September 21, 2007: For the second time in three weeks, the 2,100 Teamsters who move the City of Chicago have rejected their contract.
On Sept. 20, they voted 560-519 to reject a ten-year contract that would put their future at risk.
"The members are getting it-they're informed. That makes this battle a lot easier," Vince Tenuto explained. Tenuto is a leader in the Fighting for the Future movement in Local 726. Fighting for the Future is calling for job security, and protection against privatization of Teamster jobs. Tenuto summed it up: "If we don't get that, how many jobs will be left in ten years!"
The contract was rejected on Aug. 29, but the Local 726 leadership negotiated only very minimal changes after that, including the right for trash haulers to wear shorts in the summer. On the big issue of job protection, a very weak letter was offered.
After the close vote was announced, members celebrated. Fighting for the Future leaders offered to meet with the union officials to convey membership needs to them, in hopes of getting an acceptable contract for the members.
Other city unions have agreed to ten-year contracts that Mayor Richard Daley claims will deliver "labor peace" as part of Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Olympics.
On Oct. 1, Fighting for the Future will nominate a slate of candidates to replace officials who have lost the confidence of working Teamsters.
You can learn more about this movement at www.fightingforthefurture.com