The UE General Executive Board, meeting in the union’s headquarters here Jan. 16-17, endorsed the founding statement of the newly organized U.S. Labor Against the War coalition. The Board made a $1,000 donation to the coalition and agreed to publicize union-backed anti-war activity throughout UE and further internal discussions about the issues behind the drive to war with Iraq.
UE NEWS Updates
The two-day national strike against the General Electric Company has been "an impressive display of solidarity and resolve," according to UE-GE Conference Board Secretary Steve Tormey. Reporting from GE’s giant Locomotive works in Erie, Pa., Tormey said "everything’s shut down tight, there are no scabs."
For Immediate Release January 8, 2003 For more information, contact: Peter Gilmore or Stephen Tormey 412-471-8919; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Bruce J. Klipple, UE General Secretary-Treasurer, joined with Ralph Nader and others in calling for repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act "as one important step in restoring workers’ right to organize into unions and in revitalizing American democracy."
In a letter released on Labor Day, Klipple and other labor leaders pointed out that 2002 marks the 55th anniversary of the labor law which dramatically curtailed rights gained by organized workers.
With a large state budget deficit and political scandals compromising both parties, the Wisconsin Capitol is not a place most state legislators would like to be these days.
On April 30, the Capitol became even more interesting as UE members came to town to demand action to save manufacturing jobs.
Those attending the fourth annual Wisconsin UE Political Action Day met with Gov. Scott McCallum and with at least one of their lawmakers.
Workers at Azteca, a tortilla factory, voted by a more than two-to-one margin for UE in a representation election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board on April 12. The vote was 59 for UE, 25 for the company, and 1 for the discredited Distillery Workers Union. Azteca employs approximately 90 workers.
• In Memoriam ...
James M. Kane, who served as president of UE during the Reagan years, died April 1 at age 78. A militant leader of Vermont machine workers, Kane was also president of UE’s northeastern region for many years.
Despite many years in union office, Kane had difficulty with the notion of being a "professional" labor leader. "It’s hard for me to get over the idea that I’m a worker," he told a reporter in 1981.
The UE Local 1421 members at Graham Packaging take satisfaction from knowing that under the terms of their new agreement health insurance will continue to be a company-paid benefit – without a cent coming out of their pockets towards the cost of the premium.
Also, the contract sets doctor-visit co-payments at $5, so that the cost to Graham workers can’t be raised by health care providers.
Negotiations took five days, concluding March 1. UE members ratified the contract on March 6.
As EIS Wire and Cable emerged from three years of bankruptcy under new ownership, the members of amalgamated UE Local 264 employed at the South Hadley plant faced tough challenges. The venture capitalist group that bought EIS recognized the union but not the contract.
UE members entered negotiations with three goals: get as much money up front as possible; because ground had been lost in previous negotiations, restore as much contract language as possible; get health insurance costs under some control. All three goals were met.
With national bargaining less than 15 months away, General Electric is already preparing its themes – and it’s not too soon for union members get ready.
That was the message delivered by UE leaders to local officers and stewards at a meeting of the UE-GE Conference Board here Feb. 20.
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