Over 2,500 graduate workers at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University are making history as the first graduate worker unions to seek recognition in the state of New Mexico. They are also the first large bargaining units to unionize under New Mexico’s new “card check” union laws for public-sector workers, which provide for union recognition after a majority of workers have signed cards indicating their desire to join the union.
UE NEWS Updates
Meeting over Zoom on June 10 and 11, the UE General Executive Board reviewed a proposal for a program to encourage the development of rank and file members from racial and ethnic backgrounds who are currently underrepresented in UE leadership or on the UE staff. The program would help members to gain experiences and develop skills to attain higher leadership positions, and to seek employment on UE staff when openings become available.
A number of features of the current recovery — somewhat higher inflation and the perception of a “worker shortage” — are being used by employers and many Republican politicians as arguments to roll back unemployment compensation and block further stimulus.
From March 20 through June 9, the North American Solidarity Project (NASP) held the Worker Power Online Exchange series. Each event was a Zoom webinar featuring rank-and-file workers from UE and our NASP partner unions, as well as a few notable guest speakers.
UE Local 222, which represents a wide variety of school and municipal workers throughout the state of Connecticut, settled a number of contracts this spring.
Sublocal 80 has negotiated a new contract covering custodians, administrative assistants and food service workers who work for the Woodbridge Board of Education.
The theme of the 77th UE Convention, to be held from September 19-23 in Pittsburgh, will be “Leading Through Tough Times.” In a letter to UE locals accompanying the official convention call, UE Secretary-Treasurer Andrew Dinkelaker wrote that this theme “reflects the incredible challenges that UE members, leaders and staff have faced and prevailed over during these difficult times.”
The leadership of UE Local 267, which represents service and maintenance workers at the University of Vermont, had spent months preparing for their next round of negotiations — and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, leading to what Local 267 Vice President Charity Dugener called an “unprecedented bargaining experience.”
With the employer taking advantage of the uncertainty caused by the pandemic to demand concessions, the local pivoted to protecting, preserving and maintaining their contract.
After one of the most contentious contract negotiations in recent years, UE Local 642 members who work for Harborcreek Youth Services ratified a new three-year contract that boosts wages by 13 percent over the life of the contract, including a 7.5 percent average wage increase in the first year.
Throughout the negotiations, the members wore buttons that read “Living Wages & Safe Staffing” and stickers that read “Show Us The Money.”
On Monday, April 26, around thirty “apprentice teachers” at Kenyon College went on strike. The teachers, undergraduates who help teach classes in exchange for an hourly wage of just over $10, were joined the next day by more than 140 more members of the Kenyon Student Worker Organizing Committee (K-SWOC), a UE affiliate.
Following the inauguration of Joe Biden as president, UE’s international allies have been reaching out to us to gain a better understanding of how his election will impact working people in the U.S. and around the world. UE received many thanks for sharing our initial analysis in written form in February. We subsequently received invitations to present our perspective because of our reputation as a union that is independent from the Democratic Party and has a clear understanding of working-class needs.
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