Boris H. “Red” Block, UE Secretary-Treasurer from 1975 to 1985, died February 4 at age 82. The lifelong UE activist and organizer is remembered as a tough fighter for UE members at the bargaining table, and a diligent guardian of UE’s democratic principles and financial integrity.
UE NEWS Updates
Members of UE Local 893/Iowa United Professionals have approved new two-year agreements for both of its bargaining units – social services and scientists. Besides pay increases, the significant change is the state’s agreement to pay a bigger percentage of family health insurance premiums.
Members of UE Local 799 ratified a new two year agreement with the Delaware City Schools on February 22. Local 799 represents the school district’s custodial, food service, maintenance, mechanics and transportation employees.
Members of UE Local 642 have ratified a new 40-month contract with their employer, Harborcreek Youth Services. The new contract will bring workers six wage increases of two percent each, twice a year starting in September 2007. They will get a two percent raise each September and each March, through March 2010. Employees recently received a four percent raise on September 23, 2006.
UE members in the Simsbury Department of Public Works have reached a new three-year agreement, with general wage increases of 3.5 percent, 3.5 percent and 3.25 percent.
The union faced tough bargaining, especially on the health insurance issue. The union ended up agreeing to pay increases in employee contributions 11.5 percent the first year,
13.25 percent, and 15 percent in the third year, as well as an increase in co-pays. Tentative agreements were twice rejected by the members and following rejection,
On behalf of the entire membership, the national officers express our deep sorrow at the passing of Boris H. “Red” Block, a great UE leader and a ferocious fighter for the working class.
More than two dozen UE members gathered at UE Local 893/IUP’s new union office in Des Moines for the annual Iowa UE Political Action Day February 20. Representatives of Local 893/IUP and Local 896/COGS first reviewed the issues of importance to their respective memberships – including the case load crisis of social service workers, and adequate funding for the University of Iowa – as well as the important "fair share" battle unfolding in the Iowa Legislature.
Some 15 members of UE Local 160 members went to their state capitol on January 24 to lobby Virginia legislators and management of the Department of Health and Human Resources . While in Richmond they met with several members of the House of Delegates or their staffs, and had particularly encouraging meetings with Del. Rosalyn Dance (D-Petersburg) and with Del. Russell Potts (R-Winchester.) In meetings with legislators, union representatives discussed the need for salary increases especially for the lowest-paid workers, and problems caused by mandatory overtime.
Just before Christmas, Local 766 approved a new three-year agreement with Ametek Chemical Products Division. The new contract brings raises of 2.5 percent, 2.5 percent, and 3 percent, and increases the multiplier on the defined benefit pension by one dollar each year, for future service – bringing it to $43 by the end of the contract.
Raleigh sanitation workers have continued their fight for justice, following a courageous two-day work stoppage in September that captured statewide and worldwide attention. As reported in the last UE NEWS, the workers followed their job action by signing up as UE members, picketing city hall, building massive community support, and putting very specific demands, with deadlines, before the Raleigh city council.
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