Evident in District 11
Delegates consider how
best to deal with stress on the job at a workshop (above). Kim Peniska,
Local 1187, and Field Org. Rocky DeMaio report on the Load King strike
Membership participation — in the life of the union in the
workplace, in strike support, organizing, political action, international
solidarity and the district council itself — was a major theme of the
District 11 Council at its fall meeting here Oct. 16-17.
Delegates celebrated the successful outcome of the lengthy
strike by Local 1187 members at Load King. (Local 1187 members ratified a
contract the following weekend.) Load King workers were forced into this
strike against the company’s illegal, unfair labor practices, said Kim
Peniska, who reported on how union members brought their story to
dealerships throughout the Midwest and then around the country, causing some
dealers to cancel orders for the company’s tractor trailers.
Peniska expressed his appreciation for the assistance of UE
locals and the National union in bringing the strike, which began in February,
to a successful conclusion.
Mary Holloway, vice president of newly organized Local
1199, reported on the settlement of the first UE contract with the South Sioux
City, Neb. School District covering her and her co-workers.
The District Council followed up on the 64th
Convention’s Policy Action recommendations, which call for focused activity
around political action and organizing. Divided into state caucuses, delegates
discussed plans for statewide political action, including conferences and
localized visits to elected representatives. UE locals in both Iowa and
Wisconsin are planning political action days in their state capitals.
Delegates also considered how best to support the National
union’s organizing work.
Becky Burke, Local 893, and Tom Dunne, Local 1172,
reported on their trip to Mexico this past summer as part of a UE delegation
hosted by the Authentic Labor Front (FAT). They said the FAT works tirelessly
for workers’ rights and in opposition to governmental and union corruption.
A fund-raising reception on Oct. 16 was dedicated to the
UE-FAT Strategic Alliance; both Burke and Dunne accepted additional donations
for the margaritas they made for thirsty and appreciative delegates. More than
$450 was raised for the work of the FAT.
Genl. Sec.-Treas. Bob Clark stressed that a key to
international solidarity is worker-to-worker contact, such as the exchanges
with the FAT, and the trip that allowed Local 1107 Pres. Glenn Bush to
meet with European workers employed by the same parent corporation in
Brussels, Belgium that same weekend.
The UE national officer also gave delegates an update on
various developments around union, and on National union finances.
Delegates participated in a workshop on "Stress in the
Workplace," coordinated by Field Org. Ryan Downing. In small
groups, delegates considered the nature of workplace stress and how to combat
Elections returned to office the incumbent top district
officers and filled 10 executive board plus four trustee positions. Re-elected
were Pres. Carl Rosen, Vice Pres. Shirley Harrison, Fin. Sec. Bob
Rudek and Southwest Coordinator Bill Austin.
UE News - 12/99