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School for Blind Children  —
Staff Choose UE (2x),
Gain New Contract

Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children Staff Choose UE ...

The teachers and nurses of the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children have high standards. They expect a high level of performance from themselves and each other. Their dedication led the United States Department of Education to recognize the institution’s excellence with a "Blue Ribbon School" designation in 2001. Those same  high standards led them to join UE. In less than a month, the WPSBC nurses and teachers voted to affiliate their independent staff association with UE, reaffirmed their commitment to UE in a representation election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board and negotiated a contract that provides substantial salary increases. Full Story ... (11/01)

Bargaining with Ohio
Turnpike Underway

After months of careful and detailed preparations, bargaining between UE Local 791, United Turnpike Workers, and the Ohio Turnpike Commission began Nov. 20. Local 791, UTW, represents 900 turnpike workers, both toll collectors and maintenance workers, both full-time and part-time. The current full-time contract expires on Jan. 1; the part-time contract expires on March 1, 2002 ... (11/01)

Vermont State Legislators Call
For Statewide Investigation of CPL

Eight Vermont state legislators recently called upon the state’s auditor of accounts to launch a statewide investigation into CPL/REIT, the corporation which owns Berlin Health and Rehabilitation. UE helped the workers of Berlin organize over a year ago and new Local 254 has been struggling to achieve a fair first contract ever since. CPL owns seven nursing homes in Vermont and more than one in four of Vermont’s nursing home residents resides in a CPL-owned facility. The call for a statewide investigation stems from a number of complaints legislators have received from constituents ... (11/01)

Don't Sacrifice People's Needs,
Local 893 Convention Tells Governor

The union is in good shape, but the State of Iowa is not, declared Pres. Bill Austin, in his "state of the union" address to the annual convention of UE Local 893, Iowa United Professionals, here Oct. 6. Governor Vilsack’s call for across-the-board budget cuts has drastically affected state workers, including Local 893 members ... (11/01)

At University of Vermont —
Local 267 Secures Fair Contract,
Decent Wage Increases

Usually the only time that UE Local 267 members find themselves in the Presidential Hall of Waterman (the administration building at the University of Vermont) is when they are cleaning or maintaining the building. On July 26, however, union members got a whole other view. Fifty workers, accompanied by three news cameras, crammed into the hallway and demanded that the new university president take petitions signed by hundreds of members and community supporters demanding a contract with fair wage increases ... (11/01)

Local 766 Advances Workers' Rights,
Wages, Benefits at Ametek

Local 766 negotiated a wide range of improvements in the collective bargaining agreement with Ametek/Westchester Plastics, with enhancement of rights on the job — including an end to mandatory overtime — and significant increases in wages and benefits. Wages are increased by 4 percent the first year, 3 percent the second year and 4 percent the third year. The shift premium is increased to 35 cents for the second shift, and to 45 cents for the third shift. There's more ... (11/01)

Petition Brings Sense to Boss,
Cents to Local 225 Members

When the management of Vermont Achievement Center (VAC), a daycare, school and social service provider, cried poverty and wouldn’t change its proposal of no wage increases for the next three years, the UE membership turned out in force to reject management’s proposal. Local 225 members drew up a petition that everyone working that day signed. With this show of unity, the local union succeeded in winning a one-year agreement with no change in their portion of the health premiums and a wage increase of $.35 an hour for everyone ... (11/01)

Local 855 Advances
In New Agreement

In a new one-year agreement with Hawkeye Community College, UE Local 855 gains a $.40 per hour across-the-board wage increase and an increase in the full-time employee monthly insurance allotment from $470 to $520. Also, the new contract provides for vision insurance, free of cost to single employees ... (11/01)

Coach & Car Strike Over;
Contract Fight Continues

Buoyed by a favorable ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, UE Local 1114 members at Coach and Car voted to end their strike and return to the Elk Grove Village plant. The strikers returned as a group on Oct. 25 and are continuing their struggle for a new contract on the inside. A recent stewards’ election demonstrated the strength of workers’ democratic in-shop organization. The Labor Board upheld most of the key charges filed by the union, backing UE’s claim that the company had made fair bargaining impossible. Therefore, the company has no legal right to impose any of the cuts it had been demanding ... (11/01)

Local 506 Raises Thousands
For Red Cross Disaster Relief

Less than a week after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, UE’s largest local moved quickly into action to raise funds for the victims. UE Local 506 conducted a plant-gate collection for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund on Sept. 24. that raised $7,516.65. General Electric has promised to match the donation ... (11/01)

Educating and Counseling
In a Border Metropolis

INTERNATIONAL: With 350 plants, mostly U.S.-owned, employing 250,000 workers, Juárez is home to the largest concentration of maquila workers in Mexico. Only 17 percent are organized, and they are represented by corrupt official unions. Inside the plants, workers are subjected to frequently unhealthy conditions, a lack of protective equipment, and supervisors who harass, manipulate and humiliate workers. In many workplaces, women have to prove they are not pregnant in order to be hired. Horror stories abound. In July, a UE Women's delegation traveled to Juárez to visit and learn first-hand about the plight of women workers in Mexico. This is their account of what they found ... (11/01)

Different Approach at District 6 Meeting
Promotes Discussion, Problem-Solving

When delegates to the District Six Council meeting took their seats on recently, the unusual rectangular seating arrangement was just the beginning of a different approach to the quarterly event. As delegates sat facing each other, District Pres. John Lambiase proposed to make the most of their collective experience. And if any in the room doubted that experience, he quickly demonstrated that the local union leaders around him were women and men invested with considerable skills ... (11/01)

District 10 Leaders School
Themselves in Fighting Back
Against Abusive Bosses

UE leaders from around California gathered recently to consider methods of fighting back against abusive bosses in and out of the workplace. Delegates condemned outrageous management practices, such as the installation of new presses at Kraco, the car accessories manufacturer, that force workers to reach too high and burn themselves, and the order of Graham Packaging supervisors to keep operating a machine with blood on it ... (11/01)

