June 17, 2011: Will Hoffa use the Teamster Convention to face the issues or duck for cover?
In a few days, thousands of elected Teamster delegates, alternates, and guests will come together in Las Vegas for the Teamster Convention.
This five-year Convention should be used to take on the tough challenges facing our union and make plans to take on Corporate America.
Instead, Hoffa is planning a tightly-scripted Vegas act. (Spoiler Alert: click here for a partial preview of Hoffa's plans.)
The Convention is our union’s highest decision-making body. It has the authority to amend the Teamster Constitution, for better or for worse.
At previous Conventions, TDU members have won important reforms like majority rule on contracts, and the right to vote on supplements to national contracts.
We’ve proposed other amendments that would increase members’ rights including the right to vote on any dues increases. We proposed the language which gave Teamster members the Right to Vote for convention delegates and IBT officers.
Hoffa has directed Convention Delegates to reject such reforms.
Hoffa prefers a union run from the top-down, and runs the Convention the same way.
Local union officers are warned to wear Hoffa campaign vests or risk being put on an enemies list. Hoffa floor whips tell delegates how to vote with a thumbs up or thumbs down sign.
The Hoffa Campaign calls this “Unity” and claims it builds Teamster Power. In reality, it reduces Teamsters to being bystanders in our own union.
The most important thing that will happen at the convention is the nomination of Sandy Pope to run against Hoffa for Teamster General President.
Pope has been on the road campaigning from Los Angeles to the Northeast this week, and she is getting more endorsements from Delegates every day.
Sandy mobilizes Teamsters members; she doesn’t script them. And that’s the only way we’ll rebuild Teamster power, especially in these tough times.