UE's history of fighting for equality for women workers is featured in a question on this year's Advanced Placement (AP) United States History Exam from The College Board. High school students across the country who score well on the AP exam can earn college course credit before they start college.
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UE News Updates
Retired UE Field Organizer James "Jim" Ermi died Saturday at Virtua Memorial Hospital, Mount Holly, NJ, following a heart attack. Jim served as a UE organizer for 26 years in the Eastern Region and before that, District 1, organizing and assisting UE locals primarily in Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Ermi became involved with UE some 30 years ago as a worker at Stryker Machine Shop in Trenton, NJ, which he helped to organize into UE Local 155. After the union was established in the shop, Jim was elected chief steward.
March 21 is UE’s birthday, and this year we turn 80. It was on that date in 1936 that 43 delegates from 17 local unions gathered in Buffalo for a two-day convention, and by the time they left they had created a brand new national union, the United Electrical and Radio Workers of America.
An unexpected commotion disrupted routine in a busy city center on an April morning one hundred years ago. Armed men commandeered the main post office in a major city in the world’s most powerful empire. One of their leaders interrupted the musings and conversations of those going about their business by reading out a proclamation declaring an Irish Republic.
The Easter Rising of 1916 was underway.
By a 2 to 1 margin, with 106 members in attendance, Local 770 voted to ratify a four-year contract with Hendrickson Truck Suspension that breaks the two-tier wage system the company had imposed in the previous round of negotiations. While it will take 10 years for a new hire to reach top scale, the new agreement provides a pathway to the top for all employees. Ten workers were restored immediately to top wage; these members had been laid off in 2009 and later recalled at second-tier wages, which had cut their pay by $3.57 an hour.
On February 8, members of Local 243 voted 187 to 5 to ratify a new three-year contract that increases wages and the pension, and maintains the existing health insurance. Maintaining the medical benefits with no increase in costs to workers was one of the most important elements of the agreement, and members were extremely pleased about it. “We’re ecstatic our medical is unchanged,” 27-year employee Gina King told the New Haven Independent.
Seven years after their six-day sit down at Republic Windows and Doors, which received national and worldwide attention and support, that courageous action of UE Local 1110 has brought them another victory. They will receive two weeks’ back pay from their former employer Republic Windows and Doors.
On January 12, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 6 dismissed an unfair labor practice charge brought by an Israeli law firm against UE over the union’s support of protests against Israeli policies.
“I am certain that all men of goodwill are eternally grateful to that section of the labor movement which is working so courageously to end discrimination on the job for all people.” Martin Luther King Jr. letter to UE Director of Organization James J. Matles, November 25, 1957
In the last several weeks, concluding on December 2, some 250 Renzenberger drivers in 14 rail yards in Nevada; Galesburg, Illinois; Ohio and New Jersey voted to join with 950 drivers in California and Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana in a national union contract. The new national agreement raises wages, adds paid time off days, and provides protections against favoritism and unfair discipline, including a strong grievance procedure and the right to union representation.