UE operates on the basic principles of rank-and-file control and aggressive struggle. Our slogan is “The Members Run This Union,” and in the union's more than 100 autonomous locals around the country, that's exactly what happens.
UE carefully avoids the top-down, top-heavy, bureaucratic style of many unions by promoting membership control. The salary of the union's three top elected officers is limited by the UE Constitution to the top wage paid in the industry (currently set at less than $71,000.) It's hard to think (or act) like a big shot on a worker's wage. More importantly, this policy keeps UE leaders in touch with the lives of our members — we believe it's too easy for labor leaders to develop "boss-like" points of view if they've become comfortable with "boss-size" salaries.
Since membership control is critically important to UE, we hold national conventions every two years. Elected local union representatives meet each year to set UE policy by debating and approving resolutions submitted by local unions from around the country. To hold conventions less frequently would only reduce the voice of the membership in running the union.