At District 1 Convention
District One honors
volunteer organizers: certificates of appreciation were presented to 32
rank-and-file members who gave their time over the last year to assist
in various organizing activities throughout the District. Pictured here
are, from left, Intl. Rep. Bruce Klipple and some of those volunteers:
Duane Yaindl, Local 111, Barry Rideout, Local 120, Maken Dodge, Local
124, Bob Miller, Local 155, Charlie Hall, Local 150, Don Cavellini,
Local 150, District Pres. Connie Spinozzi, Sabato DePrimo, Local 329,
and Tim McCambridge, Local 123.
Delegates to the 47th convention of UE
District One heard reports on organizing campaigns, Labor Party-building,
fights against plant closings and solidarity with hurricane victims, in
wide-ranging discussion and action.
In her report to the convention, Pres. Connie Spinozzi
urged delegates to undertake some of the big-picture work of their union and
become true leaders of the labor movement in their home areas. Citing those
brothers and sisters who have recently engaged in fighting plant closings at
CII (Local 124) and at Avdel/Cherry-Textron (Local 417), Spinozzi advised,
"We don’t have to wait until that point" to become UE activists.
'WE HAVE PLENTY TO DO'
"We have plenty to do in our shops and in our
communities," she said. In particular, Spinozzi pointed to organizing and
the Labor Party "Just Healthcare" campaign. She applauded those
rank-and-file volunteers who assisted in the recent affiliations of bargaining
units within the district — the Drivers and Dockworkers Union of Bethlehem
(Local 112) and the Durham, N.C. city workers who have joined UE Local 150 —
and welcomed the new brothers and sisters into UE’s ranks.
Council delegates approved a request to the union’s General
Executive Board that the constitutional boundaries of District One be expanded
to include North Carolina; passed the hat for donations to assist the Workers
and Community Aid and Relief Project for victims of Hurricane Floyd and raised
$228; presented certificates of appreciation to 32 rank-and-file volunteer
organizers, approved the UE Convention’s Policy Action Statement; adopted
constitution committee recommendations on several changes to the District One
Constitution, and elected the district’s officers.
Elected were Connie Spinozzi, president; Bob Miller,
vice president; Barry Rideout, recording secretary; Tim McCambridge,
financial secretary; Seretha Taylor, treasurer; Tom Dininny,
sergeant-at-arms; Duane Yaindl, political education director; and Barbara
Prear, Maken Dodge and Vince Perrotto, trustees.
Speaking on behalf of the union’s national officers, Chris
Townsend, UE political action director, reminded delegates of just how
busy a union UE is; that, he said, is a credit to the UE membership and how UE
operates. At a time when, overall, the union movement has been stagnant, when
"politically, economically and socially we endure an anti-union
environment where the trend continues toward low-wage, no-benefit
employment," UE is proud to be different, Townsend said.
The UE political action director gave delegates an in-depth
report on the growing opposition at home and abroad to the policies of the
World Trade Organization, which will culminate at the end of November in a
massive protest in Seattle. Townsend regretted the recent AFL-CIO endorsement
of Al Gore for President without extracting from him any concessions of
importance to working people. He urged UE locals to work towards regional and
statewide political aciton days in spring 2000.
LABOR PARTY UPDATE
Labor Party organizer Ed Bruno suggested that growing
resentment towards insurers and HMOs provides a mass basis for the Labor Party’s
"Just Healthcare" campaign. He urged UE leaders to initiate
campaigns in their locals, shops and neighborhoods. His remarks provoked a
lively discussion, with delegates agreeing to carry the campaign back to their
Bruno’s presentation received a hearty endorsement from
Duane Yaindl, district political education director, who reported on his own
local union’s efforts to build the Labor Party in the Lehigh Valley.
Intl. Rep. Bruce Klipple, who gave an extensive report
on organizing efforts, urged locals to take on more of their own servicing
functions to help free up staff time as mandated by the UE Organizing Plan.
UE News - 11/99