Retired UE International Representative Ed Bloch died in his sleep on Sunday, August 24 at his home near Albany. He was 90 years old. Bloch joined UE in 1950 when he got a job in a UE shop, and was hired onto the UE staff in 1951 in New York City. He spent most of his long career with UE in Upstate New York, assisting UE locals and organizing the unorganized. He retired in October 1984 but continued to assist UE locals, especially Local 332 at GE in Fort Edward.
On Thursday, September 18 the bargaining committee of new UE Local 1077 reached a tentative agreement for a labor agreement covering 600 Renzenberger rail crew drivers at more than 30 rail yards around California. In meetings in 24 locations around the state over 10 days, finishinig on October 3, members voted over 96 percent to ratify the contract. We will have details of the new contract here soon.
The UE General Executive Board, in its triannual meeting September 18-19 in Pittsburgh, adopted the following statement on the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri.
Ferguson Affects Us All
UE activists are joining members of labor, civil rights, religious and community groups around the country in expressing outrage over what transpired in Missouri. Members of Local 150, UE's statewide organization in North Carolina, have participated in prayer vigils, protests and public discussions. UE members have been active in other states as well.
Lauro Bonilla was born in a small town near Guadalajara in the Mexican state of Jalisco, one of 11 children. His father, a small farmer, encouraged Lauro to look for work in the U.S. because it was becoming very hard to support a large family.
Rocío Peréz was a member, activist and steward in Local 1110 at Republic Windows & Doors in Chicago and a leader in the plant occupation in December 2010. She is still a Local 1110 member and one of the worker/owners of New Era Windows. She was interviewed by UE International Rep. Leah Fried for Hispanic Heritage Month.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually in the United States from September 15 to October 15 to recognize the contributions of people of Hispanic or Latino heritage to our country. With this issue of the UE NEWS, we’re launching an annual feature that will highlight what Latino members have done to built the labor movement, and our union and helped win important victories.
UE Local 799 members, who work for the Delaware City Schools, approved a new two-year contract on August 7. The new agreement improves wages by 2.25 percent in the first year and 2 percent in the second year, and includes a 25 cent “bump” to increase the hourly wage rates of workers in several classifications, including cooks, cashiers, custodians, assistant head cook, assistant head cashiers and assistant head custodians. The bump raises the rates for steps 1 through 10 of the wage schedule, the lowest-paid workers in the unit.
Local 1121 has negotiated and ratified a new three-year agreement with Aramark Industrial Laundry. The old contract expired at the end of April, but bargaining on a new agreement was not completed until July 11, and four days later the members ratified the new contract by 2 to 1.
The major issue was health insurance, where the company wanted to replace the existing 80/20 plan with a 70/30 plan, which would also impose higher employee contributions and a 25 percent co-pay on prescriptions. It also would have increased the out-of-pocket maximum from $4,000 to $8,000.
Retired UE International Representative Ed Bloch died in his sleep on Sunday, August 24 at his home near Albany. He was 90 years old. Bloch was first hired by UE in 1951 in the national office in New York City, but spent most of his long career with UE in upstate New York, assisting UE locals and organizing the unorganized. He retired in October 1984 but continued to work with UE locals, especially Local 332 at GE in Fort Edward.
Two enormous challenges face UE Local 893-Iowa United Professional this fall: state elections in which the future of public employee unions is on the line, and contract bargaining with heath insurance under attack. Delegates to the local’s annual statewide convention on July 26 devoted their attention to preparing for those coming battles.