MESSAGE FROM SECRETARY-TREASURER
Steven P. Vairma
Steve Vairma's Column:
Labor can't afford 'lesser evil' nonsense
Reports from the states indicate that more union members voted in the November mid-term elections than ever before. In Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which many observers believe had gone rogue in 2016, came back last month and turned the tide toward the so-called blue wave.
There wasn't a blue wave in the states within Teamsters Joint Council 3. That will never be possible in a seven-state area that includes four right-to-work states that severely limit union rights to organize and bargain collectively.
Of the three free bargaining states in the joint council, New Mexico and Colorado were hit squarely by the blue wave. Both now have elected Teamster endorsed governors, state legislative majorities and members of Congress. Montana, he third free bargaining state, kept labor friendly John Tester in the U.S. Senate, which required a huge effort.
Arizona and Utah, both right-to-work states, surprised all the pundits when they elected union-endorsed candidates to national offices, a U.S. Senator in Arizona and a Congressman in Utah, which may be a hopeful harbinger of the future.
Given the demographics and politics in states within Joint Council 3 I believe our political efforts were extraordinary. But now the job becomes even more difficult. We have to hold the new office holders accountable for all those promises they made to get our endorsements and votes.
There is no question that unions have for years been indolent in holding our chosen candidates' feet to the fire after they are elected. Too often we hear that old phrase "the lesser of two evils" an excuse that many unions have used for years in excusing the poisonous behavior of candidates they embrace.
When we make that choice, we are making a deal with the devil, who is sometimes dressed like a Democrat.
Blue collar union men and women throughout the country gave the Democratic Party another chance in the mid-term elections this year. You can bet the working class will demand some positive results.
We don't need another election year like 2016. After that disastrous day Michigan and Wisconsin, previously great labor states, were burdened with "right-to-work" laws, which stripped rights from their workers, and theretofore labor friendly Pennsylvania, which was thinking about it.
The year 2019 could be a year of real progress for a distressed labor movement, which today consists of only about eight percent of the nation's workforce.
We must vigorously recommit to the battle against poweful forces attaching our pensions, making the National Labor Relations a tool of management, creating barriers to union organizing and carrying out other nefarious strategies to stifle the unified voices of working men and women.
But that can't happen if we have elected "lesser evils."
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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!
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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 ‘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.
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.
This web page provides information on the ongoing effort to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since 1994, NAFTA has devastated working families, putting corporate profits ahead of people. What’s worse is that NAFTA has become the blueprint for all other trade agreements, from the way that it was negotiated in secret, to the bad provisions that have made their way into every agreement that has been signed since then. Now, NAFTA is being renegotiated and we demand that it be reframed to work for workers instead of corporate interests.
The Teamsters have stood in solidarity with worker struggles in other countries since our founding. With economic globalization, our ability to organize increasingly depends on our ability to build alliances with workers on a global scale.
More than ever, Teamsters are organizing and bargaining with multi-national companies. A key objective of our Global Strategies Campaign is to build strong alliances with unions around the globe who organize and bargain with common employers. Our focus is on workers in the emerging global supply chains – the infrastructure of globalization.
Globalization creates new opportunities for international worker solidarity. We seek common cause with workers around the world to build social justice for all workers and the communities in which they live.
The contributions of black members to the success of the Teamsters Union are numerous, varied and as old as the union itself. This month, the Teamsters Union spotlights some of those contributions.
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