District 11 Fights
For Jobs, Vows to Organize

In the shadow of the Mall of America recently, UE District Council 11 delegates met to organize their fight against fast track trade promotion authority, defend public sector jobs, and build and strengthen their union. Delegates reported workplace struggles and political action taken since their last meeting in June ... (11/01)

Union Members Demand,
'No Fast Track!' To Fence-Sitting
Congressman Kind

Not just out for a nice stroll: the nearly 20 UE members who took part in the Labor Day parade here took a strong stand in opposition to trade promotion (fast track) authority. The UE Locals 1121 and 1107 members got the attention of Congressman and potential gubernatorial candidate Ron Kind ... (11/01)

Delegates Elect Klipple,
Approve Financial Plan

Delegates to the 66th Annual UE National Convention elected long-time District One leader Bruce Klipple as general secretary-treasurer and gave their approval to a financial plan designed to secure a generation of stability and growth for their union. But, gathering in Pittsburgh just five days after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the mood at the opening of this convention was more somber than any UE convention in recent memory. Delegates, however, made their way though an agenda, debating and voting on some 45 resolutions and acting on constitutional amendments, including dues increases, which are now being voted upon by UE Locals nationwide. Assembled from around the country, delegates  elected UE's national officers and trustees. In the process, they also reaffirmed UE's historic commitment to militant, aggressive and democratic rank-and-file unionism and aggressive organizing. Here's our coverage of this unique event:


  • Daily Convention Summaries
    (daily summaries, posted as they became available)

  • Officers' Report 2001
    Each year, for well over six decades, UE's national officers have issued a report on their stewardship of the union during the previous year to the members. As published in the UE News, here is their report for 2000-2001 ...

  • Convention Information
    Our year 'round convention information page, with more info about this year's convention ... details on why UE Convention's are unique ... date and location for  next year's convention and information about past conventions ... (10/01)

Third Week of TEMCO Trial Concludes;
 Labor Board Investigates Layoffs

The trial of The Electrical Materials Co. (TEMCO) for numerous violations of federal labor law finished a third week on Oct. 24. Whether this was the final week depends upon the outcome of the National Labor Relations Board’s investigation of TEMCO’s discriminatory Sept. 26 layoffs. If the Labor Board issues a complaint on any or all of the charges filed by UE, the layoffs could be added to the case. Despite what they regard as TEMCO’s continuing disregard for their rights, UE Local 684 members remain confident that their employer will be brought to justice — and a first contract ... (10/31/01 - Web)

New Faces on Union’s
General Executive Board

Changes in UE district officers as a result of elections at October council meetings will introduce a number of new faces (and reintroduce an old one) to the union’s national leadership body. The General Executive Board consists of presidents and secretaries of UE’s regional organizations as well as the three national officers ... (10/31/01 - Web)

First American Airlines Flight After 911 —
An Uplifting Ending
To a Very Sad Week

The flag flies ...


SPECIAL TO THE UE WEB: UE Local 1004  Delegate was attending the UE Convention in Pittsburgh when she got an exciting — and unexpected — piece of email. She learned that her cousin ("Captain Mike") had been assigned to pilot the first American Airlines flight since the September 11th tragedy. And he did it in style, with the U.S. flag flying from the cockpit window — thanks to a radio talk show. Here's the story ... (10/01)

Local 791 Prevails in Ohio
Turnpike Maintenance Overtime Case

In both a moral and a monetary victory for UE Local 791/UTW members, an arbitrator ruled last month that the Ohio Turnpike commission was wrong in charging a maintenance worker with "unavailability for overtime" and found that he must be compensated for overtime he should have been allowed to work. The decision in the case of Richard Durbin also means that both maintenance and toll workers will not lose overtime turns in the future because of an "unavailable" ... ( 09/01) ...

Local 1421 Members at Stepan
Show They’re Serious About Bargaining

With negotiations approaching, the members of amalgamated UE Local 1421 at Stepan Chemical in Anaheim, California opted to strengthen their hand in a dramatic way — they voted overwhelmingly to boost their monthly dues from $20.52 to $42.76. "We hope this will send a strong message to the company that we are ready to WIN a GOOD contract when bargaining begins this fall," Chief Steward Bryan Martindale wrote to UE Genl. Pres. John Hovis ... (08/23/01 - Web)

Local 766 Advances Workers’ Rights,
Wages, Benefits at Ametek

UE Local 766 has negotiated a wide range of improvements in the collective bargaining agreement with Ametek/Westchester Plastics, with enhancement of rights on the job — including an end to mandatory overtime — and significant increases in wages and benefits. Wages are increased by 4 percent the first year, 3 percent the second year and 4 percent the third year. The shift premium is increased to 35 cents for the second shift, and to 45 cents for the third shift ... (08/23/01 - Web)

With UE, Real Bargaining
Returns to LaSalle Steel

Reflecting on recently-concluded negotiations for a new contract with Niagara LaSalle steel, Local 783 Pres. Zedrick Rickie says the truly outstanding fact is that actual bargaining took place. That’s a big change from three years ago. The Niagara Corp. purchased the LaSalle steel mill in 1997 and instituted a drastic change in relations with the Progressive Steelworkers of Hammond, a long-established independent union. The company forced a strike the following year ... (08/23/01 - Web)

Protect the Environment, Not Energy
Corporation Profits, Says UE President

Congress must face up to the seriousness of the nation’s energy crisis — and that means challenging the energy corporations, not giving into their environmentally destructive demands, says UE General President John Hovis (8/3/01) ...

