On Monday afternoon, August 17, following two very busy sessions conducting the business oif the convention, UE Convention delegates marched to Baltimore City Hall to rally for Black Lives Matter, the Fight for 15 and a Union, and in support of hotel workers at the Baltimore Hilton, where the convention is being held, who are fighting for a fair contract through their union, UNITE HERE. Hotel workers joined UE in the march.
Following workshops, the convention reconvened late Tuesday afternoon to hear from international guests and discuss the resolution on International Labor Solidarity. Leah Fried, UE director of international strategies, introduced the guests from the FAT of Mexico, the CSN from Quebec, and for the first time at this year's convention, a delegation from the Italian metalworkers union FIOM-CGIL, including two GE workers from Florence.
The Tuesday morning session of the UE Convention, on August 18, included a report from the Education Committee and discussion of UE's internal education and leadership training, with delegates describing how steward classes and other education had strengthened their locals and helped people develop. Leo Grzegorszewski, chief plant steward of Local 506, described his local’s monthly classes for stewards and members. He thanked Eastern Region President Deb Gornall for her leadership in this program.
The Monday afternoon session of UE’s 74th National Convention was devoted to the report on organizing and adopting the organizing plan for the coming two years, as well as a resolution calling for reform of the nation’s labor laws to restore the right to organize.
Monday morning, August 17, was the second session of UE's 74th National Convention, and it featured extensive discussion on resolutions including Oppose Right to Work, Stop Privatization, Collective Bargaining Rights for Public Employees, Fight Racism and Still Fighting to Advance Women's Rights, all of which were approved. Delegates also heard from two guest speakers: President Larry Hanley of the Amalgamated Transit Union, who has revitalized that union and built alliances with transit riders to defend and strengthen public transit; and Rep.
The UE 74th National Convention got underway with a Sunday morning session. As delegates gathered in the ballroom at the Baltimore Hilton, they were entertained by a wonderful singing ensemble, the DC Labor Chorus, the first of several labor music artists who will open the sessions through the week.
Deb Gornall, president of UE’s Eastern Region, which is host to this year’s convention, then took the podium to call the meeting to order and welcome the delegates. She then turned the chair over to General President Bruce Klipple, the permanent chairperson of the convention.
Saturday, August 15 was the second day of the two-day Movement Makers Conference for UE Young Activists, leading up to the UE 74th National Convention which begins Sunday morning. Young activists learned more about the warehouse and logistics industry, after leafleting a huge Amazon warehouse the day before. UE International Rep. Mark Meinster explained the central role this industry plays in the U.S.
UE Young Activists participated Friday in the first day of a two-day Movement Makers Conference, leading up to UE’s 74th National Convention. In the morning the 18 rank-and-file young activists heard a a panel discussion on the Black Lives Matter movement, with a focus on that movement in Baltimore, as well as history of racism and the working class in the United States. Panelists included Dr. Rhonda Williams, history professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland; Dr. Kenneth Morgan who has taught at Coppin State University; and Maryland State Rep. Jill Carter.
UE’s General Executive Board met Thursday to review developments over the past three months and make final preparations for UE’s 74th National Convention, which will begin on Sunday.
President Bruce Klipple led a discussion of proposed amendments to the UE Constitution, mainly related to finances and pay of staff and officers. The board discussed and approved the proposals.
UE Local 896/COGS (Committee to Organize Graduate Students) won an important court victory this week. The Iowa District Court for Polk County upheld an earlier ruling by the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) that reimbursement of graduate student fees to graduate teaching and research assistants at the University of Iowa are a mandatory topic of bargaining. PERB is the state labor board for public employees in Iowa, and after it rule in the union’s favor, the university appealed to state court.