Members of UE Local 506 are not giving up the fight to keep good jobs in Erie. “This fight is a long way from over,” said Local 506 President Scott Slawson, “and nothing is off the table. We’re going to leverage political pressure, charges with the NLRB, and of course engage our membership to put internal pressure on the company.”
Delegates to UE’s 75th Convention in August were both inspired and entertained by Pittsburgh singer Anne Feeney. Feeney performed songs about corporate personhood (“corporations cannot pass the belly button test”), universal healthcare (“rich get richer and poor folks die”), and speedup in healthcare (“we are nursing as fast as we can”), which combine a passion for the struggles of working people with a sharp sense of humor.
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.