UE Policy is set by UE national conventions, which discuss, debate and adopt policy resolutions submitted by UE locals, regions and the General Executive Board.
Resolutions sent to the convention for consideration need not be complicated or written in imposing language. As in everything else, since “the members run this union,” the membership should feel free to help set the policies of the union through action taken by their own locals — and in their own words.
Each resolution consists of two parts — the body and the “resolves.” The body of the resolution explains why the issue is important, and the resolves are the action(s) that UE members wish to see taken on the issue.
The Body: Making Your Case
While other unions often use “whereas” to introduce each paragraph of the body, in UE we use simple paragraphs for the body. The body should make the case why this issue is important to UE members, and to working people in general. Elements that contribute to a persuasive body include:
- A general statement of the problem or issue (“Privatization destroys unions which drives down wages, benefits and working conditions”).
- Experiences of UE locals (“The members of UE Local 222, Sub-local 80 in the Woodbridge public school district won an important battle in 2011, overturning the actions of the local board of education in privatizing work previously done by four custodians represented by the union”). If your local or your members have direct experience with an issue, write about that experience! (though make sure you have permission before using any particular member’s name — UE policies go up on the UE website!)
- Research or statistics, preferably from a reputable source (“According to a February, 2019 study by the Economic Policy Institute, raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would lift pay for nearly 40 million workers”).
- Recent events (“Wide public support for the wave of teacher strikes over the last two years demonstrates that Americans value the public sector, and will support unions that act in militant ways to defend it”).
The Resolves: Taking Action!
The resolves section should begin with “Therefore, be it resolved that this 78th UE Convention,” followed by a numbered list of actions that the convention wishes take on the issue, with lettered sub-points as appropriate. Generally, the actions take one of two forms:
- Taking a position (“Opposes the privatization and contracting-out of public services and facilities” or “Supports state legislative moratoriums on contracting out public-sector work”).
- Calling on the union to do something (“Calls on the union at all levels to educate our members and our communities about the expanding use of inmate labor to replace public sector workers”), or demanding that the government do something (“Demands that Congress declare a moratorium on all new federal privatization”). In some cases the convention will “direct” the national union to do something, but the convention cannot “direct” locals and regions.
Updating Existing Resolutions
If you are updating an existing resolution, you can copy the text from your local’s UE Policy book, or visit ueunion.org/ue-policy. Here are some ideas for how to best update a resolution:
- Read through the existing body, and remove or update anything that is no longer timely or accurate — a lot can change in two years!
- Add an example or two from your own local to the body, or reach out to other locals who might have experience with the same issue.
- Add or delete resolves based on your knowledge of bills or actions that are pending.
How to Submit Your Resolution
Resolutions must be sent to the General Secretary Treasurer so that they arrive no less than one month prior to the convention in order to be considered by the convention. The preferred format is to email a Word document to email@example.com; however, resolutions can also be mailed to:
UE Attn: General Secretary-Treasurer
4 Smithfield Street, 9th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2226