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Ends with Song and Solidarity  —
68th Convention Now
Part of UE History

The 68th UE National Convention ...

It was rank-and-file democracy in action during the last full week of August, 2003 ... as local union members, representing UE locals from coast to coast as delegates, alternates and guests, gathered for the 68th national UE Convention. In five days, mixing hard work, education, decision-making and fun, the convention set UE policy, heard from a number of national and international speakers, and re-elected the union's top officers. Convention summaries are posted below.

UE News/Convention Updates

Sunday: Convention Opens
UE´s 'Aggressive Struggle,' Democracy Still Relevant
As UE 68th Convention opened, President Hovis blasted the Bush Administration and praised the union's 'aggressive struggle' and democracy.

Monday Morning
Action on Collective Bargaining; Gerard Blasts Bush
Convention, delegates adopt collective bargaining and related policies and  hear from United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard. 
Monday Afternoon
Delegates Discuss Organizing, Political Action
68th UE Convention delegates cheered new members, adopted an organizing plan, and vowed to remove George Bush from office.
Tuesday Morning
Delegates Hear a Politician Who Makes Sense
On Tuesday morning, August 26, the 68th Convention heard from presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. Delegates liked what they heard.
Tuesday Afternoon
UE Convention Urges: Bring The Troops Home!
On the afternoon of Tuesday, August 26, 68th Convention delegates call for an end to the occupation of Iraq and a democratic, worker-friendly foreign policy.
Wednesday Morning
Convention Gives Boost to International Solidarity
On Wednesday morning, August 27, 68th Convention delegates heard a leader of Brazil´s metalworkers´ union, endorsed policy on international solidarity, and took a strong stand for civil liberties.
Wednesday Afternoon
Busy Session Elects Officers,
Handles Finances, Fights Racism

On Wednesday afternoon, August 27, the 68th UE Convention recommended constitutional changes, including a new per capita system, elected the national officers and trustees, and committed themselves to 'Fight Racism.'
That resolution received a spontaneous round of applause.
Convention Closes with Determination and Song
The 68th UE Convention completed its work on the morning of Thursday, August 28.


Vermont Co-Op
Workers Join UE

First in Burlington, then in Montpelier — two groups of Vermont food Co-op workers decided they needed a voice on the job and they found one with UE. It took Burlington's City Market workers only six weeks to form and gain recognition of their new UE local. In Montpelier, Hunger Mountain Co-op workers made their decision in an employer-sanctioned community election ...

GE Contract Ratified
By a substantial majority, UE members employed by General Electric have ratified a new national agreement in coast-to-coast, local-by-local voting.Both the UE negotiating committee and UE-GE Conference Board had unanimously recommended acceptance of the four-year agreement, which includes substantial gains in GE workers’ wages, pensions, medical coverage, and job and income security provisions, among other improvements. 

Struggle for First Contract,
Boycott Continue at Azteca

Local 1159 members, who ended their strike on May 5, are continuing their fight for a first contract and justice on the job on the inside. Azteca Foods workers are calling on supporters to step up the boycott of the company’s tortillas and tortilla chips after a month-long moratorium, called at the company's request, failed to produce any progress in reaching a first contract ...

With New Contract, UE Local 204 Proves
It Pays to Be Unified and Stand Strong

Unity, militance, and the active involvement of every member led the way and forged the new contract at UE Local 204 during negotiations with Kirkhill TA, Haskon Division. From the start, the company said that they were going to get all workers to pay 10 percent of the insurance premium by the end of the agreement and the contract was going to be five years long. The Local 204 membership had other ideas — and those ideas prevailed ...

Political Ties, Globalization:
Corporate Invasion of Iraq

United States military forces in Iraq have been followed by corporations looking to cash-in on their political connections and the defeated country’s disarray. Among the companies with contracts are Bechtel, a San Francisco-based construction corporation with many ties to Republican administrations, and Halliburton, formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney. The details of this "other" invasion are available in "The Corporate Invasion of Iraq," a report produced by U.S. Labor Against War (USLAW). The report profiles the records of 18 U.S. corporations granted contracts to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq ...

