September 27, 2011: Sandy Pope says things you might not expect to hear from a union leader.
The employee free choice act, a bill stalled in Congress that would make it easier to for workers to unionize? The wrong fight at the wrong time, according to Pope. Besides, she said, "I want people to stand up and vote affirmatively for a union."
Click here to read more at The Star Tribune.
September 22, 2011: The Hoffa administration is using members' dues money to pay for its reelection efforts. Protests have been filed with the Election Supervisor. But the best protection against Hoffa’s dues rip-off is a strong rank-and-file campaign to get out the vote for Sandy Pope.
The Hoffa administration announced plans to use members' dues to pay a mailing to every Teamster member to vote in the election. The mailing doesn’t say that voting is to democratically choose our next General President, but to show our unity to our enemies. Our outside enemies are clear, but who are the inside enemies that Hoffa is denouncing? Sandy Pope and the members across the country who support her campaign to Dump Hoffa?
Earlier this week, the Hoffa Campaign announced plans to spend members' dues money on rallies in a desperate bid to win the vote of UPS Teamsters who have turned against Hoffa-Hall for their failure to enforce the contract and stand up to production harassment at UPS.
The Hoffa Campaign is also shaking down local union officers to get them to pay for a campaign mailing to their local union membership. Officers who turn over money to the campaign get their name on a mailing to the membership. Officers who don't, get their name on Hoffa's enemies-list.
Hoffa doesn't have members to campaign for him. So he's relying on expensive mailers and propaganda, some funded with your dues, to get reelected.
Supporters of Sandy Pope and a new direction can win this election the same way we'll rebuild our union's power--by talking Teamster to Teamster and turning out the vote. Click here for more info on how you can get involved in the GOTV effort.
September 20, 2011: Hoffa’s surprise announcement at UPS isn’t the first time that he’s made empty promises to Teamster voters to try to get elected.
Hoffa has a history of promising big. The Hoffa election year playbook is to talk big before the ballots go out and to settle short after the votes are counted.
He’s done it every year that he’s run for office.
2006 UPS Freight Sellout
In 2006, Hoffa and Hall told delegates at the Teamster Convention that they’d sealed a deal to unionize UPS Freight.
After the election, it came out that the UPS Freight deal would not go into effect until after Hoffa and Hall signed a concessionary contract at UPS—including letting UPS pull out of Central Sates and eliminated the Article 22.3 clause that required the company to create new full-time combo jobs.
After the election, we learned the Hoffa-Hall card-check neutrality agreement applied only to members at one UPS Freight terminal in Indianapolis. UPS Freight Teamsters got stuck with a substandard contract and never even got to negotiate work rules as promised in that agreement. But by then, the votes were counted.
2001 “That I Promise You, That Will Happen”
In 2001, Hoffa gave his famous, “That I Promise You, That Will Happen” speech. Hoffa guaranteed a series of promises that he promptly broke after the ballots were counted, including:
Hoffa Promise: “If I am elected, we will defeat Overnite.” Instead, Hoffa pulled the plug on the strike and left Overnite workers high and dry for seven years.
Hoffa Promise: “I will end government control of the Teamsters Union.” Instead, Hoffa’s own anti-corruption director Ed Stier resigned after Hoffa blocked his investigations into corruption in Chicago. After that, the government was in our union to stay.
Hoffa also promised to win the “best contract(s) in Teamster history” in UPS and freight. Instead, the contracts he negotiated delivered the worst pension cuts in Teamster history.
Click here to watch Hoffa lie to Teamster members.
Hoffa started his career as a Teamster presidential candidate the same way he’s ending it—lying to the members.
In the 1996 campaign, Hoffa promised to cut n cap his salary at $150,000. Instead, Hoffa gave himself a raise and has raised his salary ever year since. Last year he got $368,000, including a lucrative “housing allowance.”
In 1996, Hoffa promised “No Dues Increase.” Instead, he called a Special Convention and pushed through the biggest increase in Teamster history--and denied members a vote on his dues hike.
Hoffa promised to deliver a Real 25 & Out Pension to every Teamster. Instead, tens of thousands of Teamsters have lost the 25 & Out pensions they enjoyed for years until Hoffa came along.
Fool Me Once…
In an election year, there’s an easy way to tell when Hoffa is lying: his lips are moving.
