On November 19, a dozen women leaders and members of UE participated in the “Advancing Women’s Leadership” workshop hosted by the UExtraordinary Women Caucus. Participants identified the qualities of good union leadership regardless of gender, such as being a good listener and involving other members in advancing union goals. After listing many obstacles that women sometimes face when they contemplate pursuing leadership positions, members discussed ways to overcome these challenges.
UE NEWS Updates
A new contract for Simsbury dispatchers, members of Local 222 Sublocal 41, will raise wages nearly eight percent over the course of three years, and adds a new holiday. The new contract, retroactive to July 2019, provides for wage increases of 2.25% in the first year and 2.35% in the second and third years. Improvements were made to holiday pay, and Veterans Day was added as a new holiday.
UE Local 155 members who work at the Stepan Company plant in Fieldsboro ratified a new three-year contract in mid-November that improves time off, clarifies job descriptions, and addresses a number of issues caused by short-staffing.
We are pleased announce the relaunch of the UE International website at www.ueinternational.org. The redesigned site highlights relationships with our many international union partners, and returns access to important tools like our bilingual dictionary of labor terms, available again in both English and Spanish.
Under an agreement in the national UE contract with Hallcon, any group of non-union drivers can organize and come under the contract by collecting cards from their co-workers. If they get a majority of drivers signed up, an independent mediator checks this to a list Hallcon provides, and the workers are then covered by the contract.
Over 70 delegates and guests gathered on November 14 and 15 over Zoom for UE Local 150’s 11th biennial convention. Local 150 President Bryce Carter noted that “This convention is certainly a unique one for us,” being held virtually and in the context of a pandemic. “Our country is in a crisis,” he said, “a moment of turmoil and despair. A moment where from one day to the next day there is uncertainty.”
In her President’s Report to the Western Region council meeting, held over Zoom on November 7, Western Region President Charlene Winchell declared that “The world has been thrown into chaos because of the lack of leadership from our president.” She noted Trump’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his encouragement of violence and “vilifying of organizations that stand up for people’s rights” such as Black Lives Matter and organizations fighting for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Since the state of West Virginia does not provide public-sector workers with collective bargaining rights, they have to win improvements, and defend their rights, through political action. As Local Vice President Samantha Crockett wrote in a letter to members following the convention, “Our rights as public-sector workers can be easily either taken away or reinforced by the action or inaction by our elected officials. As working people, we have the right to expect that our governmental bodies will respond to the needs of our members.”
In recertification elections held in October, UE Locals 893/IUP and 896/COGS won support from over seventy percent of their bargaining units. “This sends a strong message to Governor Reynolds and the Republican-led legislature that we won’t stand down while they attempt to take away our hard won rights and benefits,” said Local 893 President Becky Dawes. “We did it together and with grassroots organizing.”
In one of its largest arbitration awards, UE Local 506 won nearly $136,000 in back-pay and interest for one of its members who was terminated without just cause while he was employed by GE Transportation at its locomotive facility in Erie, PA.
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