MESSAGE FROM SECRETARY-TREASURER
Steven P. Vairma
Steve Vairma's Column:
Vote in your best interest Nov. 8
They'll come after you. Union members should be aware that if certain candidates in the upcoming midterm election are elected, one of their goals will be to strip workers of many workplace protections they have had for many years. That's right.
Their targets are not only the labor movement itself, but all that unions have fought for in the past - Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, occupational, health and safety laws, the 40-hour week, and workers and unemployment compensation laws, to name a few.
That's why it is so important for our members to study their union's endorsements.
While organized labor can't guarantee that all our endorsees will vote for the union on every issue, we can promise that they won't be looking to bust your union and excise heard-earned protections.
The union busters have been patient but diligent and successful over the past seven decades in pushing 27 states to adopt so-called "right-to-work" laws, which give the government and employers unfair measures of control over collective bargaining.
This advantage allows employers to pay lower wages and reduce workplace protections for employees. It is extremely difficult for unions to survive in RTW states, but they do. They do because of the strength and dedication of their members and their leadership.
Many of these onerous state laws were enacted years ago before unions became politically active.
Four of the seven states in Teamsters Joint Council 3 are right-to-work states - Arizona, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming, all beautiful places to live. The last to become RTW was Idaho in 1985.
According to the Rocky Mountain Teamster, which covered the vote when Wyoming became a RTW state in 1963, the issue was decided by two votes, both from Democrats who, an hour before the vote, promised to vote no.
In recent years the right-to-work gang has become more active, and union density in the workplace is precipitously low at eight percent. It was 35 percent in 1954.
Right-to-work laws are to blame for that statistic. Restrictions were placed on labor's ability to organize in 1947 when the anti-labor Taft-Hartley legislation was passed over President Truman's veto.
Corporate America constantly works together with lawmakers to emasculate worker-friendly federal and state laws and prevent the passage of new ones. They must be rubbing their hands in glee, anticipating a national right-to-work law if the anti-worker crowd is elected.
Don't let that happen. Be sure to vote for labor-endorsed candidates on November 8, Election Day.
Teamsters Joint Council No. 3 Truck loading up... Water, Diapers, Texas Aid