Winning a first contract is hard enough in normal times, but for the almost 200 paraprofessionals of UE Local 119 it meant persevering through both an unprecedented pandemic and a nerve-wracking annual bidding process which their employer had to win in order for their contract to go into effect.
UE NEWS Updates
In their first full meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the UE General Executive Board met over Zoom on June 22 and 23 to review the union’s work, consider current issues facing the working class, and approve a budget for the coming fiscal year.
Branford paraprofessionals, members of Local 222 Sublocal 88, negotiated a new four-year agreement this spring which achieves a key goal they have been fighting for since they organized in 2011: a pay scale that provides automatic step increases. Each of their previous contracts made improvements but until this year they were unable to make the school committee agree to a pay scale and steps — something that all other school employees enjoyed.
“Workers at the USCIS Nebraska Service Center in Lincoln secured their second contract in June amidst unique and challenging circumstances due to an employer change and the advent of COVID-19. [...]
“We are so much more than a source of cheap labor for these contractors – we needed big gains just to get back on track to where we deserve to be. I’m proud to say that we achieved that. As a result, no one will be earning less than the entry-level $15/hour at the NSC as of February 1, 2021, up from the current entry-level of $13.65 – winning the fight for $15 in the COVID-19 era.”
The week before classes started at the University of Iowa, UE Local 896-COGS presented a list of demands to UI President Bruce Harreld, to provide a safe working environment for the 2,000 graduate teaching and research assistants represented by the local. At the top of the list was a demand for all classes to be taught online — a demand also being made by the student government and a variety of student groups. The university administration ignored the demands of both graduate workers and students and went ahead with a mixture of online and in-person classes, and by the end of August the New York Times was reporting that Iowa City had the second highest per-capita rate of COVID-19 cases in the entire country.
UE is pleased to announce that Labor’s Untold Story, the adventure story of the battles, betrayals and victories of American working men and women, is now back in print (its 29th printing), and can be purchased from UE’s online store.
The reviews are in! Three weeks ago UE released “Them and Us Unionism,” a new publication which outlines in detail UE’s philosophy of unionism, developed over more than eight decades of struggle. Read what some of our closest allies, in the U.S. and around the world, are saying and writing about it.
UE is proud to announce the publication of a new booklet, “Them and Us Unionism”, which outlines our philosophy of unionism. We believe that it is time for the broader labor movement to return to the sort of class-struggle unionism that established the CIO and which UE has continued for over eight decades.
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.
Members of UE Local 208 in St. Albans, VT joined US Congressman Peter Welch on Wednesday in demanding that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reverse their plan to furlough workers — 1,100 in Vermont and over 13,000 nationwide — on August 3.
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