April 2, 2007: On March 21, it was no normal monthly meeting at Chicago Local 726. The hall was packed with hundreds of members, with many people in the hallway. They wanted to change their local union bylaws to have the right to elect working Teamsters to their bargaining committees.
Fighting for the Future, the grassroots movement in Local 726, put forward three bylaws changes and encouraged members to attend.
The union leadership brought people too, but they couldn’t match the outpouring of rank and file desire for change. So they refused to allow an honest vote.
Mario DiFoggio summed it up. “It was clear that the ‘ayes’ had it on the voice vote but (President) John Falzone ruled the ‘nays’ won. The packed room erupted. Everyone couldn’t believe what was happening. They wouldn’t even allow a hand vote. It was their way or no way.”
John Fasso, who works for the City of Chicago Aviation Department, said, “I’ve been a member for over 30 years and it was the most incredible meeting I can remember. They simply wouldn’t allow an honest vote. We need change in our union. We have to vote these guys out.”
Mary Koglin, from the City Aviation Department agrees. “A lot of members who went in on the fence got a real wake up call seeing how this meeting was run.”
Fighting for the Future has issued a leaflet thanking the members of Local 726 for coming out to take part in their union. They are putting together a team to run for office this fall, and bring a new day to Local 726 members.
Local 726 represents over 5,000 Teamsters who are all in public service, working for the city of Chicago, the county, the turnpike, the state and other public agencies.
Fighting for the future has a website: www.fightingforthefuture.com