Local 855 Advances in New Agreement
With Hawkeye Community College

In a new one-year agreement with Hawkeye Community College, UE Local 855 gains a $.40 per hour across-the-board wage increase and an increase in the full-time employee monthly insurance allotment from $470 to $520. Also, the new contract provides for vision insurance, free of cost to single employees ... (08/23/01 - Web)

Temco Trial Resumes;
UE Members Confident
Justice Will Be Won

UPDATE: The trial of The Electric Materials Co. (TEMCO) for numerous violations of federal labor law resumed Oct. 22 in Erie. With two weeks of trial completed, UE Local 684 members remain confident that their employer will be brought to justice — and a first contract. The union scored a significant victory when the administrative law judge rejected TEMCO’s attempt to have part of the case against it dismissed ... (10/01- Web)

We mourn as our nation mourns ...

UE General Executive Board
Issues Statement on the Tragic
Events of September 11, 2001

Expressing sorrow, anger, and hopes for peace, the UE General Executive Board has issued a statement on the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, expressing the union's "sense of loss and violation, despair and outrage." The greatest memorial to the slain, said the UE statement, "will be a world of peace, tolerance and understanding, underscored by the solidarity of working people" ... (09/01)

Federal Trial Underway  —

At TEMCO, First-Contract
Struggle Enters New Phase

Fighting for Justice at TEMCO ...

The struggle of UE Local 684 for a first contract with The Electric Materials Co. (TEMCO) entered a new phase in July with the start of a federal trial. With a complaint issued on more than 50 allegations that TEMCO has denied workers their rights under law, the National Labor Relations Board began a formal hearing in Erie. TEMCO’s 260 workers, who produce copper commutators, voted for UE representation Dec. 9, 1999. Since then, union representatives have met with management more than 30 times in an attempt to reach a fair settlement. Company actions have frustrated that goal. Previously, TEMCO workers had held their own "Peoples Court" — which unanimously found the employer guilty as charged ... (07/01)

UE 240 Members' Unity Gets Contract
Members of UE Local 240 at Elbe Cesco, Inc. settled a new contract that saw wage increases, additional paid time off, and the beginnings of a retirement plan. Although family health insurance premiums increased by over $200 in the last two years, Local 240 members kept the 85/15 split with the company and made significant gains in other areas — after a concerted membership campaign of stickers, mass negotiation sessions and job actions ... (07/01)

Success for Local 791 a Victory
For Part-Time Toll Collectors

In a major victory for Local 791/United Turnpike Workers members who are part-time toll collectors, the Ohio Turnpike Commission (OTC) has been ordered to stop forcing the part-timers to sign weekday and weekend call-out sheets (indicating their availability to work). An arbitrator last month agreed that the UE Local 791/UTW contract established voluntary call-out sign-up and ordered the OTC to "cease and desist from requiring employees to sign a call-out list and from using the [Commission’s] current [call-out] Form." The OTC form said that employees must sign either or both lists ... (07/01)

Local 1107 Successfully
Defends Pension Benefits

In a battle lasting almost a year and a half, UE Local 1107 members successfully protected millions of dollars in pension benefits. Senior employees’ monthly pension payment would have been cut by about one fourth if the employer, Freudenberg NOK, was allowed to have its way. An arbitrator’s decision in late June ordered the company to pay the higher benefits and to make whole the recent retirees who had been denied their full pension payments ... (07/01)

Local 1174 Fights Off
Concessions, Wins Best Wage
Package in Recent Memory

The new three-year agreement with Quad City Die Casting Co. ratified by UE Local 1174 members will raise wages by 3.5 percent the first year, 3.5 percent the second year, and 3.25 percent the third year. The agreement came only after the local was able to get the company to move off proposals for concessions on holidays, vacations, medical leave, time and a half after eight hours, double time on Sundays, language involving the company’s power to dispense discipline, and the pension plan ... (07/01)

District 1 Arrives in North Carolina;
Delegates Hail Union Progress

If the presence here of the District One Council for its June 16 meeting was a boost to UE’s organizing in the Tar Heel State, the inspiration was mutual. Participants from Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia repeatedly expressed their appreciation for the union spirit of the hundreds of new UE members signed-up in North Carolina. Representatives of UE Local 150, North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, helped fill the Tobacco Workers hall, as they added to reports and discussion UE members also came from Vermont-American and Cummins Diesel, where a non-majority status UE organization carries out shop-floor defense of workers’ rights ... (07/01)

District 2 Council Takes Message
Directly to Circuit-Wise

Delegates to the most recent District Two Council met briefly before leaving to rally in front of the gates of Circuit-Wise. They chanted and marched in support of their UE Local 299 brothers and sisters who are now working under Chapter 11 bankruptcy conditions. Led by Genl. Pres. John Hovis, District Pres. Judy Atkins and Local Pres. Dorothy Johnson, a delegation of District Two executive board members delivered a letter to Circuit-Wise management stating the union’s intentions to stand with Local 299 members in their refusal to go backwards in wages or working conditions ... (07/01)

District 10 Delegates Receive
Training and Teach Each Other

Leaders of UE locals in California gathered in Glendale for a District 10 Council meeting that combined union education and discussion on in-shop organizing and the impact of the state’s notorious blackouts on work. The district council started a day early for a number of UE members who assembled for a day-long training on fighting grievances and workplace mobilization ... (07/01)

Shop Reports, State Budget,
State of the Union Fill District 11 Agenda

From a Chicago-area warehouse and State of Iowa offices, workers brought their triumphs and concerns to the District 11 Council meeting in Iowa City. Delegates from a wide variety of locals in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Nebraska packed the room. (07/01)

World of Work
World Labor News Roundup

INTERNATIONAL:  GE and Honeywell Tie-Up Off; Paris Air Show Boosts European Jobs; Polish President Attacks Union Rights; French 35 Hour Week Law Can 'Create Up to 500,000 Jobs' ... (07/01)

Workers Remembered
On Workers' Memorial Day

PHOTO: Diane Richter of UE Local 1111 reads the list of Wisconsin workers killed on the job during a Workers’ Memorial Day observation in Zydler Park, Milwaukee on April 27. (07/01)

