June 03, 2009: Across the country, Teamsters are holding TDU meetings, setting up educational workshops, and getting out Convoy.
They’re concerned about where our union is going and doing something about it. TDU is giving them the tools to make it happen.
Here’s what TDU members have been doing in April and May to build the movement to take back our union.
Carhaulers from Local 89 and Local 651 in Kentucky and Local 327 in Tennessee discussed the state of the carhaul industry and how it is affecting our union.
Members formed a Kentucky-Tennessee TDU Carhaul Committee that will meet regularly on the phone to share information on grievances and contract issues and make plans for the 2011 election.
“If we don’t all stick together and start doing something now, we’re not going to have much of a union left,” said Tim Krueger, a Local 89 Allied driver from Bowling Green and one of the organizers of the meeting.
Teamsters joined labor activists from other unions for a day of education at the Chicago Troublemakers School, sponsored by Labor Notes Magazine.
TDU members organized four workshops at the conference: Defending Our Contracts in Hard Times; Preparing Your Grievances to Win at Arbitration; Understanding the Union and Your Contract (in Spanish); and Changing Your Local Union.
“It was a great learning experience,” said Duke Clark, a member of Local 726. “TDU and Labor Notes always put together the best workshops for Teamsters. I’ll see you at the TDU Convention in Cleveland.”
UPS package car drivers and pre-loaders met before and after their shifts ended to talk about how to deal with UPS’s production squeeze and supervisors working.
“Management gets together to meet and talk about what they can do to undermine our union. We’ve got to meet too,” said Tate McMillan, a feeder driver in Local 71. “We talked about what we can do to stop supervisors working and production harassment.”
Full-time UPS Teamsters from Local 236 held an informational workshop on the new UPS pension plan and the growing gap between their benefits and other Teamster funds.
“When I heard that our new UPS Pension Plan paid the worst benefits to any full-time Teamster in the company, I wanted to know what we could do about it,” said David Darnell, a package car driver in Local 236. “We pulled together a meeting here to get the facts and talk about how we can make change in our union.”
In early May, members of the Evergreen Chapter heard a report by TDU National Organizer Ken Paff on the state of the Teamsters Union ten years after Hoffa came into office. Discussion included how to build a Teamster movement that can replace the Hoffa administration in 2011.
Members also discussed some of the big problems facing members of Seattle Local 174, including deteriorating contracts and representation, the loss of the Oak Harbor strike, and the UPS full-time jobs fiasco.
Teamsters from New York and New Jersey locals met for their quarterly chapter meeting.
Members stayed after for a workshop on bargaining a strong contract for rank-and-file members who want to have a voice in their next contract.
TDU activists distributed hundreds of Convoys at the Louisville Air District, one of UPS’s largest facilities.
“How in the world would we know what’s going on without TDU and Convoy Dispatch? You get that information that no one else is going to get you,” said Wayne Sharp, a Local 89 retiree who helps distribute Convoy.
Active members and stewards from Local 355 and Local 639 came together for a two-hour workshop on Building Power to Win Grievances.
TDU International Steering Committee member Dan Campbell flew in from Milwaukee to lead the workshop. Members held a cookout after the workshop.
Get a Meeting in Your Area
Do you want to set up a TDU meeting in your local?
Call TDU at (313) 842-2600 and speak to an organizer.