Decmeber 5, 2006: One year ago, we launched this campaign to rebuild Teamster Power. I want to thank Teamster members for the tremendous support you’ve shown and for the sacrifices you’ve made to strengthen our union.
From the beginning, I said “I am the candidate, but this is your campaign.” And you rose to the occasion every step of the way. You collected 55,000 petition signatures in just over a month to officially accredit our slate.
When it came time for the convention, Hoffa pulled out all the stops to block our nomination and deny members a choice. He failed. Working Teamsters ran for convention delegate and won—and saved Teamster democracy and members’ Right to Vote.
Our slate stayed out of the mud, because the issues were on our side. But having the issues doesn’t mean much unless you’re able to take your message to the members. Our campaign reached hundreds of thousands of Teamsters, because working Teamsters made it happen—campaigning before and after work, and taking time off.
I’m also honored to have worked with the entire Strong Contracts, Good Pensions Slate—dedicated, progressive, Teamster leaders one and all.
All Teamsters are frustrated with the low voter turnout. That low turnout is a symptom of the larger problem that Teamster members have been locked out of participation in our union. It’s not enough for Teamster leaders to ask members to vote once every five years. We have to dismantle the barriers to participation and get back to involving and mobilizing Teamster members—the real source of union power.
I urge all Teamsters to get involved in our union’s contract campaigns and organizing drives. Corporate America is on the attack against our contracts, our benefits and our future. Get behind our elected leaders when they mobilize Teamsters to take on corporate greed. And hold our leaders accountable when they fail to do so.
Thank you for your participation in this campaign, your dedication to your union, and the sacrifices you have made for a stronger Teamsters Union and more powerful labor movement.