TDU is committed to making both of these happen and making sure Teamsters have a positive alternative to the failed administration that’s in power right now.
No reform slate has announced it is running for office. That needs to come together soon, but Teamster reform activists aren’t holding back. They’re laying the groundwork now for a successful challenge in next year’s election.
“We’ll need a strong reform slate with leaders who have a vision for rebuilding our union’s power,” said Sandy Pope, president of New York Local 805 and a member of the Committee for New Leadership. “But for that reform slate to win, they’ll need a strong campaign network behind them. The time to build that is now.”
What will it take to win in 2006 and what can we be doing now to get there?
Concerned members and local union officers are getting to work, holding local and regional events and pulling together campaign committees to win this election.
“There’s a lot of anger in New England with the pension cuts and mid-contract givebacks in our UPS supplement,” said Dave Whitney, a Boston Local 25 member. “We feel betrayed and we want Hoffa out. We’re holding a barbecue on Aug. 28 in Worcester to pull together New England Teamsters who want to back reform candidates.”
There’s no getting around it. A reform campaign will need money for staff, campaign literature, candidate travel, and more. Hoffa won the last election by outspending the reform slate by 10 to 1. We’ll never match Hoffa dollar for dollar and we don’t need to. Grassroots campaigns win elections with sweat and hard work, not big cash and slick PR. But our campaign will need money, and it needs seed money to get started.
That’s why members are kicking off their fundraising efforts now.
“It’s going to take a real war chest to run a strong campaign in 2006,” said Greg Kujawa, a member of Minneapolis Local 638. “We’ll need to pony up some serious cash to support our candidates. In Minnesota, we plan to raise thousands and we’re getting started with a picnic fundraiser this summer.”
To get on the ballot, reform candidates will need to be officially nominated by 5 percent of the delegates at the 2006 IBT Convention. In 2001, the Hoffa administration complained that there should not have been an election and tried to keep all opponents off the ballot by putting the squeeze on convention delegates.
That trick failed in 2001, but Hoffa is redoubling his efforts for next year. Local campaign committees are needed not just to get out the vote in the officers’ election, but to win local union delegate races so that reformers will be at the IBT Convention next June to nominate a reform slate.
For more information, contact the Committee for New Leadership, P.O. Box 3392, Bayonne, N.J. 07002, or via email at newleadership2006 [at] gmail.com
For more information:
Picnic to Build New England Campaign Network
Early IBT Delegate Elections Kick Off