UE’s General Executive Board, meeting from August 22-24, reviewed the union organizational and international work, discussed the issues of immigration and jobs, and made plans for the Fall 2018 regional council meetings and UE participation in the 2018 elections.
Director of Organization Gene Elk gave the organizing report, highlighting first contract struggles at the Lanterman Regional Center in California and MTIL in Chicago, and a currently ongoing NLRB mail-ballot election that is poised to bring 600 new members into UE. He detailed the union’s plans for recertifications elections for eight bargaining units represented by Local 893 and 896 in Iowa, covering over 4000 workers. He also spoke about Local 123’s ongoing struggle with Daikin over the company's health & safety policies.
The GEB reviewed the results of Janus on UE’s public-sector locals in all areas of the country; by all accounts, UE locals are holding their own in the face of this latest legal attack. The board also reviewed effects of the merger between GE Transportation and Wabtec on GE shops including Grove City, where the pre-majority Local 601 is seeing increased interest in organization.
GEB members who had attended Unifor’s Canadian Council meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia the previous weekend reported about their experiences and on plans to further develop the North American Solidarity Project through meetings in Nashville in September and Port Elgin, Ontario in November. The board also discussed the various ways in which affiliation with the global union IndustriALL has been useful to UE’s work.
The board considered and issued statements on immigration and jobs, and discussed re-energizing UE’s work to push Congress to come up with a more comprehensive approach to infrastructure development, especially focusing on high-speed rail which would provide employment to UE members at Wabtec.
The UE leaders also made plans for involvement in 2018 electoral campaigns in key areas, in particular Iowa where the survival of public-sector trade unionism is dependent on effective political action. The board also recognized and discussed the political action work of Locals 506, 150 and others, and the importance of working with other progressive union locals, especially on the campaign for Medicare for All, single payer health insurance led by National Nurses United and the Labor Campaign for Single Payer.
GEB members continued the discussion around regionalization, hearing a report from the GEB task force and making plans to bring that report to regional council meetings in the fall. The regional council meetings will also have the opportunity to consider finalized anti-harassment policies and procedures.
The GEB made the commitment to update Labor's Untold Story to continue the story of the US labor movement from the 1950s until today, and established a task force to investigate and discuss the potential for increasing accessibility of the board meetings to members with medical issues.
An earlier version of this article, and the version in the print edition of the UE NEWS, incorrectly stated that single-payer workshops would be held at fall regional council meetings.