Local 275 Beats Back Concessions,
Makes Gains at Viking Aluminum

After nearly two months of working without a contract, UE Local 275 members reached an agreement with Viking Aluminum on July 1. Union members beat back serious concessions, including the elimination of the Martin Luther King holiday, a reduction in vacation time, elimination of the pension plan and a wage freeze. Also, Local 275 rejected an employer refusal to cap health insurance costs ...

Brazil’s Unions Back New Government,
But Reserve the Right to Criticize


   Working people who began building a labor movement 20 years ago under a dictatorship are proud that the machinist who led their early strikes is today their nation’s chief executive. But now, there's a new and unique challenge to workers, their unions and the country's president: the relationship between the fifth largest labor federation in the world and the new government. Brazil’s economic difficulties guarantee that relationship will be neither simple nor easy ...

Newton School Staff Gains Wage,
Key Language Improvements

Support staff of the Newton Community School District, organized as UE Local 898, have ratified a new two-year contract that improves wages and insurance and strengthens the contract in several key areas ...

Wages Increase for Keokuck
School District Staff

UE Local 893-98, representing secretaries, clerical workers, and teacher associates at the Keokuk Community School District, has ratified a new three-year agreement ...

Local 855 Reaches 2-Year Contract
With Hawkeye Community College

UE Local 855, the union of support staff employees at Hawkeye Community College, has settled a new two-year contract. In year one, across the board wage increases will be $.30 per hour, a 3 percent increase on average. The insurance allotment will increase by $70 per month to $611.70, a 13 percent increase ...

Wage Hike, No Premium Increase
In Urbandale Schools Contract

Local 893-16, custodial, maintenance, and food service workers at the Urbandale Community School District has settled a new one-year contract that advances wages and holds the line on insurance premium costs. The settlement provides for $.25 to be added to the base for each classification plus step movement. This represents average wage increases of 4.3 percent. Also, longevity payments will increase from $.15 per hour to $.20 per hour after twelve years seniority ...

Local 715 Members Win Wage Increases,
Preserve Seniority in Metaldyne Contract

UE Local 715 members have ratified a new three year contract with the auto parts manufacturer Metaldyne (formerly Simpson Industries), by a margin of 122 to 28. A wage increase in the first year of the contract brings the wages of Machine Operators (the majority of workers) to $17.14. The top rate for skilled Maintenance Workers and Tool Grinders rose to $18.59 ...

Local 690 Settles with Consolidated
Container, Kenson Plastics

As they prepared for recent contract negotiations, the members of UE Local 690 knew that they would have their work cut out for them. Local 690, an amalgamated local consisting of Kenson Plastics and Consolidated Container Corporation (CCC) workers, faced back-to-back negotiations for the first time ...

Wealthy GE Wants Workers to Pay  —
National Strike Targets
GE's Medical Cost-Shifting

On strike over health care ....

UE members in locals from New England to California successfully completed the first national strike against General Electric in 33 years in January. Responding to the company’s medical cost-shifting in its Health Care Preferred (HCP) managed care insurance plan, UE members stopped work at 16 different bargaining units across the country. UE members were joined by members of the IUE/CWA, the only other union with a national contract in the GE chain. Altogether nearly 20,000 GE workers were on strike. (01/03)

GE Strike Makes Its Point (UE News 1/17/03)

GE Strike: 'Impressive Display of Solidarity and Resolve' (UE News Update 1/15/03)
UE Sets Date for National Strike Against GE (1/8/03)
UE-GE Locals Prepare ffor National Strike Action (12/16/02)

Striking Back Against GE's Greed (online flier)

Union Leaders New Coalition:
U.S. Labor Against the War

Labor leaders, representing more than two million union members, have launched a new organization to mobilize antiwar sentiment among organized workers. Declaring itself "firmly against Bush’s war drive," the new coalition U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW) intends to join the national debate over an attack on Iraq ... (01/03)

