Azteca Strike, Elections
Top Eleven’s Agenda
|Top: Genl. Pres. John Hovis discusses union
developments; also pictured are Dist. Pres. Carl Rosen and Dist. Sec.-Treas. Bob Rudek. Inset: Azteca workers Josefina Bonilla
and Amparo Guzman address the District 11 Council, their remarks translated by Field Org. Leticia Prado (at the microphone).
Bottom:, Pres. Hovis administers the oath of office to the District 11 leadership.
The Azteca strike and upcoming Nov. 5 elections, collective bargaining and strengthening the union, dominated the
discussion at the District 11 Council meeting in nearby Bloomington Oct. 17-19.
The strike of UE Local 1159 against the unfair labor practices of Azteca Foods captured the enthusiasm and excitement of
delegates, particularly after hearing the reports of picket captains Josefina Bonilla and Amparo Guzman.
The Azteca strike and other UE struggles take place in the context of a sluggish economy, explained District Pres. Carl
Rosen. Factory orders are down and low inventory is creating a vicious cycle for UE members in the form of plant closings, layoffs,
and rising health costs.
"All locals must be prepared to fight back on all fronts," Pres. Rosen said. Get out the vote efforts should
demonstrate union power, he said. Further, locals must build a sound financial base, be prepared for negotiations and establish functional
stewards’ systems — and help organize the unorganized, Pres. Rosen said.
During shop reports many locals indicated preparations for upcoming contract negotiations. Rising health insurance costs
topped the list of bargaining concerns.
Genl. Pres. John Hovis led a discussion of the current dues structure and an alternative proposed to achieve
greater fairness and sufficiency.
A week before the tragic death of Sen. Paul Wellstone, delegates took a stand in support of his re-election bid, waving
Wellstone signs at an interstate intersection. Also, delegates heard from a Wellstone representative, who emphasized the importance of
retaining Wellstone and his independent, progressive leadership in the U.S. Senate.
Delegates received get-out-the-vote flyers for distribution. Bill Austin, District southwest coordinator, gave a
political action report that commented on the Labor Party convention in July and noted the passing of party organizer Tony Mazzocchi. New
leadership transition will take time, Austin suggested.
State political action days are planned for Iowa and Wisconsin in February and March.
Election of officers returned Pres. Rosen, Vice Pres. Shirley Harrison, Sec.-Treas. Bob Rudek and Southwest
Area Coordinator Austin. And delegates elected a full complement of 10 executive board members as well as three trustees and an alternate.