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December 02, 2016
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Steven P. Vairma

Steve Vairma's Column:

Workers not sharing in new economy

Hurray!  It has taken nearly eight years, but unemployment in the United States has finally been reduced to pre-recession levels and the other half is heading in that direction.

And, lo and behold, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, thousands of new jobs are being created in many states, including those of Teamsters Joint Council 3.

Corporate profits are reaching record levels and small businesses are making money (although to hear the National Association of Independent Business (NFIB) constantly whine, small businesses never, ever make any money).

But wow!  That's really good news.  The economy is getting better.  We all ought to be lighting cigars with hundred dollar bills, right?

Not so fast, pal.  Not everybody is sharing in the recovery.  Working men and women aren't seeing much, if any, more money in their wallets.  Their wages are still stagnant, as they have been for about 30 years, and there is no indication that will change any time soon.  Unless workers have a union contract, they can't get a raise, and today unions only replresent about eight percent of the nation's workforce.

The politicians in Washington have no stomach for allowing working men and women to share in the benefits of the recovering economy.  In recent years, many politicians of both parties have been corrupted by the huge amount of corporate money being lavished on them.  The more money they get from the corporations, the less they care about workers.

We've seen it in Joint Council 3.  After the Supreme Court's ruling on Citizens United came down a few years ago, and really big money started rolling into both political parties, enthusiasm for the working class among some of our so-called friends seemed to cool - not completely, but noticeably.

Supporters and sponsors of some pro-union labor legislation were not so forthright, and some suddenly had problems with legislation they formerly supported.

And with the election of a solidly Republican House of Representatives in 2012, legislation such as the Employees Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would do more to narrow the wage gap than anything else, was completely abandoned.

The only way to narrow the wage gap and to give American workers a real raise - not simply a pittance increase in the minimum wage - is to allow unions to organize workers who want to be organized by forbidding employers from engaging in acts of intimidation and delay to thwart unionization.

Accomplishing this will be a huge task.  Since the 2010 census anti-labor lawmakers won their huge majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and have taken control of most of the country's state legislatures.

We have our work cut out for us.

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Current Campaigns
  • The ‘Let’s Get America Working!’ campaign seeks to restore a dynamic and prosperous middle class to drive economic growth by helping to advance policy decisions that create and maintain good middle-income jobs, guarantee retirement security, expand access to the American Dream, and ensure that the benefits of the ongoing economic recovery are felt by the many, not just the few.

  • Candidate material is distributed to all members to encourage informed participation in the International officer election, and to promote a fair, honest and open process.

  • Below is a link to the Independent Disciplinary Officers (IDO) Report 2 dated June 8, 2016. Due to an inadvertent printing error, page 2 of the report was not printed in the August 2016 Teamster magazine.

  • We Are eXPOsing XPO’s Global Greed

    XPO Logistics is a top ten global logistics and transportation company with annual revenue of $15 billion and 89,000 employees, another 10,000 workers classified as independent contractors, and thousands more working for firms that subcontract with XPO. We are the REAL workers at XPO Logistics worldwide exposing the truth about the company’s global greed, illegal wage theft, unsafe conditions, and abhorrent and vicious anti-worker, anti-union tactics. 

    This greed includes mistreating former Con-way Freight workers in the United States who are being kept in the dark about terminal closures and layoffs, and the company’s illegal refusal to bargain contracts and denying their workers’ federally protected right to organize. It also includes port, rail and last-mile drivers around the country and in Southern California fighting wage theft in excess of $200 million because they are misclassified as independent contractors and denied the right to form their union. This greed has caused numerous lawsuits and strikes.  Greed also means an unsafe workplace and mistreating its warehouse employees.

    XPO’s greed extends to Europe beginning with breaking its promise to not layoff any workers for at least 18 months. French workers and the unions have been fighting back against XPO’s disrespect, lies and attempts to slash jobs. Similar struggles are taking place in Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and across Europe.

    Join the worldwide struggle now! Get involved with this campaign by joining the Facebook group “XPO Exposed.”

    Together, we can eXPOse the company’s global greed and win fairness, respect and dignity for tens of thousands of XPO employees around the world!

  • This webpage provides information on the Teamsters Union’s legislative advocacy at both the federal and state level as well as our field activity to support those policy positions and to get strong labor candidates elected to office.  Among other resources, you will find our federal legislative scorecard, formal statements of policy position and communications to Capitol Hill,  a weekly update on federal legislative happenings, an overview of bills we are tracking at the state level, and quick links to take action on priority issues.

  • Negotiations for the National Master Automobile Transporters Agreement (NMATA) are under way. On Wednesday, June 3, 2015 representatives from carhaul local unions met in Detroit to approve the contract proposals and the next day, Thursday, June 4, 2015 the Teamsters National Automobile Transporters Industry Negotiating Committee (TNATINC) exchanged the contract proposals with the employer group.

    The committee will work hard to protect members’ health, welfare and pension benefits, protect job security and other address other top priorities

    The National Master Automobile Transporters Agreement (NMATA) and its supplements expire on August 31, 2015. The national contract covers almost 6,000 Teamster carhaulers.

    In addition to protecting benefits and job security, other top priorities are wages, the grievance procedures and safety and health issues.

  • The IBT-Airline Division has established this page as a place to get up-to-date information about the Republic Airways Holdings (RAH) bankruptcy.  Please check here for the latest information about the bankruptcy.

  • Workers’ pensions are being endangered by both Congress and those charged with overseeing them. The Teamsters and our members are standing united to say “No!” to cuts and “Yes!” to greater retirement security!

  • The Teamsters Union represents more than 250,000 members at UPS and UPS Freight. UPS remains an active member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) despite the organization’s anti-worker and anti-union agenda that seeks to undermine and weaken worker protections.

  • This web page provides information on our fight against fast-track legislation. The measure requires Congress to take only a quick up-or-down vote on secret trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and does not allow such agreements to be amended. It limits Congress’ constitutionally mandated oversight of such trade deals and lets others decide what’s best for America. The result is fewer good-paying U.S. jobs and unsafe food and products for Americans. Read more to find out why fast track is the wrong track for Teamsters and America.

Teamsters Local 455
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