Azteca Workers Still Strong
In Their Fight for Justice

Azteca workers, members of UE Local 1159, entered the New Year — and their fourth month on strike — still determined to gain justice on the job and a first UE contract. Sixty-three workers, mostly immigrant, Spanish-speaking women, stopped work on Sept. 30 to protest the unfair labor practices of Azteca Foods. Sixty-three workers continue to walk the picket line in the fierce cold of a Chicago winter. The company’s illegal violation of workers’ rights — including threats, interrogation and acts of surveillance — provoked the strike ... (01/03)

UE Wins TDI Election
A majority of warehouse workers employed by Transport Drivers Incorporated (TDI) in Ontario, California voted to join UE, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in late December ... (01/03)

New Year Seems Brighter
For Local 684 at TEMCO

Christmas celebrations for UE Local 684 members at The Electric Materials Co. (TEMCO) had a special kind of joyousness this past holiday season. Union leaders unjustly fired or laid off were back on the job, the result of a decision by an administrative law judge issued Nov. 1. Sweetenen that sense of justice, on the Friday before Christmas, UE Intl. Rep. Deb Gornall distributed back-pay checks issued by the company to Ron Lane, Mike Doyle, and Crystal Pratt. All together, TEMCO has paid out some $200,000 to workers harmed by its anti-union actions ... (01/03)

Contract Reached
With Harowe’s New Owner

Workers employed by API-Harowe, members of amalgamated UE Local 155, have ratified a new three-year contract, the first since Danaher Corporation bought the company in early 2000. Corporate officials proposed adding a new "Standard Work" article to the contract, but the UE committee insisted it be an addendum ...

GEB Advances Labor Anti-War Message,
Addresses Per-Capita Changes

The UE General Executive Board, meeting in Pittsburgh at the union’s headquarters, endorsed the founding statement of the newly organized U.S. Labor Against the War coalition. The Board agreed to publicize union-backed anti-war activity throughout UE and further internal discussions about the issues behind the drive to war with Iraq. A good part of the meeting centered on changes in the union's per-capita structure, with an emphasis on equity and fairness ... (01/03)

Vermonters Protest Unionbusting
Waste of Health-Care Funds

When the workers at the Berlin Health and Rehabilitation Center in Berlin started organizing with UE management hired the most notorious unionbusters in the health-care industry, Connecticut-based law firm Jackson & Lewis. Although the new UE Local 254 succeeded in winning a union election and a 17-month struggle for a first contract, Jackson & Lewis went home with more than half a million dollars — money that mostly came from Medicare, Medicaid and other public sources. Recently, the unionbusters were back in Vermont trying to drum up more business by sponsoring a unionbusting seminar for health-care management on remaining "union free" ... (01/03)

Local 160 Members Bring Concerns
To Virginia General Assembly

Budget cuts that harm the public and the workers who provide state services are not the best or the only solution in the hands of the Virginia General Assembly and Gov. Warner. Instead, argues UE Local 160, the Virginia Public Service Workers Union, slashing spending is no solution at all. That’s the message a union delegation brought to the state capitol Jan. 14 ... (01/03)

UE Hosts Zenroren Leaders
Studying ‘Living Wage’

INTERNATIONAL: An inquiry into the "Living Wage" ordinances adopted by numerous municipalities in the 1990s brought a delegation from Zenroren, Japan’s National Confederation of Trade Unions, to the United States for a week in December. While in Pittsburgh and Washington, the high-ranking delegation met with UE officers, members, staff and union allies ... (01/03)

China’s Manufacturers Seek
Business — Where Are the Unions?

INTERNATIONAL: In the year since China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), the UE NEWS has received several unsolicited email messages from Chinese companies thinking they had reached a potential customer. Many of the products on offer are similar to those made by UE members ... (01/03)

Overcome Stress and Anxiety
— By Giving It to the Boss

Hit the bricks to protest corporate greed. Rally for peace. Take a hike for justice. For physical and mental health, it’s just what the doctor ordered. According to a study by psychologists at the University of Sussex, people who become involved in strikes, campaigns and political demonstrations experience an improvement in well-being. This, in turn, can help them overcome stress, pain, anxiety and depression ... (01/03)

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