Local 638, Star Tribune
I first heard about TDU in the mid-80s, through a newspaper article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and through some of the guys at work. But it wasn’t until 1989 that I became a member.
I had recently been elected to the bargaining committee, and we were facing a no-strike clause similar to the one that the San Francisco Teamsters have faced [see Convoy #236]. Before we could even get a leaflet to vote it down, Teamsters and other union members from around the city appeared at the gate with petitions urging us to vote this clause down.
They didn’t want a no-strike clause in our contract to be appearing in their contracts when their negotiations came around.
This experience proved to me that there was a whole lot more out there than what I’d been doing on the bargaining committee. I didn’t want to just make decisions and then tell members how to vote, which was how it worked in my local.
I pulled a union brother aside. I didn’t know him too well, but I asked “How do I get in touch with TDU?” He smiled at me and said, “We are TDU.” I’ve been an active member ever since.
I decided to run for the ISC this year because we have a lot of work left to do, in the Teamsters and the rest of the union movement. I went to my first TDU Convention in 1991, two years after becoming a member. When it was over, I came back to members on the floor and told them, “I learned more about our union and the labor movement in this one weekend with TDU than I have in the past 15 years as a Teamster.” TDU has the kind of energy and education that we need to change things.
Local 743, University of Chicago
I got involved in TDU because of the local reform movement in 743, the New Leadership Slate. Without TDU, we would not have caught the corrupt officers stealing our local elections, or have the hope to turn our union around.
I decided to run for the ISC because it helps us to be connected to the national movement. In Local 743, we have over 100 local contracts; we are not part of the Master Freight Agreement or anything that would naturally tie us to other workers and locals. Our local administration isn’t interested in connecting us to national and international issues.
Being a part of TDU makes being a Teamster mean something. It’s the difference between action and words, winning and losing. I’m looking forward to being on the ISC, working in solidarity with Teamsters across the country to make our union a strong and democratic one.
For the complete listing of the International Steering Committee elected at the 2006 TDU Convention, see page two. The Steering Committee has 15 members and three alternates.To get in touch with one of the Steering Committee members, contact the TDU office.