District 2 Council
NORTH HAVEN, Conn.
As host of the Oct. 29-30 UE District Two Council meeting
here, UE Local 299 had much to celebrate in the successful conclusion of the
100-day Entoleter strike a little more than two weeks earlier.
Bob Orlando, chief steward, explained how the union
maintained a strong picket line — a picket line that followed the work when
the company tried to subcontract the machine building. When Entoleter
threatened to use scabs to run the plant, the union responded by rallying the
other members of amalgamated Local 299 and Local 243. Entoleter workers also
received assistance from the New Haven Labor Council AFL-CIO; U.S. Rep.
Rosa DeLauro contacted the company to voice her opposition to the use
of "permanent replacement" employees.
Joined by six active Local 299 members, Orlando thanked the
many UE locals who responded generously with strike donations. The strike
settlement followed a UE proposal for different and better health insurance
coverage. Entoleter workers won 3.5 percent wage increases, a $1,500 signing
bonus, important language on workers’ compensation, and sick leave with
continuing health insurance benefits.
Dorothy Johnson, president of Local 299, helped organize
the political and financial support needed to win the strike. She has been
selected by the Greater New Haven Labor History Association as recipient of
this year’s Augusta Lewis Troup Award.
Council delegates re-elected the three district officers,
Pres. Judy Atkins, Vice Pres. Ray Pompano and Sec.-Treas. Doug
Whitcomb, as well as nine executive board members and three trustees. Dir.
of Org. Bob Kingsley, who swore in the newly elected officers, reported
on the victorious conclusion of the nine-month strike of UE Local 1187 at Load
King in Elk Point, S.D.
Speaking to the inequities in the U.S. economy, Bob Proto,
president of the New Haven Labor Council, asked, how good can the economy be
when so many companies are laying off workers and letting machinery run down?
Proto expressed his respect for UE, saying that "the UE gets it!" He
added, "We all need to make organizing a priority, to build coalitions
and to get our families involved. Let’s educate the younger members so they
can ‘get it,’ too, and become involved."
After hearing Pres. Atkins report on the Policy Action
resolutions adopted at the UE National convention, delegates agreed to make
plans for state political action conferences in 2000, instead of going to
Washington, D.C. for a national political action conference. Field Org. Brian
Duplisea reported on the success scored by the Labor Party in Somerville,
Mass., where the universal health care ballot question garnered 85 percent of
Ron O’Brien of the Machinists union reported on the
struggle against layoffs at the Pratt and Whitney plants in Connecticut owned
by United Technologies.
UE News - 11/99