In September I was part of a delegation of Connecticut union leaders to Palestine, at the invitation of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU). Our group included State AFL-CIO President Emeritus John Olsen; State Building Trades President David Roche; Bill Shortell, political director for the International Association of Machinists Eastern States Conference; John Fussell, union attorney and former 1199 vice president; Steelworkers Union activist Anne Marie Miller; and others from the Tree of Life Educational Foundation.
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UE Political Action Updates
On September 24 UE received something very unusual: a huge “thank you” note, signed by 41 organizations and more than 3,000 people in 54 countries (most in the U.S.), in response to a resolution passed by our convention. The “thank you” expresses appreciation for the position taken by the recent UE Convention in the resolution “Justice and Peace for the Peoples of Palestine And Israel.”
On Tuesday, September 1, UE issued the following press release:
At its national convention in Baltimore August 16-20, the United Electrical Workers union (UE) adopted a resolution endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) to pressure Israel to end the occupation and grant Palestinians their freedom. UE is now the first national U.S. union to endorse BDS. The full resolution is below.
Meeting in Pittsburgh on May 28-29, the UE General Executive Board adopted a statement that endorses the fight of Local 893 against the efforts of Iowa Governor Terry Branstatd to privatize Medicaid. The GEB's statement appears below.
At its meeting May 28-29 in Pittsburgh, UE's General Executive Board adopted the following statement on the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders.
UE OFFICERS' STATEMENT ON VENZUELA
On March 9 President Obama issued an executive order that declared “a national emergency” because, it said, Venezuela is an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” The executive order imposed sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials whom the White House accuses of “undermin(ing) democratic processes or institutions,” “violence or abuse of human rights,” undermining freedom of expression, and/or “public corruption.”
UE Local 222 is involved in a major legal fight by unions in Connecticut against efforts by employers to make workers pay the 40 percent health insurance excise tax. UE got into this fight when the Town of Monroe proposed in contract negotiations that the members of Sub-local 44, workers in the Department of Public Works, start paying the tax in 2014 or see big cuts in their healthcare coverage
Election Day 2014 is very soon -- November 4. A lot is at stake in this election for union members and working people. If pro-corporate anti-union extremists win a few more seats in the U.S. Senate, they'll have control of both houses of Congress, and they can do tremendous harm to workers' rights. They are also committed to wrecking Social Security, Medicare, and many other programs that workers have paid for and depend on.
Delegates to UE’s 73rd National Convention in August 2013 reaffirmed UE’s longstanding concern about the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and reiterated our union’s view that the U.S. government policy in this conflict has made matters worse. On the basis of our union’s principles and policies, we urgently call for an end to the bloodbath that is now occurring in Gaza.
In the resolution “For Peace, Jobs and a Pro-Worker Foreign Policy,” last year’s UE convention said in part:
The federal minimum wage, a minimal protection against exploitation that’s meant to keep working Americans out of extreme poverty, has not been increased since July 2009. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation over the past 40 years, it would now be $10.86 rather than $7.25. The minimum wage for tipped workers is only $2.13 and hasn’t been increased in 23 years.