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.
UE NEWS Features
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
July 4 is the birthday of the United States, the date when the Continental Congress adopted a Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, which turned an ongoing revolt against Britain's oppressive policies into an anti-colonial and anti-monarchical revolution.
Dave Roediger is a labor historian who, over the past 20 years and with other scholars, has plowed new ground in an area of social and historical inquiry that is sometimes called race studies or "whiteness" studies. Roediger's roots are in a small German-American working class community in Southern Illinois.
Robin D. G. Kelley, age 48, has over the past two decades become one of the most respected historians of African American life, politics and culture. At the center of all his work is a focus on labor, and on the ways people have struggled not only to survive, but to make a better world.
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