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UE News Updates

Local 279 Members Ratify Settlement at Weir After Long Fight Including Three-Week Strike

24 April, 2015

After a years-long struggle culminating in a militant three-week strike from November 20 to December 16, the members of UE Local 279 at Weir Valves and Controls, have reached a settlement with their employer which includes the resolution of many outstanding disputes and the ratification of a new contract. Members ratified the settlement on March 6.  The new three-year contract provides wage increases of 1.5 percent, 2 percent and 2.5 percent and stops the company’s attempt to roll back several contractual protections.

Local 896/COGS Wins Milestone Agreement On Reimbursing Fees for Graduate Employees

22 April, 2015

At the end of a tough seven-month battle, fought with creative tactics and enthusiastic membership involvement, UE Local 896 won a new two-year contract with the University of Iowa that achieves partial reimbursement of student fees and extends 100 percent tuition scholarship to graduate employees in the College of Education. The contract also provides wage increases of 1 percent the first year, 3 percent the second year; blocks concessions sought by the administration; and lowers health premiums for single parents.

Women's History: How Young Women Shook Up GE in the '70s

27 February, 2015

In the 1970s, salaried women workers at Erie GE fought important battles for workplace equality, including two strikes in 1974 and ’75 in which they demanded equal pay for equal work. The participants in these struggles were predominantly young women, and they were influenced by the ideas of the feminist movement as well as by UE’s long-established principles of equality and rank-and-file unionism.

School Custodians, Maintenance, Groundskeepers Win Largest Wage Increase in Many Years

24 February, 2015

Before contract negotiations began, the members of Local 222, Sub-local 9, the New Fairfield Board of Education custodians, maintenance and groundskeepers, told their bargaining committee they needed significant wage gains. Their hourly wage rates were several dollars below those of comparable Connecticut school districts. Thanks to a strong committee and a unified membership, they were able to achieve that goal and settled a new four-year contract that runs through June 2018 and delivers the largest wage increases seen by this unit in many years.

Saying "Our Lives Matter", Tulip Workers Fight and Win

20 February, 2015

UE Local 1135 ratified a new four year contract with the Tulip Corporation on December 22 after a contract campaign that included membership mobilization and a vote to strike.  The battle became heated over raises and health insurance as well as fair treatment in the workplace.  The auto parts company committed several unfair labor practices (ULPs) during bargaining, including unilaterally changing the health insurance.  

Local 896-COGS Stop Concessions, Ratify Contract with Important Gains

20 February, 2015

UE Local 896-COGS (Committee to Organize Graduate Students), the union of graduate teaching assistants and research assistants at the University of Iowa, ratified a new two-year contract this week. They blocked the university's efforts to take back much of what they'd gained in past contracts, and instead made important gains in many areas, thanks to membership involvement.

Black History Month: Ernest Thompson, UE Pioneer in Fighting Racism

13 February, 2015

During his years as a local union officer and as a UE organizer, union members nicknamed Ernest Thompson “The Train” because of his ability “to deliver” in negotiations. In 1943 Thompson came out of his shop, American Radiator in New Jersey, to become the first African American organizer on the UE staff. In March of 1947 he took a leave from the national staff to become business agent for UE Local 427, and he was elected vice president and later executive secretary of the Hudson County CIO Industrial Union Council.

Local 279 Members Return to Work at Weir Valves

16 December, 2014

After more than three weeks on strike, the members of UE Local 279 at Weir Valves and Controls returned to work today, Tuesday December 16, under the terms of the most recent “last, best and final offer” from the company, and a return to work agreement that was negotiated by the union and company on Monday. The members voted unanimously on Friday, December 12 to return to work under these terms, but at this point no contract is in place yet.

Building 12, Erie GE: Young Worker Militancy in the 1970s

15 December, 2014

At a November 1968 class for stewards and local officers in Latrobe, PA, James Matles, one of UE’s founding officers and then secretary-treasurer, talked about how the youth rebellion of the 1960s was beginning to affect industry and unions. “The young people in the shops are involved in a revolt of their own, which is growing day by day… The young worker doesn’t give a damn for the company’s shop rules and he drives the foremen crazy.