UE NEWS Features


Worker-Led Campaign Brings Thousands of MIT Graduate Workers into UE

May 7, 2022

In one of the largest NLRB election wins for any union in recent years, 3800 graduate workers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology voted on April 4 and 5 to join UE. The MIT Graduate Student Union/UE (MIT-GSU) prevailed by a margin of almost two to one. Following the decisive 1785-912 victory, the MIT administration indicated their intention to begin bargaining with the union in an email to all graduate students.

“Them and Us” Unionism in the Deep South

February 1, 2022

In the 1930s, as rank-and-file workers in the electrical manufacturing industry were establishing UE in workplaces like the giant General Electric plant in Erie, PA (Local 506) and Sargent Lock in New Haven, CT (Local 243), a union with a similar “Them and Us” philosophy of unionism was building militant, interracial unions in iron ore mines in an area known as “Red Mountain” near Birmingham, Alabama.

A Life in UE: Director of Organization Gene Elk Retiring After 44 Years

October 1, 2021

UE Director of Organization Gene Elk will be retiring at the end of his current term, on October 31. Elk first joined the UE staff in November of 1977, and served the union as a Field Organizer, International Representative, and Secretary of the GE Conference Board before his election as Director of Organization in 2015.

75 Years Ago, NC Tobacco Workers Challenged Jim Crow with “Civil Rights Unionism”

September 3, 2021

September 5 marks the 75th anniversary of a National Labor Relations Board election that took place at the China American Tobacco Company in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. It was the first NLRB victory in eastern North Carolina for the Food, Tobacco, Agricultural & Allied Workers of America (FTA-CIO), part of a campaign that would bring nearly 10,000 tobacco “leaf house” workers, most of them African-American women, into unions.

U.S. Government Policy the “Root Cause” of Migrant Caravans

June 23, 2021

Rafael Fuentes, 16, fled his native Honduras with his family to escape a local gang that was trying to recruit him. Honduras has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, with 37.6 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020. Fuentes and his family are among the thousands of refugees who have arrived at the U.S. border this spring. Most of them are from Central America, and are fleeing poverty and violence that is a legacy of U.S. foreign and military policy.

Working-Class Pride in the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union

June 18, 2021

Decades before the modern LGBTQ+ movement, a small but militant union of maritime workers on the West Coast with openly gay members and leaders coined a slogan linking discrimination against gay men, racial discrimination, and red-baiting. For the better part of two decades, the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union fought discrimination on the ships where its members worked and in society, until it was crushed by the same corporate and government forces that tried to destroy UE during the Cold War.

What Is a “Jobs Guarantee,” and Why Should Labor Fight for It?

May 18, 2021

“Imagine we have this Easter egg hunt for kids,” economist Fadhel Kaboub told participants in a recent webinar co-sponsored by UE. “Imagine we have 100 kids at the park where we’re organizing this party but we only have 90 eggs. We’re setting up those kids to fail.” Then he made it clear why he proposed such an absurd scenario:

“That’s what we do in the labor market.”

UE Fought for Child Care as “Infrastructure” as Far Back as WWII

May 9, 2021

In their attacks on President Biden’s much-needed proposals to invest in physical and human infrastructure, the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, many Republican politicians have derided applying the term “infrastructure” to programs that support working families. They dismiss child care, elder care and paid family leave as “liberal social programs” as opposed to the “real infrastructure” of buildings, roads, and bridges.

The experience of UE members during World War II, when millions of women took jobs in manufacturing, tells a different story.

“Wisconsin Uprising” Demonstrated Power of Mass, Peaceful Protest

March 3, 2021

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the “Wisconsin Uprising,” when public-sector workers and their allies peacefully occupied the state capitol building in Madison to protest Governor Scott Walker’s intent to strip them of their collective bargaining rights. The peaceful protests captured the imagination of working people across the state and country. Every UE local in Wisconsin sent members to Madison during the occupation of the state capitol, and UE locals around the country participated in solidarity actions.



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