Regional Stewards Training
PHOTOS: In recent weeks stewards in California and Virginia have participated in regional training conferences on the theme "Building Workplace Power: The Role Stewards Of in the Bush Era." The UE Education Department, working with district presidents, has presented a series of regional stewards’ conferences on this theme throughout the union ... (07/01)

For Contract and Residents  —
Nursing Home
Workers Keep Fighting
"This is the bottom line of our struggle: We want one of these multinational, for-profit nursing homes to wake up to the fact that we insist our residents receive the care they deserve," says Kathy Purcell, a licensed nurse’s aide at Berlin Health & Rehabilitation. Kathy is one of the 120 women and men who made history last August by becoming the first unionized nursing-home workforce in Vermont. Since then, they've been fighting hard to get their issues addressed in a first union contract. They're up against formidable opponents ... but they're determined win improvements not only for themselves, but the people they care for, too ...  (06/01)   
Fighting for Quality Care ... and Respect ...


Call Issued to the 66th UE Convention
The call to the 66th UE Convention has been mailed to all local unions and district councils. The convention will take place at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh from Sept. 16 to 20 (see also, UE National Convention Info) ...  (06/01)

Congressional Forum Broadcasts
Crisis at WBAI, Pacifica Network

Disconnecting a Congressman when he’s speaking on live radio proved not to be an effective way for Pacifica management to avoid discussion of the public radio network’s labor relations policies. Rep. Major Owens (D., N.Y.) personally experienced what union members denounce as "the reckless, incompetent and hypocritical actions" of Pacifica management. The Brooklyn Congressman was discussing the management problem at WBAI in a live interview with Ken Nash, host of "Building Bridges," a labor news show. Owens was cut off while talking to Nash. In a speech on the House floor, Owens described the "weird and frightening experience of being gagged" ...  (06/01)

Supreme Court Decision Threatens
Organizing by Nurses, Professionals

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that registered nurses are supervisors under the terms of the National Labor Relations Act. This potentially far-reaching decision occurs as crisis in health care propels nurses to union organization. The decision could also impact other professional employees seeking union organization, as well as workers who fall into the court’s broad definition of "supervisors." ...  (06/01)

U.S. Civil Rights Commission Finds
'Widespread' Problems in Florida Vote

Questions continue to be raised about the 2000 presidential election, fueled by this month’s finding by the United States Commission on Civil Rights of "widespread voter disenfranchisement ... [which] fell most harshly on the shoulders of African-American voters" ...  (06/01)

Bush Taps Ex-Personnel Boss
For NLRB, Senate Gives OK

The new general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board is a management attorney and former personnel manager. The U.S. Senate acted with rare speed, confirming President Bush’s nomination of Arthur F. Rosenfeld in just two days ...  (06/01)

House Bill Aims at Closure
Of 'School of Assassins'

UPDATE: Urge Your Representative to Support This Bill! Just a few weeks before his death from leukemia on May 28, U.S. Rep. Joe Moakley (D., Mass.) was one of six members of Congress to introduce a bill to close the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly the U.S. Army School of the Americas). Moakley had been a steadfast opponent of the counterinsurgency school. In its 50-year history, the School of the Americas (SOA) has trained some 60,000 Latin American troops in commando tactics, military intelligence, psychological operations and sniper fire. Their targets have included labor organizers and religious leaders, students and teachers, peasants and workers ...

Anderson Iron Workers
Advance in New Contract

Anderson Iron workers, members of amalgamated UE Local 1139 have ratified a new two-year agreement that added 81 cents to workers’ hourly pay effective June 1. Another 81-cent wage hike takes place June 1, 2002.The company will pay the full cost of the health and dental coverage ...  (06/01)

District Six Solidarity
In Meeting, Streets of Erie

Delegates to the District Six Council meeting completed a packed agenda on the afternoon and evening of June 9 that included discussion of the revised National union financial plan, attention to first-contract struggles and a workshop on public education. The following morning, delegates joined hundreds of union members from around Erie County in a march and rally celebrating labor solidarity ... (06/01)

Rank-and-File Unionism in Action  —
Local 1166 Gains a First
Contract with GATX

First contract at GATX ...

After two union elections, extended legal delays by the company and nine months of negotiations, members of UE Local 1166 at the GATX warehouse in Hodgkins, Il. ratified their first ever UE contract on April 25. The new contract features a number of impressive gains, made through the unity of the workforce in dealing with the company and the support the negotiating committee received during the contract negotiations. Negotiating Committee member Damaris Santana explained: "I have to admit it, that I was surprised. When the time came, people really stayed together." ... (05/01)

Protests Slam
'Free-Trade' Scheme in Quebec

The heads of state of 34 nations in the Western Hemisphere (all except Cuba) gathered in Quebec April 20-22 for the third Summit of the Americas. President George W. Bush and other leaders renewed their commitment to establish a Free Trade Area of the Americas by 2005. Tens of thousands of union members, environmentalists and concerned citizens from Canada, the United States, Mexico and beyond came to denounce the secret negotiations aimed at extending NAFTA to the entire hemisphere. UE members were among the protestors insisting on jobs and democracy. Quebec opened its doors to visiting government leaders but the historic walled city abandoned its famed hospitality for grassroots visitors. (05/01)

Chicago Rally Blasts
FTAA, Effects of NAFTA

Close to 1,000 union members rallied here April 21 in opposition to plans to impose the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) on workers throughout the Western Hemisphere. Nine UE Local 1111 members traveled by van from Milwaukee, Wis. to join the protest. The FTAA, often described as "NAFTA on steroids," would make corporate power sovereign over the protective laws and regulations of nations from Canada to Chile ... (05/01)

