UE's Eastern Region held their regional council meeting in Monroeville, PA on Saturday, April 21st. Delegates gathered to hear shop reports, discuss organizing, labor solidarity and political action, plan for the union's future and elect officers for the coming year.
UE fully supports the March for Students, Rally for Respect being organized by teachers and other education workers in North Carolina on May 16th.
As UE delegates to our 75th Convention last August noted, “K-12 public education, one of the most fundamental cornerstones of a democratic society, is under direct attack .... [S]tate legislators are starving public education of adequate funding, driving down the quality of schooling and creating a false perception that public schools provide subpar education.”
High deductibles force many to delay treatment, endangering health
Workers at Cummins’ Rocky Mount Engine Plant in Whitakers, North Carolina, wore “Cummins Workers Want Fairness” stickers this week protesting the company’s high-deductible health plan, as the diesel engine manufacturer held its annual shareholders meeting in Indianapolis on Tuesday, May 8.
UE Local 1421 members who work at Graham Packaging made substantial gains in their recent contract negotiations, including one of the highest wage increases in recent memory. Graham workers had received about two percent across the board over the last few contracts, but this time the shop fought hard and won a three percent increase across the board for all bargaining unit members. “We had not seen a three percent raise in forever,” said Local 1421 Vice President and Chief Shop Steward Mikey Rivera. “The members were very happy with that.”
The magazine Labor Notes has been helping rank-and-file workers “put the movement back into the labor movement” since 1979. On April 6, 7 and 8, almost 50 UE members and staff joined over 3,000 people at the largest and most dynamic Labor Notes conference ever.
Over a hundred GE workers and retirees from the U.S. and Canada descended on GE's annual shareholder meeting on April 25th to demand that the company end mass layoffs and plant shutdowns, honor their commitments to retirees, respect workers' rights to organize and make restitution where the company has harmed the health of workers, community members or the environment.
In what was a record of only two days of negotiations, UE Local 642 and management at Harborcreek Youth Services (HYS) reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday, March 28. The three-year agreement was ratified overwhelmingly by the members on April 5 and approved by the HYS Board of Directors.
When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Memphis, Tenn., in support of striking sanitation workers 50 years ago, he was actually on his way to North Carolina. A few months after his assassination, in August 1968, sanitation workers in Charlotte, N.C., also went out on strike. This inspired many other sanitation worker strikes across the South in 1968, including in Atlanta, St. Petersburg, Fla., and Durham, N.C.
On March 12, UE Local 667 members overwhelmingly approved a new three-year agreement with the East End Food Co-op that will raise wages, lower members’ share of health insurance premiums, and protect the use of legally prescribed medical marijuana.
On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., UE Local 150 members who work at the Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant in Rocky Mount, NC held a service to commemorate Dr. King and renew their commitment to fight for economic justice for all people at Cummins.
The service was part of a Cummins Inc Workers Joint Day of Action for Affordable Health Care and End to Medical Discrimination, and the workers wore stickers pointing out that the high deductibles for Cummins’ healthcare plan remain so large “they make us sick.”