This page is an abridged version of the UE Aims and Structure section of the UE website.
What is our relationship to UE?
UE is our parent union. We have been affiliated with UE since we first organized in 1996. While all UE locals (like us here at 896) are autonomous, UE provides guidance, assistance, and resources to us.
Who is UE?
UE is a national democratically-run union that has been helping workers organize themselves since 1936. The aims and values of UE are best summarized in the Preamble to the UE Constitution, which is unchanged since 1936:
“We, the Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (UE) realize that the struggle to better our working conditions is in vain unless we are united to protect ourselves collectively against the organized forces of the employers. Realizing that the old craft form of trade union organization is unable to defend effectively the interests and improve the conditions of wage earners, WE, THE ELECTRICAL, RADIO AND MACHINE WORKERS (UE), form an organization which unites all workers on an industrial basis, and rank and file control, regardless of craft, age, sex, nationality, race, creed or political beliefs, and pursue at all times a policy of aggressive struggle to improve our conditions. We pledge ourselves to labor unitedly for the principles herein set forth, to perpetuate our union and work concertedly with other labor organizations to bring about a higher standard of living of the worker.”
What is Rank and File unionism?
UE recognizes that the bosses are organized and if we as workers are going to win, we have to be organized too. Importantly, UE also recognizes that we have to organize ourselves from the bottom up. This is called rank-and-file unionism: unions run by and for the rank and file, the membership.
How does UE work?
UE policy is made up of a set of resolutions which are revised by membership and their elected delegates at the National Convention every two years. COGS sends 3 delegates every year consisting of the President, the Chief Campus Steward, and a third delegate elected by membership. You can find UE policy resolutions that dictate policy for the next two years at www.ueunion.org/ue-policy.
We convened the 78th Convention in September 2023, which you can learn more about in our Fall 2023 edition of COGNITION.
Who are the other UE locals?
There are UE locals across the entire United States and Mexico, ranging from sanitation workers to manufacturing plant workers to grocery store workers.
Until a few years ago, COGS was the only graduate worker local in UE. But in the span of just a few years, UE has organized over 25,000 graduate workers, many of whom are currently bargaining for their first contracts.