned how to develop political power by building the Labor Party. "We build the party the same way we build this union," said Labor Party organizer Ed Bruno. "We talk to people." His presentation resulted in a lively discussion about how to educate fellow UE members about the Labor Party.

Several delegates who had participated in organizing schools in Iowa and Milwaukee during the spring declared their intention to go out and utilize their recently acquired knowledge and skills, to talk to non-union workers in their hometowns and build this union.

UE News - 07/98


Home -> UE News -> 1998 Archives -> Article

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