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Highland Schools
Workers Choose UE


Highland Schools Workers Celebrate UE Victory ...

The cooks, custodians, bus drivers, aides and secretaries of the Highland School District (in southern Morrow County, about 40 miles northeast of Columbus) voted in a landslide victory of 38-16 for UE representation on October 6. This followed a 6-month UE campaign in which workers demanded a break from decades-old favoritism and low wages in this rural Ohio school district.

These school employees had tried twice before to unionize, both times with different unions. UE brought rank-and-file members to help with the campaign and, together with the determination of Highland workers themselves, surged forward to an overwhelming victory.

The approximately 70 workers will soon elect their negotiating committee and begin working toward a union contract that will mandate fairness in hiring and promotions, and provide decent wages for all, among other improvements.


"I’ve been here 17 years, and I know that we’ve lost benefits over the years because we don’t have a union," commented custodian Elaine Longstreth. "We need UE to give us a say in things."

As in many UE campaigns, rank-and-file participation from nearby UE locals made a crucial difference, offering their support in house visits, meetings, and at the polls. Volunteers included Virgil Kennedy from Local 766 at Ametek in Wapakoneta, as well as Jerry Miller, Shirley Thrush, Nina Williams and Sherman Smith from the newly established Local 799, the Delaware school district. With so many UE members helping them form their union, Highland School employees knew UE had to be a good union.


Support from many individual union teachers was also helpful to the campaign. and in a show of solidarity, major league pitcher Tim Belcher offered words of support for a newsletter. Belcher, is a Sparta native who currently plays for the Anaheim Angels and was a winning pitcher in the 1988 World Series. His mother, Gladys, was on the organizing committee. Belcher’s number is 41; Highland workers have chosen "741" as their local number.

With a such a resounding victory at the polls, these newest UE members are eager to press ahead for their first union contract.

The Highland Schools workers were assisted by Field Organizers Michael Wilmore and Gail Francis and Intl. Rep. Gene Elk.

UE News - 10/99

Home -> UE News -> 1999 Archives -> Article

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