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UE News Updates

Local 1121 Members Preserve Health Plan, Win Raises in Aramark Negotiations

12 September, 2014

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.

Local 799 School Workers Win Wage Increases, Holds Down Insurance Costs

12 September, 2014

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.

Ed Bloch, Longtime UE Organizer, Dies at Age 90

27 August, 2014

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.

Local 893 Convention Faces Challenges In Upcoming State Election, Bargaining

18 August, 2014

Two enormous challenges face UE Local 893-Iowa United Professional this fall: state elections in which the future of public employee unions is on the line, and contract bargaining with heath insurance under attack. Delegates to the local’s annual statewide convention on July 26 devoted their attention to preparing for those coming battles.

Union Campaign Wins Big Raise At Rocky Mount Engine Plant

11 July, 2014

A year-long campaign of rank-and-file worker action, organized by UE members at the big Rocky Mount Engine Plant (RMEP) owned by Cummins Engine, has resulted in a big wage increase for all workers. Technicians (production and operations workers) will receive an 80 cent across-the-board hourly raise and skilled trades will get 75 cents, even though they don’t have a contract or a certified majority union.

Inequality Rising

11 July, 2014

The encampments are gone: young people no longer sleep in tents at Zuccotti Park near Wall Street or in the financial centers of other cities. But the impact of the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to be felt. Its participants performed a vital public service by making  Americans aware of how economic inequality has gotten worse in our country. The issue of inequality has now become a force in our politics and culture, and it’s fueling new forms of protest and fightback by members of the 99 percent, particularly the bottom 20 percent who work hard but are cruelly underpaid.

Rebellion From the Bottom Up: The Low-Wage Worker Movement

11 July, 2014

On June 4, Walmart workers in several U.S. cities staged protest strikes, demanding higher wages and “Respect Now!” This was the latest manifestation of a growing movement for change among people at the bottom end of economic inequality, low-wage workers in such industries as retail, restaurants and fast food, and logistics. Three weeks earlier, on May 15, fast food workers across the U.S. and around the world struck to demand a $15 hourly wage.

Big Gains in Wages and Benefits In Local 329 Kennedy Valve Contract

11 June, 2014

For the second consecutive contract, UE Local 329 members employed at Kennedy Valve have made substantial gains in wages, benefits and working conditions. On June 7 members overwhelmingly ratified a new four-year agreement which was the result of careful work by the local leadership and UE staff. Kennedy Valve, a foundry, is a leading producer of fire hydrants and water valves.

The agreement raises hourly wages by $1 immediately and 50 cents in each of the last three years of the contract. The first year wage increase alone is more than 5 per cent. 

Union Coalition Bargains Healthcare For Five Groups of Berlin Town Workers

11 June, 2014

A coalition of unions representing employees of the Town of Berlin has reached agreement with the town administration on healthcare covering all the workers. The coalition includes two units of UE Local 222, the statewide public employee union. These are Sub-local 52, the blue collar workers, and Sub-local 28, white collar workers.

This is the second coalition bargaining agreement on healthcare between the town and the alliance of five unions, which also includes the Home Health Care Workers-AFSCME, Berlin Police Union-AFSCME Local 1318, and Middle Management Association.