On September 13 and 14, UE and Unifor representatives participated in a series of meetings in Mexico City to facilitate continent-wide labor solidarity. UE was represented by General President Peter Knowlton and Director of International Strategies Kari Thompson, and the Unifor delegation consisted of Secretary General Bob Orr and Director of Human Rights and International Department Mohamad Alsadi.
UE members took action on September 12 in solidarity with our union family from the General Confederation of Workers (CGT) in France.
UE members from around the country took photos while holding signs stating "Non à la loi travail XXL, solidarité avec les travailleurs français!" (No to the XXL labor law, solidarity with the French workers!). Local 506 members took photos while holding a lunch break rally telling General Electric to keep jobs in Erie.
Over 600 members of Locals 506 and 618 turned out on Labor Day to send a strong message to General Electric that they intend to fight to keep jobs in Erie.
The final session of the 75th UE National Convention opened with a viewing of the video “Mouseland.” Mouseland is an animated illustration of a 1944 speech by Canadian politician Tommy Douglas, founder of the labor-aligned New Democratic Party and widely considered the father of Canada’s single-payer healthcare system. In it, Douglas tells a fable about a nation of mice who elect alternating governments of cats, until one day a mouse had the dangerous idea that mice should elect mice to office, with clear implications for workers who continue to elect alternating governments of bosses.
President Peter Knowlton opened the Wednesday afternoon session by introducing a series of amendments to the “Independent Rank-and-File Political Action” resolution suggested by UE Young Activists during the lunch break, to clarify UE’s commitment to independent political action for the working class.
On Wednesday morning, delegates to UE's 75th National Convention discussed resolutions addressing the need to fight for equity for immigrants, women, and people of color, the scourge of workplace closings, and the need for the working class to engage in independent political action. They heard a video address from Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and remarks from Larry Cohen, the board chair of Our Revolution.
After a day filled with workshops, UE delegates reconvened Tuesday afternoon to discuss the solidarity pact with Unifor.
President Peter Knowlton opened the Tuesday morning session of UE’s 75th National Convention by recognizing retiring UE News Editor Al Hart, who has served as Managing Editor of the UE News since 2006. Brother Hart joined the UE as a rank and file member of Local 506 over forty years ago, and later served on UE’s organizing staff.
The Monday afternoon session opened with the resolutions “Labor Law Reform” and “Organize the Unorganized: The UE National Organizing Plan.” President Peter Knowlton then recognized Director of Organization Gene Elk, who gave the organizing report.
The second session of UE’s 75th convention was held on Monday Morning, August 28th. Delegates discussed resolutions on Workplace Struggle, Restore the Right to Strike, Collective Bargaining, Healthcare for All and Collective Bargaining for Public Employees. They also heard from guest speaker Bonnie Castillo from National Nurses United, who spoke about the importance of a culture of organizing, fighting for social solutions instead of market solutions to social issues, and the struggle for single-payer healthcare for all.