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.
Cettina Costagliola of Local 255 said she learned a lot at a Labor Notes Troublemakers School, in particular from a workshop on retaliation and bullying in the workplace. Angaza Laughinghouse, Local 150, described the monthly “Lunch & Learn” program at several UE workplaces in the Raleigh area. Members together read an article from the UE News or some other source and discuss it to further their knowledge of labor history and current social issues..
Also speaking on the resolution were Rachel Walerstein of Local 896, Scott Slawson, Marilyn Simmons and Ricky Steele of Local 506, and Fred Harris, Local 601. Delegates approved the Education Committee’s report, “UE Education: Essential for Rank-and-File Unionism”, as a resolution which will serve as the outline for UE’s internal education work in the two years ahead.
A guest speaker, Fred Mason, president of the Maryland-District of Columbia AFL-CIO, talked about the importance of labor taking courageous positions, such as opposing the Iraq war when that stance was not popular. He discussed the importance of labor supporting the struggle against racism. Slavery was a dehumanizing labor system, and the legacy of 246 years of slavery, and 88 years of Jim Crow segregation, still affects our country and hold us back, he said. "Our fight is about more than wages, hours and working conditions. How do we build an America not based on corporate greed and capitalism?" he asked.
Following Brother Mason’s speech, delegates attended workshops. There were four workshops to choose from in the two-hour morning time slot, and after lunch another four workshops were offered. The workshops were: Organizing, Raising Cain in the Public Sector, Offensive Bargaining, What is Wrong with Right-to-Work and How to Fight Back, Fighting for Racial and Economic Justice: Black Lives Matter and the Fight for 15 and a Union, Negotiating Health Insurance Under the Affordable Care Act, How to Prepare For and Conduct a Strike, and Less is More: Effective Member Communications.
See many more photos from the UE Convention at UE's Facebook page.