November 4, 2004: Hundreds of Teamsters attended the 29th annual TDU Convention in Cleveland last month to chart the course of the reform movement for the coming year.
Speakers blasted James Hoffa for the decline of Teamster power on his watch. TDU members have their eye on the 2006 IBT election, but our convention voted to put the focus for the coming year on strengthening our movement at the grassroots—to build at the bottom so we can win at the top.
The convention adopted a resolution to “Save Our Union.” The piorities it defined include: developing new rank-and-file leaders, building model local unions, electing more reform leaders to local union office, and continuing to lead the fight to defend our benefits from attacks by employers—and even by our union trustees.
Activists with the Central States Pension Improvement Committee held a special meeting at the convention and defined an action plan to win more accountability and fight to reverse the pension cuts. (See page 6 for a report.)
The convention also looked ahead to 2006. Members resolved to run delegate slates in over one hundred local unions in the 2005 and 2006 elections, where members will choose their representatives to the 2006 IBT Convention.
Laying the Groundwork
To lay the groundwork for a challenge to Hoffa in the 2006 election, the convention resolved that, “TDU will support the formation of a broad committee of respected leaders who can start outreach, a search for slate members, and fundraising.”
“It’s too early to announce a full slate for 2006, but not too early to lay the groundwork for a campaign,” the resolution said.
With Teamster power declining and our union in jeopardy, it’s up to us—the rank and file, and concerned officers—to organize for change. TDU’s got the nationwide network that can redirect the future course of our union, but only if we all do our part. Get involved today.