UE’s General Executive Board met from January 29-31 to review the union’s organizing, political action, international and education work since convention, as well as the union’s finances.
UE NEWS Updates
After seven months and more than 100 hours of negotiating, UE Local 255 ratified a new three-year contract in December. Management's initial economic proposals either included no wage increases for employees with five or more years seniority or required that employees give up a paid holiday in order to receive a seven-cent increase.
On the day before their contract expired on May 1, Local 269 and their employer, Erving Industries, were still “miles apart” on contract proposals. Management had come into negotiations with hundreds of proposals to change virtually everything in the contract. They demanded concessions on health insurance, cost-sharing, and retiree benefits, and proposed eliminating holidays, freezing wages, and cutting overtime, report and call-in pay.
Local 248’s new three-year contract for cafeteria workers and custodians at the Old Rochester Regional High School was a textbook case of an informed and involved membership successfully resisting management concessions. Over half of the members came to observe negotiations and would sit at the conference table and participate in the bargaining, demonstrating to management their support for the negotiating committee.
In November, UE Local 506 hosted a tri-national labor solidarity gathering at their hall in Erie, PA. The event, entitled “Overcoming Fear: Creating a Trinational Workers Toolkit,” was organized by UE’s Director of International Strategies Kari Thompson, the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, and the Canadian Steelworkers. Participants gathered from across Mexico, Canada, and the US, including UE allies from the FAT and the CSN. Members of the Local 506 Executive Board participated in the two-day event, as did Young Activist Sarah Vukelich, Local 150.
UE Local 222-Sublocal 25, New Britain 911 Dispatchers, settled their contract after almost 10 months of, at times, very contentious negotiations. The city proposed to essentially gut their contract but with the sublocal was able to stave off their more reprehensible demands.
Members of UE Local 770 ratified a new five-year agreement with Hendrickson International in January. The new contract reduces the years of service required to reach top pay from ten three years of service. Top pay will increase by an average (among classifications) of 10.3 percent over the life of the contract, while starting pay will increase by an average of 12.5 percent.
UE Local 1421 members who work at the Stepan Chemical Plant negotiated a new three-year contract in November which secured gains in wages, severance and language clarification while beating back concessions on benefits and health care costs.
The company came to the table demanding that the union give up its right to negotiate over health care changes, and cost increases of as much as 10 percent without a significant raise to offset the cost.
By bargaining together, UE Locals 208, 1008 and 1118 were able to put the best pieces of each contract on the table and leverage upwards, resulting in significant wage increases and improvements in benefits and language for federal service contract act workers.
Members of UE Local 1004 ratified a new three-year agreement with Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital on February 6. The new contract includes wage increases, improvements to differentials and bereavement leave, and significant improvements to the ability of union officers and stewards to carry out their duties so that the local can better represent its members and build the strength needed to win more gains in the future.
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