We fought for 20 long years to win the right to vote, but it means nothing if you don’t exercise it.
I can remember back before there was the Internet or even cell phones and Teamsters with computers were rare. Think what TDU accomplished with only word-of-mouth, handmade leaflets distributed on the loading dock or shop room floor, and Convoy, our newspaper.
A relatively small band of activists together with a dedicated TDU staff and wonderful probono legal assistance were able to take on and win against organized crime and entrenched multi-millionaire top officers.
How did we do it? We got engaged, involved and committed. TDU educated us about our local by-laws, the IBT constitution and our contracts. We organized, we ran for steward or local union office, we became the go-to people in the workplace, informing our fellow members of their rights.
In 1989, TDU formally intervened in the racketeering lawsuit and convinced the Justice Department to institute the democratic reforms for which we had fought for almost 20 years: direct election of convention delegates and of the top officers of the IBT General Executive Board in a supervised election; we kicked their asses by 60,000 votes.
History almost repeated in the recent IBT election with six Teamster United VPs elected and the winning of the vote in the US. Now is the time to build on that success.
Join TDU and help make it happen.
Diana Kilmury Local 213, British Columbia (Ret.)
Diana Kilmury was the first woman ever elected to serve on the IBT General Executive Board, when she was the leading vote-getter as a Vice President at Large in the 1991 election. Kilmury was a construction driver in Local 213 in British Columbia and a long-time member of the TDU Steering Committee.
Ten years earlier, in 1981, she took the floor of the IBT Convention in Las Vegas (see picture above) to support her proposal to establish a Teamster Ethical Practices Committee. The old guard leadership failed to heed her advice.
She is retired and living in Vancouver.