Teamster members voted overwhelmingly to elect O’Brien-Zuckerman Teamsters United to lead our union. Now, our challenge is to turn that unity into power against the employers.
Teamsters voted by a two-to-one margin to elect O’Brien-Zuckerman Teamsters United. The vote was a clear mandate for the new leadership that members want change.
But the election outcome is also a challenge to the rank and file. To win a more powerful union, we have to involve members and mobilize together. That’s up to all of us, not just our top leadership.
In organizing meetings across the country, TDU members and other rank-and-file activists are making plans to build on the momentum from the election and seize the opportunities ahead of us.
Teamster volunteers talked to hundreds of thousands of members during the campaign.
“We met a lot of members who feel hopeless. They see management getting a free ride to violate the contract and discipline and intimidate members. It’s like there’s no union presence at all,” said Kristen Jefferson, steward in Chicago Local 705.
“Some members said, ‘You’re only here because it’s election time.’ We have to show them that’s not true. We’re in this together and a blow to one of us is a blow to all of us,” said Jefferson.
OZ-Teamsters United activists from Chicago are returning to the worksites where they campaigned to pass out union information and Teamster Voice.
They are also planning a one-day TDU Educational Conference for Chicagoland Teamsters with workshops and speakers.
TDU also holds online workshops, both national and local.
“We got members to vote, but voting is not enough. You need to get educated and act together if you want change. That’s what TDU is about,” said Jefferson.
“We campaigned for OZ-Teamsters United because we wanted to see change. Now we need to change our local to finish the job. We’re building from the ground up to win the local we deserve. TDU literally wrote the book on running for local union office,” said Javier Sanchez, a Costco member in San Diego Local 542.
Organizing for Change In Our Locals
Electing new leadership at the top of our union won’t bring change to our local unions overnight.
“In our local, we voted out officials who had completely given up on the fight. We elected new leaders that stand behind the members and stand up to management.”
“TDU showed us how to organize and win the local we deserve. If we can do it, you can do it.”
Anthony “Moe” Mosby, Package Steward and Trustee in Local 322
Organizing the Unorganized
There’s a nationwide shortage of workers, especially in many Teamster industries. The job market has given workers more security and more leverage which has led to a surge in strikes and organizing drives.
“Essential workers have had it. That’s bad for employers and good for organizing.”
“If we’re going to protect our contracts and build a stronger labor movement, we have to organize the nonunion competition, especially in our core industries.”
One of the biggest challenges is Amazon. To meet it, we’ll need bold leadership from the International Union and commitment from rank-and-file volunteers.
“In New York City, our local turns out for protests against Amazon and we’re networking with Amazon workers.”
Elliot Lewis, 22.4 UPS driver in New York Local 804