UE Backs Living Wage
Bills in Pittsburgh Region

The week Harvard University students ended their three-week sit-in to demand a living wage for the university’s lowest-paid workers, UE leaders lent their weight to efforts in Southwestern Pennsylvania  to enact living wage legislation ... (05/01)

North Carolina Human
Services Workers
Organizing for Quality Care, Quality Jobs

In recent weeks, hundreds of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services employees have been joining the UE Local 150 DHHS Dignity Campaign for a strong voice on the job. DHHS workers are anticipating massive changes to the Department, although most have had no say about their future. At eight institutions, they are building a network to voice their concerns. On April 11, hundreds of workers at the Cherry Hospital and O’Berry Center kicked off the Local 150 "Dignity Days" ... (05/01)

Local 896-COGS, Win
Improvements in Wages and Insurance

Members of UE Local 896-COGS overwhelmingly ratified their third contract with the University of Iowa, State of Iowa Board of Regents. The union of teaching and research assistants bargained with the University and Regents right up to the last minute before final offers for arbitration were to be exchanged. The sticking point was over starting salaries and guaranteed salary increases for returning employees. Finally, the employer relented and accepted the union’s last offer. The two-year agreement increases minimum salaries by 4.2 percent in each year ... (05/01)

Local 111 Unfreezes Bargaining
Progress at Gardner Cryogenics

Members of UE Local 111, Independent Cryogenic Workers, recently ratified a new three-year agreement by a close vote. Under the terms of the new agreement, Gardner workers will receive wage increases of 55 cents the first year, 50 cents the second and 50 the third. The shop average prior to expiration of the previous agreement was $16.63 ... (05/01)

Job Security Focus of GE
Conference Board Meeting in Erie

Delegates to the GE Conference Board focused on job security at their most recent meeting, where Local 506 Chief Plant Steward Dave Kitchen, joined by members Rich Manno and Rick Robb, gave a detailed presentation on the local’s Job Preservation and Steering Committee (JPSC). The job preservation committees were established under contract language first negotiated in 1997 by UE and General Electric and strengthened in last year’s national negotiations. The contract provision has helped the union advance a positive agenda on jobs. The result, as Kitchen and his co-workers explained, has been the return of some subcontracted jobs, the preservation of work and identification of new areas for potential job growth ... (05/01)

World of Work
World Labor News Roundup

INTERNATIONAL: France Cuts Unemployment; Reports Huge Profit Increases • Germany Finally Creates World's Biggest Union • European Union To Totally Open Employment Market by 2005 • South Korea's Daewoo Sheds 6,500 Jobs Worldwide • Telecom Giants Slash British Jobs ... (05/01)

Cheney Firm Slammed
For Burma Connection

Worker shareholders stepped up their global campaign to end corporate support for Burma’s military dictatorship at Halliburton’s (NYSE: HAL) annual meeting in Dallas. Representatives of the AFL-CIO and the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM) spoke in favor of a shareholder resolution addressing the Halliburton Company's involvement in human rights abuses in Burma. Halliburton, the energy giant formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, is one of the few U.S.-based companies with investments in Burma — a country whose government is noted for massive human rights violations and involvement in narcotics trafficking ... (05/01)

Local 494 Gains in Contract
With Union County Parks Department

Local 494, representing Union County, N.J. park maintenance workers, craftsmen and mechanics, reached a new four-year agreement with the county government last month following lengthy negotiations. UE members work in the county’s extensive public parks system, which includes public golf courses, swimming pools and riding stables, and involves considerable maintenance of equipment. Union members work at 13 different job sites scattered throughout the county. Overwhelmingly ratified by Local 494, the contract contains numerous improvements ... (05/01)

Contract with SMC Improves
Wages, Dental Plan, Adds Vision Program

Local 1128 members have ratified a new three-year agreement with the SMC Corp., Schwartz division, that raises wages, improves dental coverage and adds a vision plan ... (05/01)

Contract with Western
Iowa Tech Boosts Rates

Local 1145 members, employees of Western Iowa Tech Community College, have ratified a new one-year agreement that raises minimum and maximum pay rates by 3.5 percent ... (05/01)

Local 269 Controls Insurance
Costs in New Contract

Local 269 members employed at the Erving paper mill in Erving, Mass. have given unanimous approval to a new contract that met their goals with regard to wages, pension and control of health insurance costs. The three-year agreement raises wages by 60 cents plus 3 percent the first year, 3 percent the second year and 3 percent again the third year. The average wage increase in the first year is $1; the average wage prior to the increase was $14.49 an hour ... (05/01)

Charleston Dockworkers Face
Severe Attacks By Employer, Politicians

Last year the shipping company Nordana Lines unilaterally decided to use non-union labor to work its ships here after 23 years of employing members of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA). Union members responded with picket lines to protest this assault on their jobs. The employer had other plans. As many as 600 riot-equipped police in armored vehicles, on horseback, in helicopters and patrol boats launched a military-style assault on the picketlines ...

Stewards Training in Milwaukee
PHOTO: Stewards training sessions in Milwaukee covered stewards’ rights, member-to-member harassment, protecting and bargaining health insurance and mobilizing the membership ... (05/01)

UE Goes to Washington,
Tells Congress to Get Real


   The 2001 UE Political Action Conference ...

