UFCW Locals Lack Democracy

In a disturbing display of old-guard tactics, 2 United Food & Commercial Workers locals “elected” their leadership in unopposed elections. According to their media release, on Jul. 1, UFCW Local 1776 in Central Pennsylvania “reelected” President Wendell W. Young for the 17th consecutive time. He and his slate had no opposition and were elected by acclamation. In West Berlin, NJ, a slate of officers including UFCW Local 1360 President Clay Brown were also reelected by acclamation on Jul. 2. Their media release proudly reported: “In stark contrast to a bitterly [yet democratically] contended election three years ago,… no nominations except for the current leadership team were received.”

UPS, The Sequel?
On Jul. 9, Teamsters bosses from 39 locals representing 3,650 members announced that they had unanimously authorized a nationwide strike that would attempt to shut down 43 of Overnite Transportation Company’s 166 depots. Teamsters have been attempting to organize Overnite’s 8,200 eligible workers since 1994, and the union and company have been involved in a contentious fight. The union would not reveal when a strike might occur, but Teamsters spokesman David Cameron said “it is safe to assume” that it will not be before the next scheduled contract negotiations set for Jul. 23-24. [BNA Daily Labor Report 07/10/98]

Union’s Favorite, Gould to Resign
National Labor Relations Board Chairman William B. Gould notified President Clinton on Jul. 7 that he will resign in Aug. in order to return to Stanford Law School as a professor. Gould, who has served as chairman since Mar. 1994, has been considered by many to be closely aligned with the interests of the Washington union bosses. Experts predict things could be worse if Clinton replaces him with the NLRB Board Member Sarah M. Fox. National Right to Work Foundation spokesman Stefan Gleason expressed his concern, “Sarah Fox was the Democrats’ ‘must-have’ candidate on the board. She is an established far-left counsel, and it’s very important that organized labor have their own tool on the board.” [Conservative News Service 07/08/98]