Choosing UE Was
As Easy as A-B-C
For the reading and writing teachers who work for the Literacy Project,
deciding to be represented by UE was as easy as a-b-c. The 15 teachers voted unanimously
for union representation on Oct. 23. Literacy Project employees will become members of
amalgamated UE Local 274.
Literacy Project employees teach adult education, including reading and
writing and GED preparation. Concerns about job security convinced the teachers they
needed a union; research convinced them that the union they needed was UE. Many either
knew UE members or were aware of the unions long, militant history in the greater
Initially the employer put up a fight, making use of tactics regularly
seen in the private sector. Management claimed that more than half the employees were
supervisors and asserted in a letter that a union would hurt the goals of the
organization. The project director was fired. The employer told the teachers that they
were not opposed to a union as such but objected to UE. The organizing committee responded
by declaring, "We chose the UE because of what the UE stands for, and we are not
changing our minds."
The committee developed a strategy aimed at confronting the Board of
Trustees and convincing the employer to back off its anti-union drive and objections to
the bargaining unit favored by workers. The strategy worked.
Organizing committee members were Margaret Anderson, Jean Marie Aubin,
Louise Barrows, Edite Cunha, Judith Kocik, Pat Larson, Christina Replogle, Michele Sedor
and Catherine Stanton. They were assisted by Local 264 Pres. Diane Brawn, District
Two Pres. Judy Atkins and Field Org. Paul Ryan.