UE members had a few choice words for those in charge, when they converged on the nation's capital in late March for the 2001 UE Political Action Conference. Activists from every UE district participated in four intensive days of briefings, lobbying, discussions and a demonstration. In conveying the theme of the conference, "Confronting Corporate Power: Defend Our Jobs and Schools," they found out what it's like to talk to Washington politicians about real issues (without having millions of dollars in political contributions). In face-to-face meetings, the reactions of politicians ranged from open support (rare) to outright hostility (more common). In our coverage, you'll find out what it's like to be an ordinary worker talking about the concerns of working people to the current members of Congress ...  (04/01)

UE Members Bring Message
To State Capitol — Jobs, Workers’ Rights

With a mock "funeral march for good jobs in Vermont" on the steps of the state capitol, participants in the UE Vermont Political Action March 20 served notice on elected officials to assist workers in their fight for jobs with decent pay and union conditions ...  (04/01)

Vermont, Quebec Unionists Object
To New 'Free Trade' Scheme

More than 150 union members and others packed one of the largest rooms in the Vermont statehouse on in early April to express opposition to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the latest big business scheme to expand NAFTA. Opening the event, U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) explained that "U.S. trade policy has been a disaster, and must be changed!"...  (04/01)

Local 1004 Takes
Campaign for ISSI Contract
To Los Angeles Hospitals

Union members have taken their campaign for a first contract covering food service and housekeeping workers at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital to two Los Angeles hospitals. Both hospitals use the services of Integrated Supported Solutions Inc. (ISSI), the for-profit subcontractor which provides dietary and housekeeping services to Henry Mayo. ISSI workers at Henry Mayo voted for UE representation by a two-to-one margin in April 2000. In the year since, ISSI has engaged in delaying tactics and other unionbusting practices rather than settle a fair contract ...  (04/01)

Local 150 Calls on NCSU
To Recognize Language Rights

After she was reprimanded last year for speaking in Spanish to a co-worker, North Carolina State University housekeeper Maricruz Ramos filed a grievance with the help of the UE Local 150 Legal Committee and other union members. Local 150 would like NCSU to clarify its policy on workers speaking Spanish in the workplace — and put an end to language discrimination ...  (04/01)

Stadium Fever:
The Art of the Steal

FEATURE: In the spring of 1989, a bewildered Kevin Costner stood in an Iowa cornfield attempting to decipher a strange promise whispered to him in barely audible tones: "If you build it, they will come." Since the release of Field of Dreams, the call for new stadiums has mounted to a deafening roar, as our cities witnessed an unprecedented boom in professional sports arena construction. But, at whose expense? ...  (04/01)

Antioch Faculty, Co-Workers
Sacrifice To Prevent Job Loss

When Antioch College announced in February that a budget shortfall would force permanent and temporary layoffs and reduction of hours, some faculty members decided there had to be another way. They were willing to take a temporary pay cut, and thought maybe others would, too. They were right. The Staff Salary Budget Relief Fund has pledges and cash from nearly half of the college’s nearly 200 employees ...  (04/01)

Significant Wage Increases,
Holidays for Part-Timers at Flynn Theatre

Members of amalgamated UE Local 221 employed by the Flynn Regional Box Office unanimously ratified a new three-year agreement containing significant wage increase ....  (04/01)

Montague DPW Workers
Agree to One-Year Contract

The members of amalgamated UE Local 274 employed by the Town of Montague Department of Public Works and waste-water treatment plant have ratified a new one-year contract. The agreement includes a general wage increase of 3 percent ...  (04/01)

District 7 Hails Glastic First Contract
Delegates to the UE District Seven Council meeting in Dayton, Ohio hailed the successful conclusion of Local 758’s 25-month struggle for a first contract with the Glastic Corp. in Jefferson. Local Pres. Bill Lally and Tricia Knam, a negotiating committee member, proudly reported on their hard-won contract gains — and expressed their gratitude for the solidarity that helped to make the victory possible. Shop reports revealed a wide range of conditions ...  (04/01)

Union Meeting
A Family Affair in Elmira

Local 329 members and officers invited spouses to attend the February membership meeting — and that was just the beginning of the hospitality. Union members, including Local Pres. Tom Dininny, cooked a hearty breakfast for all those who attended ...  (04/01)

New Local 151 Officers
PHOTO: The new officers of Local 151, which represents workers at Aetna Bearing in Chicago ...

New Local 689 Officers
PHOTO: The new officers of Local 689, the union at Bruce Plastics in Crafton, Pa. ...  (04/01)

Bush, Congress
To Injured Workers: Suffer!

Worker health and safety activists are calling it the "nuclear bomb of deregulation" and "the OSHA crime of the century." For the hundreds of thousands of workers who suffer from painful, disabling repetitive stress injuries, the vote in Congress to repeal the new ergonomics standard is both insult and injury ... 

Union Member Fired
For Filing Grievance
Back on the Job, with Back Pay


A UE Local 221 member fired because management regarded a grievance as "lying" is back on the job, thanks to union persistence and community support. In July, the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO) Head Start program gave seven-year employee Elizabeth Blatt a warning for an allegedly inappropriate conversation with her supervisor, despite the reports of witnesses to the contrary. Management fired Liz Blatt when the union filed a grievance on her behalf, on the grounds that the grievance represented "lying" and "filing a false document." Union members said this was like being given a prison sentence for contesting a parking ticket ... (03/01)

Union Perseverance
Secures a Measure of Justice
For Local Leader

"The last line in that story is not written," said Lester Koch when he stood before the 65th UE Convention in Erie last August and told the delegates of his discharge three months earlier. It is now. Union perseverance gave the story a happy ending: the UE Local 112 president is back on the job as a switcher (or yard jockey) for Penske Logistics ... (03/01)

UE Members: Employees of Pliant,
But Not 'Pliant' Workers

The new owner of the former Deerfield Plastics company here is called Pliant Plastics. The members of amalgamated UE Local 274 who work here are therefore employees of Pliant, but they are not pliant workers. Union members were anything but "easily bent" in refusing to go along with the company’s demand for $1.2 million in givebacks — both before and after contract negotiations ... (03/01)

Local 274 Contract with Literacy
Project Receives Satisfactory Grade

The members of amalgamated UE Local 274 employed by the Literacy Project recently approved their second-ever contract. In this contract teachers receive a $1.10 hourly wage increase; coordinators, $1.50 an hour ... (03/01)

