July 21, 2009: Some 50,000 freight Teamsters have been forced to make a terrible choice, thanks to a decade of misleadership at the top of our union.
In mid-July, ballots arrived at members’ homes asking them to choose to accept the biggest concessions in Teamster trucking history, or risk pushing YRCW into bankruptcy and closure.
Teamsters were put into this position by top union leaders who are more interested in their careers than in the membership or rebuilding Teamster power.
Hoffa took office ten years ago promising to Restore Teamster Power in freight. Instead we got a decade of PR and union decline. Just look at the Hoffa years: CF. USF Redstar. Letting UPS pull out of the Central States Pension Fund. A substandard contract at UPS Freight. A lack of organizing. Concession after concession.
This is a leadership that has no plans but plenty of excuses. At the July 14 meeting of officials where they rolled out the tentative agreement, Hoffa administration officials actually tried to blame Ron Carey for their own failures! Carey left office nearly 12 years ago.
Many good Teamster members and officers feel the lesser evil is to accept the concessions deal—to have a shot at saving jobs and maintaining a base in the freight industry to build from.
Many other good members and officers feel that givebacks won’t save YRC and these drastic concessions will only weaken our union’s power and drag us down to nonunion standards.
There is wide agreement that Hoffa has to go, and be replaced by a leadership committed to organizing and building Teamster power in our core industries. That’s why a movement to Dump Hoffa is being launched now.
However YRC Teamsters vote, they deserve the solidarity of all Teamsters. Freight is at the center of Teamster power. We are all in this fight together.