UE devotes more of its resources to organizing, on a per capita basis, than most other national unions. UE’s creative approaches to organizing have become a model for the entire labor movement. UE’s stubborn, relentless, militant rank-and-file approach has won union rights and union contracts in the face of opposition by lawbreaking corporations. The Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee, which we organized in partnership with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, has helped thousands of non-union workers understand their rights to organize for safety and fair compensation on the job.
UE is proud of our history of independent political action, and we do not have ties to any political party. Independent political action is the organized effort of working people to make our voices heard by our elected public officials in order to win government policies and programs which benefit working-class people. We do this by organizing opportunities for our members to communicate with their elected officials directly, like political action days at state capitals and in Washington, DC, protests in the streets, and civil disobedience. UE does not give large sums of money to candidates in hopes that they will represent our interests when in office. In fact, we don’t even maintain a political action fund.
In the 2016 and 2020 presidential primaries, UE was one of the few national unions to defy the Democratic Party establishment and endorse Bernie Sanders, the most pro-labor candidate for president in generations.
UE works to give new meaning to international solidarity through our Strategic Organizing Alliance with Mexico’s independent Authentic Labor Front (FAT), our North American Solidarity Project, launched by UE and the Canadian union Unifor in 2017, and our close relationships with unions in Japan (ZENROREN), Italy (FIOM), Quebec (CSN), and elsewhere. The UE-FAT Strategic Organizing Alliance, a first-of-its-kind cross-border approach to organizing, developed out of the two organizations’ opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). UE understands that building international solidarity, including practical steps to improve living standards and working conditions across borders, represents the best long-term defense of our members’ jobs.