Early this year on February 4 – just one week after the Ralston production workers voted to affiliate with UE – some of the maintenance workers contacted UE and requested a meeting to find out how they could also join the UE.
Local 222 held its annual convention on September 13, three years after the Connecticut Independent Labor Union-Connecticut Independent Police Union afflilated with UE and became a statewide UE local. Delegates for 17 sub-locals attended.
Delegates to the Western Region meeting on September 27 and 28 discussed the presidential election and the national financial crisis. But there was also time to discuss negotiations and other battles in their workplaces, celebrate the conclusion of Local 1008’s first contract negotiations at USCIS in California (see page 3), and to build support for the tough first contract struggle at Arc Bridges in Gary, Indiana.
In late August, members of UE Local 1008 employed by federal government contractors Northrop Grumman, Studley Professional Services (SPS), and Stanley Associates at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Center overwhelmingly ratified their first union contracts. The three-year contracts bring pay raises, establishment of basic union rights, better working conditions, and protection against future changes whether or not there are changes in the contractors operating the center.
On September 12 workers at Northrop Grumman at the Vermont Service Center in St. Albans, Vermont voted to ratify their first union contract. The three-year agreement comes after months of struggle by the members of new UE Local 208. Besides solid contractual protections and benefit improvements, it provides 9 percent increases in wages that they employer resisted granting right to the end.
Day service workers at Arc Bridges went on strike for one day – August 1 – against the unfair labor practices their company is committing. The strike was a huge success, with 70 percent participation, and a strong blow against the employer’s effort to decertify the union.
The workers are members of the new amalgamated Local 1123, chartered as a UE local in March. Local 1123 is the former independent American Federation of Professionals, which represents approximately 400 public and private sector workers in Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
Plans for bargaining, organizing and political action were intensely discussed as UE Local 893-Iowa United Professionals held its 26th annual convention July 26 . “Members representing all areas of the state were in attendance and they were enthusiastic about the issues,” says Local President Becky Dawes. “Our Local will be heading into negotiations with the state in late fall and early winter, and we anticipate a difficult time due to the national economy and the additional impact of the state’s recent natural disasters.”
On July 30, one day before expiration of their old contract, UE Local 262 members at Madico, Inc. voted to approve a new three-year contract that includes wage increases of 4 percent each year, retirement improvements and increases in other benefits, as well as language improvements and a bonus plan.
Members of Local 204 used stickers, lunch time meetings, vocal chords, and a final-day march to the front office to achieve a three-year contract the committee could unanimously recommend, and the members would overwhelmingly ratify. Management at Haskon knew that to go beyond the August 6 expiration date would leave production completely in hands of the members without the “no work stoppage” clause of the contract being in effect. Once the expiration date rolls around, bosses are never quite sure what Local 204 has in store for them.
UE Local 799 has negotiated a new two-year agreement with the Delaware City Schools, with an across-the-board wage increase of 2.5 percent each year and additional raises based on years of service.