December 6, 2006: The IBT election is over, and James Hoffa won the power to oversee the union’s bargaining with UPS. A centerpiece of Hoffa’s election strategy was to win big at UPS, our union’s largest employer. He didn’t. Despite outspending Leedham 10-1 and with 90 percent of local officials campaigning for him, Hoffa had to settle for no better than half of the UPS vote.
Tom Leedham won the majority of the UPS vote in the Central and Southern regions, with Hoffa winning a majority in the East and Western regions. Leedham won among the UPS Teamsters in many big locals, including New York, Chicago, Seattle, Cleveland, Atlanta, Houston, Portland, Charlotte, Cincinnati, St. Louis, New Orleans, Detroit, Nashville, Memphis, Des Moines, Columbus, Harrisburg, Pa. and a number of other cities and some states.
Hoffa won his share of big locals as well, but the point is that UPS Teamsters did not unite behind Hoffa as he hoped, but voted in large numbers for a new direction.
Hoffa has the opportunity to reach out to tens of thousands of UPS Teamsters who voted for Leedham, and tens of thousands more who declined to vote, by taking a unifying and aggressive approach to UPS bargaining. Now is the time.
What could unify our members? The kind of year-long contract campaign in 1997 that won the hearts of our members, the strike, and a break-through contract.
We have the power at UPS. The key to that power is a united, informed and active membership.
TDU will work hard to make this happen, and will get behind any leadership program that moves it forward.