The Final Consent Order, which requires our International union to maintain one-member-one-vote elections, with an Election Supervisor and fair rules, is not going to end. In fact, it has no end date at all: it is permanent.
But, a change of terms is coming this month.
February 17, 2020 marks five years since Judge Loretta Preska signed the Final Consent Order, which had a five-year transition period. Going forward, the order remains in full force and effect, but with a few significant changes.
WHAT IS THE CONSENT ORDER?
It was the original Consent Order of March 1989, where we won vital changes to our union. This document provided, for the first time, one-member-one-vote elections for IBT officers, impartially supervised.
TDU fought against any government trusteeship or control over our union, and for the Right to Vote for members to take control. We won that in 1989. Then in 2014-2015, we again fought to preserve those rights in the Final Consent Order, which replaced the original order in February 2015.
The Final Consent Order provides that:
Members have the right to vote for IBT President and officers, one member one vote, with an impartial election officer and with fair election rules, which TDU had a hand in shaping.
Members have the same right to vote for all delegates to IBT Conventions, every five years, where candidates are nominated and our IBT Constitution can be amended. Prior to 1989, local officers were automatically delegates.
In addition to those all-important rights, a process for rooting out corruption continues.
Five years ago, Hoffa tried to undermine these rights, by completely eliminating the consent order. He failed. But some important changes were made, and some go into effect this month.
Changes to the Final Consent Order:
The right to vote for IBT President and officers continues permanently. But starting in 2026, the IBT Convention could try to raise the bar for opposition candidates to get nominated, thus possibly eliminating challengers. Presently, candidates need 5% of the delegates to support their nomination to get on the ballot. (Paragraph 11 of the Final Order.) We must be vigilant to prevent that number being raised; an increase to 10%, for example, would have eliminated the opposition candidates in 2016, and there would have been no election.
Going forward, the IBT General Executive Board will have the power to appoint the Independent Election Supervisor. (Paragraph 15 of the Order)
Going forward, the IBT General Executive Board will appoint the Independent Investigations Officer and the Independent Review Officer, charged with rooting out corrupt officers. (Paragraphs 24-42 of the order)
WHAT IT MEANS FOR TEAMSTER MEMBERS
Teamster members fought for years, early in TDU’s history, to win the Right to Vote in 1989. All Teamsters should stand together to maintain our rights. Like any rights, if we are not vigilant, they can be whittled away. TDU will be there to keep Teamsters informed – it’s up to all of us to help in that work.