Retired UE International Representative Ed Bloch died in his sleep on Sunday, August 24 at his home near Albany. He was 90 years old. Bloch joined UE in 1950 when he got a job in a UE shop, and was hired onto the UE staff in 1951 in New York City. He spent most of his long career with UE in Upstate New York, assisting UE locals and organizing the unorganized. He retired in October 1984 but continued to assist UE locals, especially Local 332 at GE in Fort Edward.
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After a four year struggle for a real union and four months of negotiations, including 13 days at the bargaining table, Renzenberger drivers in California have ratified their first UE contract by a margin of more than 96 percent. In a major breakthrough, the union won the company’s agreement that drivers in California and the Chicago area – two of the company’s biggest markets – will be under the same contract, which will expire August 23, 2018.
The UE General Executive Board, in its triannual meeting September 18-19 in Pittsburgh, adopted the following statement on the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri.
Ferguson Affects Us All
UE activists are joining members of labor, civil rights, religious and community groups around the country in expressing outrage over what transpired in Missouri. Members of Local 150, UE's statewide organization in North Carolina, have participated in prayer vigils, protests and public discussions. UE members have been active in other states as well.
On Thursday, September 18 the bargaining committee of new UE Local 1077 reached a tentative agreement for a labor agreement covering 600 Renzenberger rail crew drivers at more than 30 rail yards around California. In meetings in 24 locations around the state over 10 days, finishinig on October 3, members voted over 96 percent to ratify the contract. We will have details of the new contract here soon.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually in the United States from September 15 to October 15 to recognize the contributions of people of Hispanic or Latino heritage to our country. With this issue of the UE NEWS, we’re launching an annual feature that will highlight what Latino members have done to built the labor movement, and our union and helped win important victories.
Rocío Peréz was a member, activist and steward in Local 1110 at Republic Windows & Doors in Chicago and a leader in the plant occupation in December 2010. She is still a Local 1110 member and one of the worker/owners of New Era Windows. She was interviewed by UE International Rep. Leah Fried for Hispanic Heritage Month.
Lauro Bonilla was born in a small town near Guadalajara in the Mexican state of Jalisco, one of 11 children. His father, a small farmer, encouraged Lauro to look for work in the U.S. because it was becoming very hard to support a large family.
Local 1121 has negotiated and ratified a new three-year agreement with Aramark Industrial Laundry. The old contract expired at the end of April, but bargaining on a new agreement was not completed until July 11, and four days later the members ratified the new contract by 2 to 1.
The major issue was health insurance, where the company wanted to replace the existing 80/20 plan with a 70/30 plan, which would also impose higher employee contributions and a 25 percent co-pay on prescriptions. It also would have increased the out-of-pocket maximum from $4,000 to $8,000.
UE Local 799 members, who work for the Delaware City Schools, approved a new two-year contract on August 7. The new agreement improves wages by 2.25 percent in the first year and 2 percent in the second year, and includes a 25 cent “bump” to increase the hourly wage rates of workers in several classifications, including cooks, cashiers, custodians, assistant head cook, assistant head cashiers and assistant head custodians. The bump raises the rates for steps 1 through 10 of the wage schedule, the lowest-paid workers in the unit.
Retired UE International Representative Ed Bloch died in his sleep on Sunday, August 24 at his home near Albany. He was 90 years old. Bloch was first hired by UE in 1951 in the national office in New York City, but spent most of his long career with UE in upstate New York, assisting UE locals and organizing the unorganized. He retired in October 1984 but continued to work with UE locals, especially Local 332 at GE in Fort Edward.