Teamster members have learned this the hard way. And they won’t be fooled again.
September 20, 2011: After years of ignoring runaway production harassment and 9.5 violations, the Hoffa administration is launching a desperate effort to save face with UPS Teamsters before the ballots go out on Oct. 6.
Hoffa’s own polls show that UPS Teamsters across the country are fed up with production harassment and are backing Sandy Pope.
Click here to read more at Sandy Pope's campaign website.
September 15, 2011: I’m on the plane headed back to New York after a week on the campaign trail. I talked to thousands of Teamsters. And the response is incredible.
In Pennsylvania I had breakfast with over-the-road drivers who are spreading the word about our campaign terminal-to-terminal.
In Kentucky and in Maryland, I talked with UPSers who are tired of having a Teamster General President who is in love with management.
And in Tennessee, I met Teamsters from carhaul and UPS Freight who say Hoffa has given up on them—and they’ve given up on Hoffa.
The support is out there to win this election and elect new leadership. The Hoffa Campaign’s own polls show that I am the only candidate for General President who can beat Hoffa.
We need 150,000 votes to win. Ballots go out on October 6.
That means we need to talk to 150,000 Teamsters in the next few weeks to get their support and mail in their ballots.
When the ballots go out, my campaign will be sending targeted mailers to hundreds of thousands of likely Teamster voters, and coordinating phone banks to turn out the vote.
There is a role for every Teamster who wants a new direction for our union. And now is the critical time to get involved.
Go to my website or call my campaign office at (718) 282-0282 to get leaflets and spread the word to Teamsters in your area. Order and post pole signs.
In the coming weeks I’ll be meeting with Teamsters in Minnesota, Chicago, Ohio, New York, and at the TDU Convention.
We’re going to win this election talking Teamster-to-Teamster.
Get involved and be part of Teamster history.
September 15, 2011: Sandy Pope has a proven record of delivering for Teamster members.
A Proven Leader
A 33-year Teamster, Sandy Pope rose from the ranks as a freight driver in Cleveland Local 407 and has worked at every level of our union, as an organizer, a business agent, Local Union President, and International Representative.
Negotiating Strong Contracts
When management at Fordham University tried to make Local 805 members pay for part of our health benefits, Sandy Pope told them No Way.
Their new contract makes the employer pay 100 percent of their healthcare, and they won wage and pension increases too.
Beating Big Corporations
Sandy Pope helped grocery Teamsters win the first ever union contract with C&S, the biggest nonunion food distribution company in the world. Sandy won a neutrality agreement that gave our union the power to organize other nonunion C&S warehouses. But Hoffa let it expire and 1,500 C&S Teamsters lost their jobs.
Protecting Teamster Jobs and Benefits
“After a decade of concessions, Sandy Pope helped us negotiate a contract that saved our pension and restored the healthcare benefits we had lost,” said Anthony Meyers, a member of the bargaining committee for the Local 814 Moving and Storage contract.
September 15, 2011: Hoffa can’t defend his record, so he’s lying about Sandy Pope’s.
The Hoffa campaign is preparing a blitz of negative campaign mailers to spread his lies about Sandy Pope’s record.
Hoffa knows how to twist the facts. He was a corporate lawyer after all. It’s time to set the record straight.
Hoffa Lie: “Sandy has presided over the collapse of the Local 805 Pension Fund.”
Sandy Pope has faced the pension crisis head on and protected members’ benefits. Under Hoffa, members have suffered the worst pension cuts in Teamster history.
Under Sandy’s leadership, Local 805 increased pension benefits and won 25 & Out for the first time.
When the stock market crash caused the Local 805 Pension Fund to lose money, Sandy Pope negotiated record benefit contributions from employers to protect members’ benefits.
She also won protections to guarantee 25 & Out for every member within five years of retirement. Teamsters in the Central States and Freight Teamsters everywhere wish Hoffa had won these protections.
Thanks to Sandy, Local 805’s Pension Fund assets are up and is on track to full funding over time.
In this economy, Teamsters don’t expect pension miracles. They want and deserve a plan to protect their retirement security. That’s what Sandy Pope has delivered.
Hoffa Lie: “Sandy Pope leads a small, failing local.”
