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UE News Features

“We Can’t Give Up, We Can Turn the Corner”: A Women’s History Month Interview with Amy Newell

01 March, 2017

To mark Women’s History Month, the UE NEWS interviewed former UE General Secretary-Treasurer Amy Newell.

Her parents, Charles and Ruth Newell, were both UE staff members when she was a child. Her father was one of the first three organizers hired by UE in 1936 and her mother became a UE organizer during World War II.

Easter Rising 1916: Labor and the Irish Independence Struggle

16 March, 2016

An unexpected commotion disrupted routine in a busy city center on an April morning one hundred years ago.  Armed men commandeered the main post office in a major city in the world’s most powerful empire. One of their leaders interrupted the musings and conversations of those going about their business by reading out a proclamation declaring an Irish Republic.

The Easter Rising of 1916 was underway.

UE’s Early Commitment to Black Lives Matter: Fighting Frame-ups, Lynching and “Legal Lynching”

01 February, 2016

In December 1952, under a front page banner headline, the UE NEWS reported that Harold Ward had been freed. Who was Harold Ward? A previous issue of the UE NEWS carried a photo of Ward and noted that he was financial secretary of UE-FE (Farm Equipment) Local 108 at International Harvester in Chicago. In October, in the seventh week of a strike at the company, he was arrested and charged with the murder of a non-striker. But as Local 108 President Matt Halas explained: “The reason Ward was accused is clear.

The Incredible Shrinking Labor Press

01 April, 2015

One reason unions are so important is that they provide a voice to working people in a society that is dominated by profit-seeking corporations. Labor newspapers, other publications and communications organs are, at their best, an alternative news media for working people and their organizations. But in recent years, as unions have faced hardship and attacks, the number of union publications has fallen. Some would also argue that the quality and independence of the labor press has also declined in recent decades.

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.

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.

Local 243 Celebrates 75 Years of Rank-and-File Unionism at Sargent

07 November, 2014

Members of Local 243 gathered on Saturday evening, November 1 at a banquet hall to celebrate their local's 75th anniversary. You can see a photo album of that event on UE's Facebook page. The Spring 2014 issue of the UE NEWS included the following piece on Local 243's distinguished history.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Jim Crow - A Legacy of Injustice

14 February, 2014

Since the birth of UE Local 150, the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, in 1998, one of its central goals has been the repeal of North Carolina General Statute 95-98, which outlaws collective bargaining and union contracts for all state and local public employees. Local 150 delegates and leaders often tell other UE members that this law is a “Jim Crow law.” For Black History Month 2014, the UE NEWS asks, “What is Jim Crow?”

Mother Jones, Workers Resistance,and the Origins of Rank-and-File Unionism

08 March, 2013

March 8 is International Women's Day, launched a century ago by the international workers' movement. To mark the occasion, the UE NEWS asked labor historian Rosemary Feurer to write about the legendary labor organizer Mother Jones. Feurer teaches at Northern Illinois University and is the author of Radical Unionism in the Midwest, 1900-1950, (published 2006) an excellent history of UE District 8.

The Long Struggle for Voting Rights

20 August, 2012
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Since the founding of the United States, working people have had to fight to win, and to keep, the right to vote. And through American history, rich and powerful people, often calling themselves "conservatives", have tried to maintain their privileges by depriving other Americans of the right to vote.

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