1700 members of UE Locals 506 and 618 went on strike today to preserve decent wages and working conditions at the GE Transportation locomotive plant. Their new employer, Wabtec, took over the business on Monday and imposed "terms and conditions" that include mandatory overtime and arbitrary schedules, wage reductions of up to 38 percent for recalled and newly-hired workers, and the right to use temporary workers for up to 20 percent of the work in the plant.
UE NEWS Updates
Member involvement and militance paid off for UE Local 1135 in their new contract with Tulip Corporation, which includes the best wage package they have ever won.
As their contract was set to expire on November 30th, after a 19-day extension, Local 1135 members joined their negotiating committee for the opening of negotiations, carrying signs and wearing t-shirts. A strong turnout showed the company that there was solid support for the union’s negotiating position in the shop.
When the town of Greenfield entered negotiations with UE Local 274, which represents the town clerical and library workers, their agenda was clear: more rights for bosses, fewer rights for workers. Management wanted to expand the management’s rights clause while removing all non-discrimination language from the contract, leaving any issue of discrimination up to state law.
UE members in New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Nevada and California ratified a new four-year national agreement with Hallcon which will provide wage increases of up to 20 percent over the term of the contract. “Wage increases were based on location and we fought to get big raises for everyone,” said Laura Johnson, President of UE Local 1077. “In the end, we made steps forward for drivers,” she added. “We will have drivers at $16 and $17 per hour at the end of this contract. This is the right direction.”
UE Local 106 ratified a new three-year contract with Buckeye Pipeline on January 11, 2019 which raises wages by 2.5 percent per year. In addition to the wage increase, all employees will receive a bonus in the first year of 0.50 percent of the previous year’s annual wages and a bonus in the third year of 0.25 percent of the previous year’s annual wages. The company also agreed to add contract language for jury duty and bereavement leave, and to increase the meal allowance provided when workers work two or more hours beyond their normal shift to $10.
UE’s General Executive Board met in Pittsburgh from January 23-25. The GEB consists of twelve elected rank-and-file delegates from the union’s three geographic regions, and is the highest decision-making body of the union in between conventions. The union’s three national trustees — also rank-and-file UE leaders — also attend GEB meetings, after completing their audit of the union’s finances.
When an arrogant management demanded attendance-policy changes that would make it easy to fire half of their co-workers, the UE Local 155 negotiating committee at Generation Lighting held firm. Their new three-year contract, ratified in November, instead removes some of the most onerous aspects of the previous attendance policy, and resets all employees’ attendance-policy “points” to zero.
UE Local 155 members who work for the Passaic Public Library have approved a new contract, retroactive to July of 2018, that raises wages by three percent each year of the three-year deal.
At a mid-December meeting of unions from around North America held in Los Angeles, representatives of independent Mexican unions shared their expectations for working people under the government of the newly elected Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopes Obrador (known as AMLO). This public event drew many Mexican-American members of the LA community.
UE International Representative and GE Conference Board Secretary John Thompson joined more than 700 delegates from across Italy at the 27th Congress of the Italian Federation of Metal Workers (FIOM), held from December 12–15. Delegates from FIOM attended UE’s 2015 and 2017 conventions, and UE’s relationship with FIOM was instrumental in setting up the global GE Trade Union Network.
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