Joint Council 7 TEAMSTER

August / September 2015
Newsletter Volume 6, Number 3

Let's Stand Together for Workers

The race for President of the United States is starting earlier and earlier each cycle. At this point, with nearly 16 months until the November, 2016 election, the campaign is already flooding the airwaves. I have told you before, and now I am forced to tell you again, as distant as it seems, this election for President will be the most important in our lifetime as it pertains to your livelihood, your union, and your ability to care for your family.

Just look at the Republican candidates. At this writing, 16 candidates are in line and not one of them cares one thing about working men and women. The reason they can afford to start campaigning so early is that they are all bankrolled by billionaires who are funding the entire group. These wealthy interests, namely the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson and the like, just hope that one of the bunch rises to the top to spew out their particular message of division, hate, racism and attack on workers.

Look at the top two contenders so far—billionaire and television celebrity Donald Trump and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Trump is a racist and a bigot and Walker has proven how much he hates workers by destroying the ability for unions to help the workers of Wisconsin. He takes pride in having made Wisconsin a “right-to-work” state and eliminating the prevailing wage.

My question is, why do people, especially those who work hard to scrape out a living, gravitate to these types of candidates?

Time and time again, history has shown us that workers will vote against their own best interests. Republicans suck in low-wage earners and people at the bottom of the economic totem pole by using religion, race, and issues like immigration and same sex marriage to tickle the prejudices that many people hold and to overwhelm peoples’ common sense.

It is very frustrating for those of us who fight for workers’ rights every day of our lives. It is hard to convince workers that the Republican money machine blows these side issues out of proportion, and that what is truly important—having a good union job, with decent benefits and a pension—takes a back seat.

Your job and how well you can support your family, now and in the future, should be your top priority. Protecting your right to bargain a contract and having a union to protect your hard won wages and benefits is crucial to your future.

The Democrats don’t always keep their promises to make things better for workers, but at least they are not out to eliminate unions from the face of the earth.

On the other hand, each and every Republican running for President of the U.S., without exception, has pledged to undermine the labor movement. Watch these idiots beat each other up, and hope that we have a Democratic candidate who understands that the working class is on the verge of extinction and that without unions, there is no viable working class left in the United States of America.

While I am on a roll and on my soapbox, I must mention that, given many of the events of the last year and especially the last month, I believe racism is alive and, unfortunately, well in our country. The massacre in South Carolina was all about race. The debate to take down the confederate flag was nothing but astonishing to me. Debate? That flag has been a symbol of hatred and division since its inception. There should have been no debate.

Remember, we are a UNION. We do not see color; we do not see gender; we do not see sexual orientation. We should only see sisters and brothers who are fighting for the same thing: respect, dignity and the right to have a decent job and support our families. The labor movement— meaning all unions and all organizations that represent working people—needs to step up and stand against any type of discrimination in our society. We are the only spokespersons left who can do it in a credible fashion.

Our history is not clean on this subject, but hopefully we have learned from our mistakes. I hope, as well, that we are all smart enough to know that bigotry and hate only help the employers divide us. We need to fight for each other; we need to stand up for each other; and we need to unify against any force or ideology that supports hatred, racism or bigotry against any person or religion.

If we are to survive we need to have each other’s backs. Plain and simple!