Teamster Discontent Stirs Elections

January 28, 2005:Teamsters concerned about the direction of our union are letting officials know it at the ballot box. That’s the finding of a TDU analysis of Teamster local union elections in 2004.

TDU analyzed the results of a large number of local union elections, with over 100,000 total members. In many of these elections, old guard officials (often the incumbents) lost. Many other officers barely survived strong challenges from rank and file slates who ran on a platform of a new direction.

From Nashville, Tenn., to RenoNev., and from WashingtonD.C. to Cincinnati, members voted for change in many local unions.

In some cases, officials loyal to the Hoffa administration won, but by narrow margins. In New York Local 237, International Vice President Carl Haynes faced his strongest ever challenge, but survived with 53% of the vote. Reform slates took 47% in Minnesota Local 638 and 49% in Memphis Local 667.

Turning Frustration in Positive Direction

“Members are very upset about the decline of Teamster power. In TDU, we’re working to turn that frustration in a positive direction and build Teamster power,” said TDU International Steering Committee member Larry Macdonald. In November, Macdonald was elected secretary-treasurer of Georgia Local 728.

TDU members are gearing up now for 2005 fall elections, and for elections for Convention delegate that will happen in all local unions in the fall of 2005 or March-April 2006. Rank and file reform candidates consistently do well in delegate elections.

David Thornsberry of 15,000-member Louisville Local 89 recently told the TDU Convention, that, “Members are angry about the pension cuts and poor representation and they’re looking to our local election to do something about it.”

Rank and file power is on the increase. The time is now to plan to make it effective.

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