September 3, 2013: Members are saying NO to contract givebacks and weak representation, and YES to rebuilding union power.
Employers and the Hoffa administration have served up a steady diet of concessionary contracts. But members are starting to organize for change. And it's catching on.
The industries and contracts may be different but the pattern is the same. Members have organized Vote No campaigns to fight contract givebacks at Gate Gourmet, Republic Airways, ABF, UPS and UPS Freight.
Some national contracts, including Gate Gourmet and UPS Freight, have been rejected entirely. Elsewhere, the national contract has squeaked by but members have rejected contract supplements and continue to fight for improvements.
Maybe most importantly, members are finding their voice and getting organized. They're distributing bulletins, building committees and teaming up with other Teamsters.
After joining the Teamsters to win respect on the job, 2,500 Rhode Island Hospital workers had all but given up on the idea of union power. Their assistant business agent was a leader of the original management-backed committee that tried to keep the union out of the Hospital.
Instead of giving up, they teamed up with other Local 251 members and are running to take back their local as the United Action Slate.
Members are charting a similar course in Philadelphia. After overwhelmingly voting NO to reject givebacks at UPS, Local 623 members are organizing for contract improvements and a stronger local.
"Members want union leaders that will stand up to UPS," said Bobby Curry, a Vote No leader who is now heading the Integrity Slate. "We're tired of being disrespected by this company and by our own union officials."
By saying No to contract givebacks and weak union representation, members are saying YES to rebuilding union power.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union is Teamsters helping Teamsters to defend our contracts and benefits and organize for our rights.
Contact TDU to find out what's happening in your area or how you can be part of a growing movement for change.