Amalgamated UE Local 404 Achieves
New Three-Year Pact at Groov-Pin

Members of amalgamated UE Local 404 overwhelmingly accepted a new three-year agreement with Groov-Pin Corp. on March 1. Over the life of the agreement they will realize gains of $3,500 in cash bonuses as well as 60 cents per hour increases. All employees working their way up through job/wage progressions will be moved to the next level immediately, a substantial gain for many as well ... (03/01)

Wesco Workers Demand
Credit For Long Service

The goal of the largely female workforce at Wesco to gain a $10-wage for senior employees ran counter to the company’s intention of a cheap settlement. In the end, a united and active membership achieved the largest-ever wage increase for long-service workers ... (03/01)

Wisconsin Members Bring
Their Concerns to State Capitol

Wisconsin legislators used to professional lobbyists who peddle a "profits above all" line got an altogether different kind of message when rank-and-file UE members spent a full day in the state capitol. They visited the offices of all 132 representatives and senators, and the governor’s office as well ... (03/01)

Members of Locals 506,
618 March on King Holiday

Thankfully, the weather finally cooperated with the participants in the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday March. Although far from balmy,  milder than usual weather contributed to a record number of Erie and Erie area residents, including members of UE Locals 506 and 618, involving themselves in the January 15, 2001 event ... (03/01)

Unionbusting; Corporate Takeover
Protested at WBAI-Pacifica

Hundreds of supporters of WBAI and its embattled staff, members of UE Local 404, gathered outside the offices of the unionbusting law firm Epstein, Becker and Green on Feb. 20 to protest the corporate takeover of WBAI and the Pacifica stationd as well as the imposition of new station management by the Pacifica Foundation, the banning of unpaid staff covered by the contract and the presence of security guards ... (03/01)

International Women's Day
FEATURE: March is observed as Women’s History Month because March 8 is International Women’s Day. The holiday had its origins in the struggles of working women in the United States. On March 8, 1908, the underpaid and badly treated women workers in New York’s needle trades demonstrated for better conditions. And then... (03/01)

James Higgins, Them
And Us
Co-Author, Dies

James C. Higgins, poet, journalist, union organizer and co-author of Them and Us: The Struggles of a Rank-and-File Union, has died in Quncey, Mass. at the age of 84 ... (03/01)

District 10 Welcomes New
Local at Council Meeting

The rainy and brisk weather in no way matched the mood of the many UE District 10 members as they gathered here Feb. 23-25 for their district council meeting. Welcoming the newest addition to the district, Henry Mayo Hospital Workers’ Local 1004, gave a sense of excitement to the meeting. Shop reports only added to the level of excitement ... (03/01)

District 6 Meeting Reflects Activities,
Concerns of Busy, Fighting Union

A wide-ranging District Six Council meeting heard remarks by all three UE national officers on the union's proposed financial plan, detailed reports on shop struggles, extensive political action discussion and news from the front-lines of UE organizing ... (03/01)

New Office for UE District 7
PHOTO: District Seven Pres. Joyce Clayborne steps out into a snowy landscape to show off the new sign identifying the District’s new home ... (03/01)

New Local 279 Officers
PHOTO: The newly elected officers of UE Local 279 took the oath of office in mid-March at the regular union meeting. Local 279 represents all the union-eligible workers at the Atwood & Morrill Co. in Salem, Mass. Local 279 members manufacture small-to-large industrial-type valves for the nuclear power industry as well as other heavy industries and municipalities ... (03/01)

'Frederick Douglass' Visits UE Local
PHOTO: Dr. Charles Pace, scholar-activist-and cultural worker from the University of Kentucky in Danville, Ky. came to southeastern Massachusetts to perform his one-man show of Frederick Douglass, orator and abolitionist — and former New Bedford shipyard worker. Dr. Pace brought his unique performance to a number of locations, including the Haskon division of Burke Industries in Taunton ... (03/01)

Alternative to President Bush's Plan  —
Progressive Caucus Calls
For Real Tax Relief

President Bush’s plan to hand over the budget surplus to the super-rich is not the only tax-cut plan in town. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has unveiled a major, across-the-board tax package aimed at providing substantial and equal tax relief to all Americans. Entitled the "American People’s Dividend," the plan would provide substantially more tax relief to 80 percent of the population than the Bush plan, yielding $300 annually to every man, woman and child in the United States as long as a budget surplus exists ... (02/01)

After Their Boom, It's Our Recession —
Heads They Win, Tails We Lose
If you haven’t been hibernating this winter, you know that the economy’s stopped booming. Even if you’re skeptical about any impending recession (lots of economists still think that scenario is too gloomy), many indicators are unmistakably pointing to a real economic slowdown ... (02/01)

Iowa UE Members
Bring Action Program
To State Capitol

The concerns of several thousand working families were heard here in Iowa's state capitol as delegates to the annual UE Political Action Day met with elected officials. Political Action Day 2001 boasted the largest number of UE locals ever represented. Issues forcefully presented by UE members, who are mostly employed in the public sector, included child welfare caseloads, privatization, health insurance, energy ... (02/01)

Local 506 Stewards
Make News For Their
Job Preservation Efforts

The efforts of Local 506 to make the most of the job-preservation language in the UE-General Electric National Agreement received a detailed examination in On the Line, a guide for union stewards published by the Bureau of National Affairs. On the Line reports that the 200 UE stewards at GE’s Erie manufacturing complex see "the possibility of building an institutional model for unions fighting for jobs in a cut-throat corporate environment quick to downsize and outsource unionized work." ... (02/01)

World of Work:
World Labor News Roundup
INTERNATIONAL: General Motors/Ford to Cut Thousands of Jobs in Europe • Irish Strikers Successfully Challenge Agreement • First Strike in 20 Years for UK Rolls Royce Workers • Healthcare Workers Strike at Germany's Health Reforms • Further Fall in French Workless ... (02/01)

