About

A Force for Working Families

As the Industrial Division of CWA, IUE-CWA represents a force of 150,000 active and retired men and women united collectively to seek dignity on the job and a secure future for ourselves, our children and all future generations. The Division is headed by President Jim Clark.

President Jim Clark

President

Jim Clark has been the president of IUE-CWA, the Industrial Division of the Communications Workers of America, since April 2005.

In that position, he oversees activities in the union’s manufacturing division, which covers nearly 200 local unions and more than 40,000 active members and 100,000 retired members.  Clark spearheaded the Division’s program to improve union members’ job security by bringing a union-friendly version of high performance, or Lean, manufacturing into IUE-CWA worksites. He also championed the creation of IUE-CWA Energy Treasure Hunt, a program which saves the environment and American manufacturing jobs.

Clark sits on the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council and is an outspoken leader in calling for fair trade laws and a revitalized U.S. manufacturing policy. He sits on the Department of Labor’s Trade Labor Advisory Committee. He is also the Chairman of the General Electric Coordinated Bargaining Committee. As a vice president of CWA, Clark also sits on the CWA Executive Board.

Clark hails from IUE-CWA’s founding local, Local 755, in Dayton, Ohio, where he worked his way up from committeeman and vice-president to serving two terms as shop chairman, the local’s chief negotiator. Clark remains the only chairman in Local 755’s over 50-year history to be honored by the membership with unopposed re-election to a second term.

In February 2001 and 2005, Clark was unanimously elected chairman of the IUE-CWA Automotive Conference Board. As chairman, he oversaw contract negotiations and implementation at the local and national levels for five major automotive companies, covering more than 17,000 IUE-CWA members at General Motors, Delphi, Valeo, DMAX and Visteon. In the economically precarious world of auto parts suppliers, Clark stood out for taking a common sense and innovative approach to bargaining that preserves good jobs while recognizing the economic realities of the global marketplace.  Clark is also known for efforts to reduce health care costs through community initiatives to assess needs and utilization and through education to members and health care providers.

Clark has studied business law, arbitration, labor studies, collective bargaining and grievance handling at Wright State University and Sinclair College. He has been a member of the union for more than 40 years.

History

World War II was over. The Cold War was just heating up. And into these heady times–times of prosperity and paranoia–was born a new, militant union.

“IUE-CIO was born at the CIO’s Eleventh Constitutional Convention in Cleveland on November 2, 1949. We were born literally without any membership or treasury–with nothing except the loyalty and militancy of tens of thousands of electrical workers who had fought with us for years for the kind of democratic unionism and genuine collective bargaining which Communist leadership had denied them,” described IUE founder James B. Carey.

From those humble beginnings, a great industrial union was created. Dubbed a “union in a hurry” by CIO President Philip Murray, IUE grew from no members to more than 300,000 in three years.

Much of the growth came as the IUE and its predecessor, the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America, battled head to head in bitter representation showdowns at General Electric, Westinghouse, Sylvania, RCA, Sperry and other plants across the country. Murray had expelled the UE from the CIO over fears about Communist influence among its leadership.

Within a year after its founding convention in Philadelphia, IUE had adopted its first constitution, elected Carey president, defeated UE in several key elections and negotiated successful national contracts with General Motors, GE, and Westinghouse. In one day in 1950, 25,000 General Motors Workers in five local unions chose IUE over UE. By the mid-1950s, IUE had emerged as the dominant industrial union representing workers in the electrical-electronics manufacturing sector. IUE was, indeed, hurrying to make its mark on the labor movement.

  • IUE founding father Jim Carey IUE founding father Jim Carey, the so-called “boy wonder” of the labor movement.
  • Celebrating Carey’s election as IUE president Celebrating Carey’s election as IUE president at the 1950 convention in Milwaukee.
  • James Carey talking The campaign in Dayton for a General Motors plant focuses on the benefits an IUE contract has always stood for.
  • James Carey talking with others Dues payments were always an issue. Here, the argument is made at the 1950 convention.

Though dedicated to achieving stable labor-management relations through collective bargaining, IUE has never cowered from hitting the streets when needed.

In its 50-year history, IUE has waged three strikes of national significance: Westinghouse in 1955-56 and the strikes against General Electric in 1960 and 1969.

The 156-day Westinghouse strike–one of the longest national strikes in labor history–idled 55,000 members and closed down 35 plants from coast to coast.

The highly divisive GE strike of 1960 lasted nearly three weeks and involved 70,000 members. The 101-day 1969 strike was the final nail in the coffin for GE’s “take it or leave it” bargaining strategy, otherwise known as Boulwarism after GE negotiator Lemuel Boulware.

  • Martin Luther King with some IUE members IUE members march on jobs for all.
  • James Carey on Face the Nation James Carey on Face the Nation.
  • James Carey Speach for Industrial workers A 1960 booklet exposing GE’s propaganda is the forerunner of today’s corporate campaigns. Carey also attended and spoke against GE policies at the company’s shareholders meetings — a novel idea at the time.

IUE has pursued an aggressive political agenda on behalf of its membership.

Through the years, IUE has orchestrated lobbying on behalf of civil rights and anti-poverty programs, equal employment opportunity, fair housing, education, national health care, pay equity, and trade reform.

It also has been active in raising funds to help pro-worker candidates win office at local state and national levels. IUE is committed to giving workers a strong and vocal voice in the political process.

  • JFK and James Carey Prominent politicians like Presidents JFK and Harry Truman have addressed IUE conventions. Truman maintained close ties with IUE founder James Carey even after leaving the White House.
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson speach with James Carey President Lyndon B. Johnson addresses IUE’s 11th Constitutional Convention. He used the IUE stage to advance his Great Society Program, which was strongly endorsed by members attending the convention.
  • JFK and James Carey President John F. Kennedy greets IUE members at the White House during a break from an IUE Full Citizenship Conference. Kennedy promoted his civil rights agenda to the receptive crowd.
  • James Carey talking to woman Women have always played a prominent role in IUE’s history. Early on, IUE established a Women’s Council to promote the advancement of women on the job. IUE also has led the fight for pay equity and against pregnancy discrimination.