Beginning in February of this year, hundreds of workers in the West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH) have joined a mass grievance protesting the agency’s continued refusal to comply with a legislative mandate to raise pay for all of those tasked with the maintenance and safety of the state’s roadways. At this writing, nearly three hundred workers have signed onto the grievance, which is now pending at the second level of the public employees’ grievance procedure.
UE NEWS Updates
After twice rejecting concessionary offers from their employer, American Iron & Steel, and working without a contract for more than four months, the members of UE Local 1139 settled a new three-year contract in December that increases wages and protects insurance costs and jobs.
UE’s 76th Convention will be held at the Wyndham Grand Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh from August 25-29, with the theme “UE: The Union for Everyone!” The official convention call was mailed to all UE locals in mid-April, and a follow-up mailing will be sent in May.
UE members marked International Workers’ Day in their communities and workplaces on May 1, joining marches, rallies and forums and wearing union t-shirts in the shop in Chicago, Los Angeles, Madison, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Vermont. Two UE members were also interviewed for an In These Times magazine article, “Why May Day Continues to Capture the Hearts and Imaginations of Workers.”
After reviewing and discussing a tentative agreement in a packed house at the Harrison City Fire Hall, UE Local 610 members approved a new three-year agreement with their employer, Wabtec on May 1. The local won key gains with an aggressive contract campaign, supported by the rank and file, other UE locals, and allies.
UE Local 1187’s new three-year contract with Load King will provide double-digit wage increases throughout the shop, with some senior workers seeing wage increases of more than $4.50 per hour. The contract also adds an additional holiday, preserves affordable health insurance, and carefully limits management’s ability to mandate overtime on Saturdays.
Members of UE Local 610, who work at Wabtec’s Wilmerding and Greensburg facilities, rallied on Saturday, April 27 against Wabtec’s demands for concessions. Local 610’s contract expires on May 1, and UE members voted on April 24 to authorize their executive board to call a strike if necessary.
UE Local 150’s Municipal Council has been busy organizing and mobilizing city workers in all four of North Carolina’s largest cities.
UE’s Eastern Region held its spring council meeting on Saturday, April 13. The hottest topic of discussion was the successful nine-day strike by Locals 506 and 618 against Wabtec in Erie this winter.
“I am so proud of my brothers and sisters for standing up for what is right,” said Eastern Region President Donna Morgan, introducing the members of the Erie locals who reported on the strike.
After a nearly two-year battle with the Department of Labor, on April 2, 2019, former workers at Locke Insulator have won the right to Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits.
In July 2017, the company announced its plans to close the company and lay off the 108 member of UE Local 120 who worked in the plant. The news took the local leadership by surprise because the year before, UE and the company had negotiated a three-year agreement set to expire in September 2019.
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