Friends of UE in
Mexico City Government

INTERNATIONAL (PHOTOS): Bertha Luján, one of the three co-presidents of the Authentic Labor Front (FAT), has resigned to take office as controller of the government of Mexico City. The mayor has also appointed Jesus Campos Linas to head the Mexico City Labor Board. Campos Linas testified on behalf of UE in both cases (General Electric, Echlin) the union filed under NAFTA ... (02/01)

At Bruce Plastics —
Local 689 Contract
Provides Vacation
Options During Shutdown

Bruce Plastics workers, members of UE Local 689, are working under the terms of a new three-year agreement reached last year. The contract raises wages by 45 cents an hour in each year ... and provides for new vacation options ... (02/01)

As Penn Coil Heads Down the Monongahela —
Contract Gains
Follow Local 615 Members

In a contract negotiated last year with Pennsylvania Electric Coil, UE Local 615 members gained significant improvements in wages and benefits. Wages increased by 3 percent the first year; workers will see a 3.5 percent increase the second year and a 4 percent increase the third year. The average base wage at the end of the old contract was $12.50. Workers also received a $100 signing bonus ... (02/01)

Local 404 Members
Experience New Jersey
UE History

A phone call taken by UE Genl. Sec.-Treas. Bob Clark from a former UE member led to the return of a bronze plaque from the old UE District Four offices and an opportunity for Local 404 members to learn something of their union’s history. Lee Bracey of Woodridge once worked in the office of the large Westinghouse elevator factory in Jersey City. Shop which, during the raids on UE in the early 1950s, was enticed into the IUE. Bracey missed the rank-and-file democracy and militancy he experienced in UE. "Hell, I thought all unions were this way!" he said. "I quickly found out this wasn’t true ..."  (02/01)

What’s Wrong with This Picture?
The Dreams of Harriet Tubman is a mural looking for a wall in Baltimore. Artist Mike Alewitz, who has created murals and banners for the Labor Party, UE and the FAT, was commissioned to do a series of murals in Maryland honoring Harriet Tubman. But, the original host of the central mural — the image shown here — objected to Tubman’s rifle and withdrew its offer of a wall ... (02/01)

In Grafton County, New Hampshire  —
Local 278 Completes
First Contract with
Grafton County Nursing Home
And Corrections Department

First Contract!

A year of bargaining — and grassroots, UE-style political action — locked up first contracts for new UE Local 278 with Grafton County, N.H. for the Grafton County Nursing Home and the Department of Corrections. The UE negotiating committees and the Grafton County Commissioners signed the agreements on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2000. County employees represented by Local 278 will receive wage increases totaling $1.80 over three years as well as on-the-job protection. Full Story ... (01/01)

Local 758 Gains 
First Contract at Glastic

Successfully concluding a 25-month struggle that saw protests from here to Japan and back, energized members of UE Local 758 at Glastic Corporation in Jefferson, Ohio voted overwhelmingly last month to ratify their first-ever union contract. The four-year contract contains a $350 signing bonus, a 40-cent wage increase each November, company-paid health insurance, improvements in bereavement leave, holiday pay, medical leave policies, shift premiums, and overtime policies ... (01/01)

Local 218 Keeps Jobs
In Springfield, Vermont

Four months after UE Local 218 received notice of the intent to close and move the Bryant Grinder Co., the union and parent firm have reached a settlement that keeps the company in Springfield. At the heart of the settlements is Bryant Grinder’s pledge to move its operation into a nearby facility ... (01/01)

General Cable Workers
Defeat Takeaways, Secure Gains

Members of UE Local 1014 ratified a new three-year agreement with BICC/General (General Cable) on Dec. 8 that includes significant improvements in a variety of areas, without the takeaways the company demanded. Highlights of the agreement include and 11.5% wage increase over the life of the contract ... (01/01)

Local 692 Sees Big Gains
In First Contract with New Owner

Last February UE Local 692 members were wondering about the effects of their plant’s second change in ownership in nearly a decade and the first since Ervite workers organized in 1992. What would the change in ownership mean for negotiations? As it turned out, the Local 692 membership stuck together, backed their negotiating committee and achieved one of their best-ever contracts ... (01/01)

UE Members in Mexico
For 40th Anniversary of FAT

INTERNATIONAL: Two UE members joined unionists from Quebec, Italy, Spain, and France in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Frente Autentico del Trabajo (FAT) in Mexico City. The celebration included a panel discussion about governmental transitions and their impact upon labor unions in the various countries. It also included the release of two books on FAT history ... (01/01)

Local Leaders Discuss
Developments in GE Chain

Meeting for the first time since the conclusion of national negotiations last June, delegates to the UE-GE Conference Board discussed significant changes at General Electric, and reviewed developments in their own locations as well ... (01/01)

Local 1125 Members Rally at ABQC
PHOTOS: Local 1125 members rallied outside the ABQC Corp. on Dec. 14 to protest the company’s anti-union behavior in negotiations and on the shop floor ... (01/01)

Dan Kelley, Local 893
Founder and President, Dies

Dan Kelley, a founder and president of UE Local 893, Iowa United Professionals, died Dec. 19 at his home in Marion, Iowa after a long and valiant fight with colon cancer ... (01/01)

Statement issued by UE's National Officers ... 

A Welder Melds a Salsa of Musical Styles
FEATURE: The atmosphere in the UE Local 506 Hall in Erie, Pa. on the night of Aug. 29, 2000, was nearly as vibrant as the bright and powerful mural on the hall’s wall being celebrated that evening. Microphone in hand, a Local 506 member conveyed his own personal excitement. "I am very proud of my union," exclaimed Julio Negrón, singer in the band providing an array of Latino music. "And I am proud of my culture." Negrón enjoyed his first opportunity to perform in his union hall that August night. He has worked in the Erie GE plant for 28 ... (01/01)

Home -> UE News -> 2001 Archives




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