Proposition 32 will go down as the most expensive ballot measure in the 2012 election cycle. Yet when the dust settled, we decisively defeated Prop. 32 by a 12% margin.
How did we do it? People power!
California Teamsters began our No on 32 campaign with two kickoffs in April and July. The April kickoff, sponsored by Joint Council 42, drew more than 1,400 Teamsters from Southern California. Then in July, Joint Council 7 brought more than 800 members from Bakersfield all the way up to the Oregon border to the Alameda County Fairgrounds. Members were educated about the dangers of Proposition 32 and armed with voter registration cards.
Business Agents, stewards, and volunteers got to work. In September, more than 40 members came off the truck statewide to kick our program into high gear. This lost-timer program was supported by our members’ own DRIVE contributions.
Joint Council 7 took a caravan of Teamster trucks to blitz our worksites. We started in Bakersfield and worked our way up to Stockton, down through the Bay Area out to Watsonville, and doubled back to Sacramento. In the end, we hit 33 worksites in 21 days and spoke to more than 3,000 members. At many stops in the caravan, we were joined by Teamster-supported candidates and elected officials, but the focus was on our members.
In Southern California, Joint Council 42 sent a squadron of 25 rank-and-file members to blitz worksites from San Diego to Santa Barbara in an aggressive program that touched thousands of members.
Teamsters General President James Hoffa also barnstormed the state, making several stops along the way in Southern and Northern California. We did our firstever California membership conference call, drawing more than 19,000 participants to a call with President Hoffa.
When the smoke cleared, we registered more than 23,000 Teamsters to vote statewide – a 10% increase in our overall membership. More than 90% of these registrations were vote- by-mail.
Simply put, no union in California did as much as the Teamsters– and this was bigger than anything we’ve ever done. And we owe that to every member, every Principal Officer, and the leadership of Joint Council Presidents Rome Aloise and Randy Cammack.
Who was behind the effort to destroy California Labor? The Lincoln Club of Orange County—the same Republican group that brought us the Citizens United case that opened the door to unlimited corporate spending and SuperPACs. The Koch Brothers – the same Republican billionaire oil tycoons who supported Scott Walker’s attempt to wipe out collective bargaining in Wisconsin and “right to work for less” initiatives all over the country. And make no mistake – they will be back.
So now we go on the offensive! We look poised to win a super-majority in the California legislature, so we are gearing up to push campaign finance reform and a measure to rein in the billionaires from abusing the initiative process. While we didn’t win all of our races, we helped many good people get elected. Now is the time to start finding Teamsters to run for city council races, school boards, and boards and commissions in 2014. Our jobs, our families, and our communities depend on us staying involved!
Congratulations to every Teamster in California on this big victory. It is an honor to work with you all.