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: Freight Teamsters know Hoffa has shown no real muscle or stomach for defending our jobs or our future. There is no leadership and there is no plan.
It starts with enforcing our contract. ABF, YRC and Holland came after us long before the economy took a dive. For supervisors, it was open season on trashing the contract. They know they get most of what they want at the grievance panels. And when it comes to concessions, Zollars, and his pals at the banks got everything they asked for. Hoffa and Tyson could only talk about shared sacrifice to save the company. Zollars got his golden parachute and Hoffa and Tyson didn’t lose a dime.
Our pensions are in jeopardy. Long time Teamsters at YRC are already seeing reduced benefits because of the lack of full contributions. Add to that Hoffa’s decision to allow UPS to negotiate their way out of Central States. Combine those with a lack of foresight on the part of pension fund trustees and you have the answer for why we find ourselves in such a big mess.
Union membership has been decimated. With the attacks on our wages, pensions and benefits, Hoffa has done nothing to stem the tide. There has been little reason for nonunion drivers to join the Teamsters.
At UPS Freight, Hoffa made promises and then delivered a substandard contract.
Hoffa has to go. That means helping elect Sandy Pope. She’s worked the dock, driven the truck, knows what it’s like to work as a Teamster. That experience, her smarts and her commitment to the membership can go a long way to addressing the issues we face.
Freight Teamsters need to work to turn out a big vote for Sandy Pope.
By Tim Pagel YRC Dock Local 988 Houston
September 15, 2011: YRC Teamsters are outraged at the 50 percent pay raise for YRC Directors.
At the recent Teamster Convention, there were seven (!) presentations on how great Hoffa is for giving YRC concessions. To hear his PR script, you would think giving concessions to a company is really hard work.
There were zero speeches on building Teamster power in the freight industry.
One of the speeches, by Hoffa’s Freight Director Tyson Johnson, was about how great the members of the new Board of Directors of YRC are. He bragged that two of the eight were selected by the Hoffa administration.
YRC Teamsters are outraged that these same new directors, as one of their very first acts, raised their own pay 50 percent and boosted their bonuses to get at least $175,000 for serving as an outside member of the board. (They do not work for YRC, they just come to board meetings.)
Hoffa did nothing.
Sandy Pope announced where she comes down: “I stand with YRC Teamsters and join their call for a reversal of the big pay increase. This is an insult to hard working Teamsters who have given up 15 percent of their wages and over 75 percent of their pension contributions.”
“If Hoffa had any accountability to working Teamsters, he would have been raising this issue as soon as it came up.”
Freight Teamsters have a way to tell Hoffa just what they think of his 13 years of mis-leadership: Vote for Sandy Pope!
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
September 15, 2011: As an International Union Rep, Sandy Pope won the first union contract at C&S—the largest third-party food distribution company in the world.
When C&S took over Pathmark’s distribution work in New Jersey in the 1990s, Sandy Pope was dispatched by the International Union to take on this threat.
C&S wanted to go nonunion—like they had done at other warehouses. The International Union and local leaders launched a corporate campaign to save good Teamster jobs.
As an International Union Rep, Sandy Pope worked with Local 863 leaders and stewards to take on C&S—and the nonunion giant backed down. Members’ jobs were saved and they won the first-ever union contract at C&S.
Sandy Pope also negotiated a groundbreaking neutrality agreement with C&S that gave our union the power to organize other nonunion C&S facilities without management interference.
Under the agreement negotiated by Sandy Pope, C&S’s unionized operations grew. You can download the agreement here.
Hoffa let the neutrality agreement expire—and Teamster members have paid the price. This year alone, C&S has eliminated more than 1,500 Teamster jobs by shifting its work to nonunion facilities. Other Teamsters have been forced to take concessions at the risk of losing their jobs.
September 15, 2011: Waste Management’s strategy is simple: divide and conquer.
During the last round of bargaining, the company beat strikes and forced concessions on members in New York (2006), Los Angeles (2007), and Wisconsin (2008).
In Wisconsin and Central Illinois, the company successfully pulled out of the Teamster pension, leaving the workers without a real pension.
In each of these fights, the International Union talked about extending picket lines—but it was all talk. In the end, local unions were left to fend for themselves.
In 2010, four locals in Southern California gave Coca-Cola the green light to roll out an “Alternative Distribution” program that uses a nonunion, third-party logistics company to make Teamster deliveries.
Coke’s new business model is a threat to Teamster jobs nationwide. And our union knows it.
The Hoffa administration called an emergency meeting and put forward a plan to defeat the company’s pilot program—if necessary, through nationally coordinated strike action.
But just one month after this tough talk, our union caved in without a fight. Now Coke is looking to spread its job-killing program nationally.
Good Teamster jobs in grocery are under a double threat: nonunion distributors and automation.
Earlier this year, 1,500 Teamsters in New Jersey and the Northeast lost their jobs when C&S, the biggest nonunion food distribution company in the world, moved the work to a new nonunion, automated warehouses.
A coalition of local unions came together last year to take on the nonunion C&S threat. Teamsters began leafleting A&P, Pathmark and other stores to put pressure on C&S by reaching out to customers.
But instead of backing the campaign, the International Union instructed local officers to stop leafleting stores and to bargain a severance package instead.
New Jersey Teamsters lost their jobs. And C&S immediately went on the attack in Maryland.
By now, the C&S debacle had become an election issue. So the IBT launched a last-minute campaign. The facilities were kept open but C&S won major contract concessions.