District 6 Salutes
Makes Plans For 2000
District 6 officers
and executive board receive oath of office from General
Secretary-Treasurer Bob Clark.
|District 6 Pres.
UE Genl. Sec.-Treas.
A bittersweet UE District Six convention heard reports of
successful union activity, made plans for the year 2000 — and saluted the
members of UE Locals 633 and 634 whose plant, Deluxe Metals, is slated for
In welcoming delegates, Local 633 Pres. Gary Zobrist
spoke proudly of his co-workers’ long association with UE, and thanked the
union for its steadfast support of Deluxe workers’ struggles.
The good ship Local 633 has sailed through a sea of troubles,
Zobrist said — piratical employers, major layoffs and bankruptcy. Pirates
may have sunk the ship, "but we’re in our lifeboats and we’re still
struggling. But all around us are other ships, UE locals, with helping
"It is a testimony to the UE-style of rank-and-file
unionism that this ship has stayed afloat this long," Zobrist stressed.
"Our employers sank the rest of the their fleet between 1969 and 1993 —
13 plants nationwide and in Canada and Puerto Rico. We were the last to
'THE ONLY TRUE UNION'
During his working life, the local president said, he has been
a member of three other unions, all affiliated with the AFL-CIO. "I can
tell you that this union, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of
America — period, independent — is the only true union I have ever
UE continues to be a ray of hope for working people, District
Six Pres. John Lambiase declared. He emphasized that organizing the
union is everyone’s job.
With health care continuing to be a national dilemma, the
major contenders for the Democratic nomination for President are addressing
the issue. Unfortunately, neither Al Gore nor Bill Bradley are
proposing solutions that would remove profit from health care delivery,
pointed out Pres. Lambiase. In contrast, UE and the Labor Party have a plan
for cradle-to-the-grave health care, he said. Neither Democrat is truly
pro-labor or worth endorsing, Pres. Lambiase contended.
To members of Locals 633 and 634, Genl. Sec.-Treas. Bob
Clark declared, "they can close your plant, but they can’t take
away your spirit."
'A UNION ON THE MOVE'
"As unionists we face a struggle to survive," he
said, citing legislation and bargaining trends geared to elimination of
unions. Right-wing forces oppose unions because they bring individuals
together in common purpose.
The national officer gave delegates a vibrant picture of a
union on the move, putting its financial house in order, and winning three out
of five elections since the September convention.
Emphasizing the importance of local union self-reliance, Clark
said that ultimately there is no substitute for militant workplace action.
"No staff can do that for you," he said. Members must be listened to
if problems are to be handled successfully, he counseled.
The Labor Party was built on high expectations, he said.
"We’re again faced with a presidential election that will force us to
vote for the lesser of two evils. We’ll all live to see a Labor Party
government. With your help, we’ll get there."
Ed Bruno, a Labor Party organizer and former UE officer,
emphasized, "There are no shortcuts, this all takes time." The Labor
Party strategy is based on an intention to win.
In shop reports, Jim Weber, Local 610 reported on the
threat of loss of work to Mexico and how outsourcing involves single women
forced to take jobs as a result of welfare repeal. It’s a case of exploiting
the poor, he said.
The delegates from Locals 506 and 618 reported production at
the General Electric plant in Erie to be at a record high and preparations
already underway for national GE bargaining in May 2000. Other locals reported
steady work and some boost in employment.
Political Action Co-Chairs Donna Cramer, Local 506, and
John Thompson, Local 690, commented on local political activity,
including candidate surveys, and national developments, including legislation,
the 2000 elections, the World Trade Organization global meeting in Seattle and
the UE-backed campaign to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas.
Delegates discussed plans to conduct a statewide political
action day in Harrisburg with District One leaders.
Returned to district office were Pres. Lambiase and Fin. Sec. David
Adams; Betsy Potter was elected vice president. Mary Ice
will temporarily serve as recording secretary.
UE News - 11/99