In tough times, Sandy Pope has negotiated strong contracts that protect members’ benefits. Hoffa tries to paint a picture of Local 805 has a shrinking local on the verge of bankruptcy. His campaign spin doesn’t match the facts.
Like many other locals—including Hoffa and Hall’s locals—Local 805 has lost members in recent years from employers closing and moving to nonunion areas.
Financially, Local 805 has reserves of more than $300,000. The local’s reserves have dropped to spend the union’s resources on organizing the nonunion competition.
Local 805 hired organizing staff and organized several nonunion warehouse and distribution companies. “I’ll never apologize for spending members’ dues money to take on the nonunion competition," Pope said.
September 20, 2011: Why He Can’t Win and Why That’s a Good Thing....
Who is Fred Gegare?
Fred Gegare is an officer from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and a long-time Hoffa operative who has served for 13 years as a Vice President in the Hoffa administration.
Gegare is most well known for being the Chair of the Central States Pension Fund while the fund lost billions of dollars, imposed the worst pension cuts in Teamster history, and fell to the brink of insolvency.
Why is Gegare running against Hoffa?
That’s a good question. Gegare is a long-time Hoffa loyalist. As a candidate, he criticizes Hoffa’s handling of the Central States Pension Fund and Hoffa’s concessions to UPS and UPS Freight. But Fred’s rhetoric doesn’t jibe with his record.
Gegare supported every concession negotiated by Hoffa—and said nothing as the head of the Central States when Hoffa let UPS pull out of the fund. In fact, he seconded Hoffa’s nomination in 2006—when the Central States and UPS Freight sellouts were already in the works.
Gegare only came out against Hoffa when it was election time and he saw Hoffa was vulnerable. Then he did a 180 and denounced Hoffa and tried to get a majority of the General Executive Board to break with him. They didn’t.
Which opposition candidate can beat Hoffa?
Gegare can’t win the election. That’s a fact. His base is too small and his record is too weak for him to pose a threat to Hoffa’s reelection.
Gegare’s failed record as head of the Central States Pension Fund hurts him in our union’s largest region. He put together a slate of candidates in some regions. But outside the Central Region, he doesn’t have a campaign network or much support.
In contrast, Sandy Pope has a national, battle-tested campaign network. That’s how she won 100,000 votes in the last election—including half the vote at UPS and in freight. Sandy’s network easily collected more than 50,000 petition signatures nationwide to make her an accredited candidate. Gegare could not muster 30,000 signatures to get accredited.
Gegare’s an International VP. Won’t that help his chances?
This is not the first time International officials have split off and run their own candidate. They lost badly to the reform candidate each time.
In 1991, a group of International VPs launched a campaign based out of the Eastern Region and Chicago. Their presidential candidate, Walter Shea, got just 18 percent of the vote.
In 1998, another group of International officials and Joint Council heads led a split-off slate—much like Gegare’s. Their presidential candidate, John Metz, got just six percent of the vote. Backed by TDU’s nationwide campaign network, Tom Leedham won 40 percent of the vote.
Every Teamster election has shown that challengers need a strong nationwide campaign network and a clear reform record to be successful. Sandy’s got both. Gegare’s got neither.
Why is Hoffa aiming most of his fire at Sandy Pope, and not Gegare?
Because Hoffa’s polls show that Sandy Pope is the only candidate who can beat Hoffa in the election.
Can Sandy win a three-way race? Who will Gegare draw votes from?
If Gegare siphons votes that formerly went to Hoffa, it will make it easier for Sandy to be the next General President.
For example, Brad Slawson heads Minnesota Local 120 and is on the Gegare Slate. In 2006, Hoffa won this local by a two-to-one margin over Leedham and Pope. If this time, those Hoffa votes go to Gegare, then Sandy will clobber Hoffa in that local.
A danger is that Gegare is talking anti-Hoffa, and trying to swipe a slice of the rank and file reform vote. Gegare can’t win, that’s for certain. Who will he help win: James Hoffa or Sandy Pope? That's up to Teamster members.
September 15, 2011: At the official debate for candidates for Teamster president, two of the three present were stumped when asked what to do about the recent contract rejection by 5,000 United Airlines Teamster mechanics. Ken Hall and Fred Gegare punted, because it was clear they didn’t know anything about it. Sandy Pope addressed the issue of bargaining with a profitable corporation that previously got deep concessions when it was in bankruptcy.
