O’Brien-Zuckerman Teamsters United didn’t mince words about the choice in the election. They told members if they liked the union’s direction under Hoffa to vote for Vairma and challenged members who want to fight the employers to vote Teamsters United. The result was a two-to-one rout. Here are five ways to turn the election victory into member engagement and union power.
Fight National Contract Campaigns
The new leadership has a mandate to fight in carhaul, freight, UPS and more. But unionism is a team sport and strong contracts aren’t just won at the bargaining table. To win, we need to engage and mobilize the rank and file.
The carhaul contract will be the first one out of the gate. The UPS contract expires in 2023 but preparing for that contract and potential strike needs to start day one.
Sean O’Brien has made it clear that there’s no organizing Amazon without winning a strong UPS contract--and he’s right.
Coordinated Bargaining & Organizing Drives
Hundreds of thousands of these Teamsters work for national companies, but their contracts are negotiated local-by-local with little to no coordination through the IBT.
Hoffa largely used Teamster Divisions to hand out extra salaries and buy political loyalty. The divisions can be restructured and rebuilt to take on coordinated contract fights and organizing drives at in warehouse, food distribution, waste, soft drinks, school bus and more.
The same Divisions can also be opened up to shop stewards and members to tap their knowledge and skill and get ideas and buy-in from the ranks.
Take Teamster Education to the Members
Having a Teamster Leadership Academy in Washington, DC or a Unity Conference in Las Vegas is not enough. We need union training and leadership development for the many, not the few.
The new IBT leadership can take Teamster education to the members with regional and local Teamster Leadership Academies for shop steward workshops, organizing training, contract campaigns and more.
Restructure the Organizing Department
Organizing the nonunion competition in our core industries is the only way to protect our jobs, union standards and power. The new leadership can restructure the organizing department to put more organizers in the field, and root them in our locals. We can train thousands of Teamster internal and external organizers and we will need to if we want to succeed.
Finish the Job in Our Locals
Go-along, get along unionism hasn’t just been a Hoffa problem. It has infected too many locals and turned off too many members.
Teamsters took back our International Union and we can do the same with our locals where we have to. TDU can help.
The Future Is Now
What do you think should be the top priorities for the new International Union leadership and for TDU and how do you want to be involved?
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