UE NEWS Updates

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Local 683 Contract Extension Puts Money in Members’ Pockets, Despite Layoffs

July 29, 2020

UE Local 683, whose members process and transport scrap metal, ratified a 1-year contract extension on Monday, July 20. Faced with bargaining during a pandemic and major economic recession, the union secured the continuation of employee healthcare premiums based on 2020 rates for the next 12 months, a hazard pay bonus for those who have worked since the COVID-19 outbreak, and a provision allowing accrued vacation payouts.

UE Launches Instagram Account with Fred Wright Celebration

June 24, 2020

UE launched a new Instagram account today with a celebration of UE cartoonist Fred Wright, who was born on this day in 1907. He worked for UE from 1949 until his death in 1984. The UE NEWS asked retired managing editor Peter Gilmore, who worked with Wright, to write a recollection of Wright for this occasion.

All Workers Must Stand Against Police Violence

June 23, 2020

The protests that have swept our country since the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police in May have put the issue of police violence front and center. The labor movement has a special responsibility to speak out on this issue. Too many of our members have experienced violence and harassment from the police due to nothing more than the color of their skin. All workers who struggle for a better life are threatened when the police are used to violently suppress protest. And just as our country is starved of needed social services due to a bloated military budget, state and local services are underfunded due to overspending on increasingly militarized police forces.

Kentucky Federal Contract Workers Vote Overwhelmingly for UE in Largest Union Election of COVID-19 Era

June 18, 2020

In what is so far the largest NLRB election victory of the COVID-19 era, almost 400 workers employed by federal contractors at the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) have voted overwhelmingly to join UE in a mail ballot election. When the ballots were counted on June 12, UE had won 84 percent of the vote.

Union Struggles in Pittsburgh’s Steel Valley in the Age of Deindustrialization

June 2, 2020

“Homestead” is one of those place names in U.S. labor history – like Haymarket and Flint – that carries a lot of meaning. The courageous 1892 struggle by the workers of the Homestead mill and their community, against robber baron Andrew Carnegie, his union-busting lieutenant Henry Clay Frick, and the Pennsylvania National Guard, ended in defeat for the workers and killed the idea that craft unions could succeed at collective bargaining in mass production industries. But in Mike Stout’s memoir of his life as a worker and union leader in the Homestead mill’s final decade, he makes clear that something of the rebellious spirit of 1892 survived. “For me,” he writes, “1892 and 1982 are part of a whole, two points on the same pole of resistance and spirit of solidarity that sprang up, thrived, and was eventually suffocated at the great Homestead steel mill.”  

First Contract at Wisconsin Co-op Scraps Attendance Policy, Boosts Starting Wages

May 27, 2020

Workers at the Willy Street Co-op, who voted to join UE by a wide margin in September, ratified their first UE contract in March. The new contract addresses all of the issues in their organizing program, including getting rid of a widely-hated attendance policy and making progress towards a living wage. The more than 300 workers work in three stores around Madison, as well as an off-site kitchen and a central office.

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