Get Ready to Run for Delegate

Teamster members are building a campaign to vote out Hoffa-Hall and elect Tim Sylvester and the Teamsters United Slate. Upcoming Convention Delegate elections are the critical next step.

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Nearly every Teamster local will hold an election in early 2016 to elect delegates and alternate delegates to send to the Teamster Convention in June.

The convention will nominate candidates to run for Teamster General President and all International Union officer positions.

To get on the ballot, Teamsters United candidates will need to be nominated by approximately 90 Convention Delegates overall, plus a minimum number in each region.

Teamsters United is building local campaigns to win far more delegate races than that—and to be the voice of working Teamsters at the Convention against contract concessions, healthcare givebacks, pension cuts, and Hoffa’s failure to stand up to employers and organize the nonunion competition.

Convention Delegates have the power to review and amend the entire Teamster Constitution.

Teamsters United delegates will be there to protect members’ rights—including the right to vote on our contracts and in future elections for IBT officers.

Running to Win as a Rank-and-File Candidate

If your local officers will vote to nominate Teamsters United candidates, they may be the best delegate choice. But if they will vote to nominate Hoffa-Hall as the members’ only choice, it’s time to think about running for delegate.

Delegate elections are a lot like any other Teamster elections. To win, you need to inform members, build support, and turn out votes.

A few critical differences make it easier for rank-and-file candidates to beat incumbent officers in Convention Delegate races than it is in a typical local union election, including:

  • Most members want to have a choice in the International election. They don’t want to send officers who will block opposition candidates from getting on the ballot.
  • The delegate election will be supervised by an independent Election Supervisor who investigates protests and enforces members’ campaign rights.

Many local unions whose members voted against Hoffa-Hall were represented at the last Teamster Convention by local officers who backed Hoffa and tried to keep opposition candidates off the ballot. We can’t let that happen this time.

What You Need to Win

Now is the time to get started. The first nominations will be held in January, with ballots mailed out in February. Some locals will hold nominations in February and March.

You can get the exact details by reading your Local Union’s plan for Delegate Elections or by contacting TDU.

What does it take to get the votes you need to win?

Here are some campaign essentials:

An early start and a campaign plan: Running for delegate isn’t complicated but it requires a plan—from nominating your candidates to preparing an effective Get Out the Vote operation when the ballots hit members’ homes. TDU can help.

A diverse slate. If you’re in a smaller local, there may only be one delegate position and one alternate position up for election. If you’re in a larger local with more delegates, you’ll want to put together a slate that looks like the membership and represents members from different employers.

Time off to campaign at the gates and in the shops. Many members aren’t happy with the status quo, but they don’t know what Convention Delegate races are all about. You need to get out there, talk to members, listen to their issues, and get your message out.

Quality campaign literature. Good literature can help you get your point across. But bad lit can make you look weak, whiny, unqualified, or all of the above. Contact TDU for advice and help with campaign literature.

One mailing to all the members in the local, timed to arrive right before the ballots. As a candidate, you have the right to send mailings to the members in support of your campaign. A well-time campaign mailing is an effective way to remind members to vote.

A phone bank to call members and turn out the vote. Many members never vote—and their ballot gets lost in a pile of other mail. They need a reminder, on the phone, to fill out their ballot and send it.

Enough money to pay for a mailing and your campaign.

Get Help from TDU

TDU has over three decades of experience of helping members to run and win in local union races.

Contact TDU for advice or to set up a workshop on running for delegate in your area. We can help you on your rights and rules, effective campaign literature, and strategies for building a winning effort.

Or contact the Teamsters United Campaign directly. Either way, it’s time to get ready to run for delegate.


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