That sums up the situation in the airline division: an International Union that is on the sidelines at best, instead of leading.
Teamster mechanics at United Airlines and Continental will soon be merged, a unit of nearly 10,000 members.
The United Airlines contract is a crucial pace-setter, and the International should be mobilizing for a good contract, as they did when the Teamsters competed with other unions to get the mechanics into the union. A good start would be a bargaining committee responsive to the members.
Campaigning for Sandy Pope
Mechanics at both carriers are campaigning for Sandy Pope, and for a leadership with a plan and commitment to the airline members.
“We’re kept in the dark. We don’t even know if the International will change the negotiating team after the contract rejection.
“The company has a plan, and our union needs to have a plan. That’s why we’re backing Sandy Pope,” said Mike Albertin, a chief steward for United Airline mechanics in Locals 856 and 986 in San Francisco.
At Republic Airline Holdings, 3,000 Teamster pilots are bargaining with a management that is writing the book on stalling and regressive bargaining. Presently they are retaliating against the pilots with the threat of lay-offs, even though they need more pilots. (Republic operates as Chautauqua, Frontier, and Shuttle as well as Republic.) These Teamsters need an active, aggressive Airline Division to back them up.
Sandy Pope stated, “We have real power if we take seriously our position in trucking, distribution, rail and airlines. That's what I intend to do."
We’re Backing Sandy Pope
“We’re kept in the dark. We don’t even know if the International will change the negotiating team after the contract rejection. The company has a plan, and our union needs to have a plan. That’s why we’re backing Sandy Pope.”
Mike Albertin Chief Steward, Local 856, San Francisco Airport
September 15, 2011: Sandy Pope’s first Teamster job was a warehouse selector. Now she’s running for General President on a program of standing up to grocery employers.
Grocery Teamsters are under attack: production harassment, two-tier contracts, and growing nonunion competition.
Sandy Pope says grocery Teamsters can fight back and win. She’s winning over grocery Teamsters with her proven record and platform for change.
“Sandy’s fought for grocery Teamsters at every level of our union—from Local President to International Rep for the Warehouse Division,” said Damon Coleman, a member of Local 572 at Ralphs in Los Angeles.
“Sandy knows our issues. Hoffa doesn’t have a clue.”
She Fights for Us
“The bosses at my warehouse know that Sandy Pope will go to the mat for us—drivers and warehouse workers,” said Bill O’Bayley, a grocery steward in Local 805. “That’s what you want in your President.”
“Sandy’s brought different local unions together to take on employers who are threatening to move our jobs,” said Gina Porcello, a Local 863 Teamster. “She’s smart, she’s tough and you can tell she really cares. It seems like the only time Hoffa thinks about grocery Teamsters is when he wants our vote.”
“The attack on grocery Teamsters is national and it’s serious,” Pope says. “Hoffa has stripped the Warehouse Division down to two full-time staffers. Local unions have been left to fend for themselves. That’s no way to run an International Union.
“I will cut the fat and put more IBT reps out in the field to help locals bargain strong contracts. We’ll launch aggressive campaigns by market area to defend our standards by taking on employers, including the nonunion competitors that are undercutting our contracts,” Pope said.
Pope has done it before. As an International Union Rep, Sandy Pope was assigned to troubleshoot difficult grocery contract negotiations. She won the first-ever union contract at C&S—the largest third-party food distribution company in the world.
Hoffa Can’t Run on His Record
“Hoffa can’t run on his failed record, so he’s trying to destroy mine. It won’t work. I’m the only candidate in this race with a proven track record of taking on grocery employers and winning,” Pope said.
“We need a fighter. Hoffa’s all talk. I’m marking the ballot for Sandy Pope,” Gina Porcello said.
“Sandy’s fought for grocery Teamsters at every level of our union—from Local President to International Rep for the Warehouse Division. Sandy knows our issues. Hoffa doesn’t have a clue.”
Damon Coleman, Ralphs Local 572, Los Angeles
“The bosses at my warehouse know that Sandy Pope will go to the mat for us—drivers and warehouse workers.
“That’s what you want in your President.”
Bill O’Bayley, White Rose Local 805, New Jersey