On Friday, July 26, UE Local 1009 ratified their first contract with their new employer ABB (ASEA Brown Boveri), a Swiss-Swedish multinational corporation headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. This was the local's third set of negotiations during the past year after their previous employer GE sold its Industrial Solutions business to ABB in June of 2018. Local 1009 members repair transformers for the electrical industry and large industrial facilities.
UE NEWS Updates
The new contract between UE Local 203 and the Flynn Center will increase wages significantly over four years, addressing a severe problem with retaining employees. Wages for new hires will increase by about 14 percent, and current workers’ wages will increase between 22 and 23 percent.
On July 5 and 6 the Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT), an independent, democratic Mexican union and one of UE’s closest international allies, hosted a forum in Mexico City entitled “Federal Labor Law Reforms: Perspectives and Challenges” to discuss the labor law reforms enacted on May 1, 2019. Manuel García Urrutia, a former leader of the FAT who now holds a prominent position within the Secretariat of Labor, commented that “many of our dreams have been captured in this law.”
Working-Class Heroes: A History of Struggle in Song, by Mat Callahan and Yvonne Moore is a collection of pre-WWII labor songs. The lively, contemporary arrangements are a reminder that these songs were written to bring the union message to other workers in the popular styles of the day. They were part of the organizing process — many of the songwriters featured on this album, like textile worker Ella May Wiggins and tenant farmer John Handcox, were active leaders in their union, and numerous choruses simply urge the listener to join the union or a picket line.
For 650 drivers at Hallcon Corporation, the vote for a new union at the end of August 2018 was a great relief. Drivers in eight states had been put into a fake company-dominated union called NPWU Local 707. Drivers stood up to their do-nothing union as well as their boss and won UE as their new union in an NLRB election. NPWU wasted drivers’ time through the end of the year, and held up certification of UE, by filing fake charges that the National Labor Relations Board would end up dismissing entirely.
After 128 days of tough contract negotiations, including a nine-day strike, 1,700 members of UE Locals 506 and 618 voted to ratify a four-year contract with their new employer Wabtec on June 12. UE members were able to preserve most of the gains that they had won over 82 years of contract negotiations with their former employer General Electric. But it was one hell of a fight.
Workers at the Lanterman Regional Center in Los Angeles ratified their first UE contract on June 6. The tentative agreement was reached on May 29, just over fourteen months after workers voted to join UE and form Local 1018.
In May, UE Local 150 President Bryce Carter traveled to Japan to participate in an international conference addressing the privatization of public work entitled “International Symposium on Public-Sector Workers’ Struggles against the Destruction of Public Services under Neo-Liberalism.” Carter was hosted by Jichiroren, the Japanese public sector workers’ union affiliated with UE ally Zenroren.
The conference was held in Tokyo on May 19. Other participants included representatives from Unite the Union in the United Kingdom and the Korean Federation of Public Services and Transportation Workers’ Unions, in addition to many Japanese public sector workers.
From June 9-14, over 40 UE and Unifor members gathered in rural eastern North Carolina for an organizing blitz, reaching out to non-union workers in 10 different workplaces to talk to them about joining the union.
On Thursday, UE Locals 506 and 618 signed a tentative agreement for a four-year contract with Wabtec, to cover 1700 workers at the former GE Transportation facility.
The agreements maintains current wage rates for existing Wabtec employees, and provides for a ten-year progression to full wage rates for all newly hired employees. The company has made a contractual commitment to create new work equivalent to 100 full-time employees by the end of the contract.
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