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.
UE NEWS Updates
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.
UE Local 506 was instrumental in the development of a new initiative, launched this week, to bring jobs to Erie, PA. The Choose Erie website features Local 506 prominently. In contrast to many "economic development" programs which seek to attract companies by promising low wages, union-free environments, or lax regulation, Choose Erie highlights the skilled workforce and the quality of life in this working-class city, with affordable housing, opportunities for outdoor recreation, and a proud manufacturing history.
UE General President Peter Knowlton traveled to Windsor today to express UE’s solidarity with thousands of GM workers facing layoffs.
“When any group of workers is ready to fight to keep their jobs and preserve strong communities, they deserve UE support and solidarity,” says Knowlton. “UE has a long tradition of fighting plant closings and doing whatever is necessary to keep our members’ jobs.”
In Can the Working Class Change the World? economist and labor educator Michael Yates makes the case that the working class — and only the working class — can indeed overcome economic inequality, eliminate racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination, and meet the challenge of environmental degradation and climate change. Historian Erik Loomis’s A History of America in Ten Strikes is an original and engaging way to re-learn U.S. history through the lens of working-class struggle.
More than three dozen UE leaders and staff traveled to Port Elgin, Ontario on November 9-11 to discuss key challenges and issues facing the labor movement with trade unionists from across North America, along with allies from Europe and Australia. The North American Solidarity Project Conference brought together 140 delegates from six unions in four countries.
“I do not have to tell you we are in horrifying and shocking times,” said Northeast Region President Elizabeth Jesdale as she welcomed delegates to the regional council meeting on November 2. “Our rights and the rights of our sisters, brothers and comrades are being stomped on and diminished daily… It is up to us to gain the education and skills to not only fight for ourselves, but for us to reach out and pull up the unorganized so they may break their chains.”
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