Most Americans who came of age during the Cold War grew up believing that May Day was some sort of communist holiday, invented by the Russians. Every year on May 1, television news would show us official parades through Red Square in Moscow, the leaders of the USSR standing in review atop Lenin’s Tomb as soldiers marched in formation and tanks and missiles rolled past. Few Americans were aware that May 1 each year was the occasion for general strikes and mass parades by labor union members in other foreign capitals such as Paris, Rome, and Mexico City.
UE NEWS Updates
APRIL 3, 2007
In a strongly-worded decision made public today, the International Labour Organization (ILO), an agency of the United Nations, issued an unprecedented call for the United States to “promote the establishment of a collective bargaining framework in the public sector in North Carolina,” and called specifically for the repeal of North Carolina General Statute §95-98, the state law that prohibits public employee collective bargaining.
UE members at Sargent have ratified a new three-year agreement by a vote of 376 to 30. The agreement includes 10 percent in wage increase over three years, with 3.5 percent in each of the first two years and three percent in the third. The weekly employee share of health care premiums will increase by $5 over the life of the contract. The employee health insurance contribution will be $20 per week in the final year of the contract.
On Saturday, February 10, over 3,000 people from all over North Carolina joined a People’s Assembly and March in support of a 14-point progressive agenda. That people’s platform included collective bargaining for public workers, living wage, education, health care, housing, environmental justice, immigrant rights, and ending discrimination, racism and the Iraq war. The “HKoJ” (Historic Thousands on Jones Street – the location of the State General Assembly) was sponsored by the State NAACP and over 60 other organizations, including UE Local 150, the NC Public Service Workers Union.
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.
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.
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