UE Local 625 member Sharon Johnston calls her company’s healthcare plan “The Don’t Get Sick Plan,” because of the high out-of-pocket expenses. “I’d like to go to the dermatologist because my father had cancer,” says Johnston, but “that’s a six-hundred dollar bill there. I can’t afford that, that’s my paycheck.”
UE NEWS Updates
UE’s national officers, the presidents of the Eastern and Western regions, and several senior staff met in Chicago the weekend of November 1-3 with leaders from other unions participating in the North American Solidarity Project: UE’s Canadian partner Unifor, National Nurses United, and the Inland Boatmens’ Union/ILWU. The group reviewed the project’s work and made plans for next steps in five core areas: Workers’ Rights and Workers’ Power, Equity and Anti-Racism, Medicare for All, Climate Change and Just Transition, and Trade and Migration.
After three months and a marathon, almost 19-hour final bargaining session, Local 203 reached a new three-year contract with City Market in the early hours of October 1. The contract will increase the starting rate for the lowest-paid job classifications from $11 to $13, with a new wage scale that significantly increases wages for the lowest-paid workers.
On Monday morning, August 26, UE convention delegates voted unanimously to endorse Bernie Sanders for President.
“We live in dangerous times,” declared UE Director of Organization Gene Elk as he introduced the organizing report to the Convention on Monday afternoon. “The National Labor Relations Board, which was originally established to help organize unions, has been turned over to the union-busters that seek to destroy us” and “income inequality is skyrocketing, as stock prices continue at record levels and good-paying jobs disappear.”
Delegates to UE’s 76th Convention reaffirmed the union's longstanding commitment to Medicare for All, unanimously endorsing a resolution on Tuesday morning declaring that “the U.S. employer-based private health insurance system is a disaster” and demanding that Congress pass H.R. 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019.
The commitment to international solidarity that is a core UE value was on display at the convention, as guests from Canada, Mexico, Italy and Japan joined UE members to celebrate victories, share experiences and reaffirm solidarity.
UE convention delegates debated and adopted resolutions on Wednesday morning committing the union to a strong stand against racism, sexism, and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The resolutions declare that racism “has always been a roadblock to building a strong labor movement,” that “until women have full and equal rights, all workers are held back,” and that “homophobia and transphobia keep us divided and weaken the labor movement.”
Varshini Prakash, executive director of the Sunrise Movement, addressed the convention on Wednesday morning. The Sunrise Movement is the youth-led climate justice organization that put the concept of a “Green New Deal” on the political agenda with an audacious occupation of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s office in November of last year.
Unifor National President Jerry Dias addressed the UE convention on Sunday morning. “When I come here,” Dias said, “I feel like I’m at home” because “our unions have so much in common.”
If you like what you read, please consider subscribing to the UE NEWS — for as little as $5/year you can support great labor journalism and receive the print edition of the UE NEWS four times per year.