UE NEWS Updates

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UE Locals 625 and 626 Draw a Line in the Sand

January 7, 2020

After running a militant contract campaign which included a one-day strike of their employer, ABB, UE Locals 625 and 626 ratified a three-year agreement on December 21. The vote was held in a crowded room of union members at the American Legion in Mt. Pleasant, PA. The workers, who build high-quality circuit breakers and high-voltage equipment at locations in Greensburg and Mt. Pleasant, PA, had been working without a contract for seven weeks.

“Shenanigans” Get Results in Contentious Local 1107 Negotiations

December 18, 2019

Despite the company’s lawyer’s assertion early in negotiations that UE members’ “shenanigans” would have no effect on the outcome of negotiations, it was only at the last moment, with members taking action and the expiration looming, that the company began making wage proposals that members could begin to consider as fair. 

Local 1161 Wins Fair Contract Despite Loss of Business, Insurance Company Greed

December 18, 2019

Only a couple of months prior to negotiations with the 70 members of UE Local 1161, the manufacturing company Spartek, Inc. lost their second-largest customer. The health insurance industry’s greed compounded the situation, with premiums for the company set to increase by more than 15 percent.

Nonetheless, Local 1161 members demanded a fair contract and wore UE Local 506-inspired t-shirts reading, “The company whispers you can’t handle the storm” and “UE replied, WE ARE THE STORM.” 

Northeast Region Hails Women’s Leadership, Reviews Tough Bargaining

December 6, 2019

Welcoming UE local leaders to the Northeast Region council meeting on November 1, Region President Autumn Martinez noted the abundance of strong women leaders in the room. UE locals from across New England reported on contract negotiations and workplace struggles and discussed building cross-local solidarity and the challenges of climate change.

UE Condemns Coup in Bolivia

November 14, 2019

UE unequivocally condemns the removal of Bolivia’s elected president Evo Morales by the military on Sunday, and the violence carried out by the military and right-wing paramilitary forces against Indigenous people and political activists in that country. This coup is just the latest example of an attack on a progressive Latin American government by “big business forces supported by U.S. administrations”, as denounced by UE policy, attacks which have as their goal the fattening of corporate profits at the expense of the region’s workers and environment.

Former District One President Bob Brown Dies

November 14, 2019

Former UE District One President Bob Brown has passed away.

Brown was featured in the first edition of The Troublemaker's Handbook, in a section on sit-down strikes. In January of 1990 he helped lead a group of UE Local 174 members in occupying the SMS Automotive Products plant in greater Philadelphia. SMS had abruptly closed the previous October and owed some 75 workers accrued vacation pay and insurance premiums. After six days of negotiations, the workers won a $40,000 settlement that met all of their demands.

Local 625 Members Speak Out About ABB’s Substandard Healthcare

November 7, 2019

UE Local 625 member Sharon Johnston calls her company’s healthcare plan “The Don’t Get Sick Plan,” because of the high out-of-pocket expenses. “I’d like to go to the dermatologist because my father had cancer,” says Johnston, but “that’s a six-hundred dollar bill there. I can’t afford that, that’s my paycheck.”

North American Solidarity Project Unions Meet to Advance Work on Climate, Other Campaigns

November 6, 2019

UE’s national officers, the presidents of the Eastern and Western regions, and several senior staff met in Chicago the weekend of November 1-3 with leaders from other unions participating in the North American Solidarity Project: UE’s Canadian partner Unifor, National Nurses United, and the Inland Boatmens’ Union/ILWU. The group reviewed the project’s work and made plans for next steps in five core areas: Workers’ Rights and Workers’ Power, Equity and Anti-Racism, Medicare for All, Climate Change and Just Transition, and Trade and Migration.

New Local 203 Contract Raises Wages and Improves Grievance Procedure

October 25, 2019

After three months and a marathon, almost 19-hour final bargaining session, Local 203 reached a new three-year contract with City Market in the early hours of October 1. The contract will increase the starting rate for the lowest-paid job classifications from $11 to $13, with a new wage scale that significantly increases wages for the lowest-paid workers.

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