Voting is as American as apple pie. We all need to exercise our right and obligation to vote in our regional, state and national elections.
The November elections are as important as ever to you as a worker and as a Teamster. On pages 2-3 of this newspaper, you will find our endorsements for candidates and propositions. These endorsements don’t come lightly; committees of union members, officers and officials spent hours and days vetting the candidates and propositions that we endorse to make sure that they support working women and men.
Beyond the national races that get all the press, workers also need to participate and have a say in what goes on in our city councils and our state legislature. The laws passed locally and statewide have a huge impact on our work and industries.
As far as the Presidential election goes, the choice for workers is clear. The Teamsters International Union has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. This was done after much thought and discussion on the International Executive Board; Local Union leaders were asked for their opinions, and members were polled. While no candidate is perfect, Clinton will stand strong for workers by fighting to reject job-killing trade deals, enforcing labor laws and working to provide retirement security for millions of people who have sacrificed so much for the chance to retire with dignity.
Let’s look at the alternative. Billionaire tycoon Donald Trump is hostile to the interests of working people. He is committed to anti-union right-towork policies, he opposes a livable minimum wage and favors policies that destroy workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain. He has refused to recognize his own hotel employees’ votes to unionize and won’t negotiate with them in good faith. He brags about having profited from the real estate collapse, greedily and happily snatching under-priced properties, while millions of working families were losing their homes. He talks about barring trade with China, but that’s where many Trump-named products are manufactured. He says he’s against immigration, but has utilized “guest workers” for several of his businesses.
I understand that many working people think that the process is stacked against them; and, for many, it just may be. However, that’s no excuse for those who feel disenfranchised to revert to racism, sexism, or anti-immigrant behavior to assuage their frustration.
This is true for union-represented workers and especially for Teamsters. For the most part, we have the best contracts, wages and benefits in the industries in which we work, and Teamsters work in almost all industries. We cannot let some idiotic, ranting, crazy person threaten what we have.
What I’ve said to members consistently since I’ve been a Teamster official is that you need to vote with your wallet to protect your job and your family. Of course, numerous other issues are important; but, without your job or decent benefits to protect you and your family, those others issues shouldn’t matter much. When a politician is so obviously against enabling workers to live decently—to put a roof over their heads, to educate their children and to retire in dignity—then that politician should be rejected by every Teamster voter and every voter who works hard for a living. Plain and simple!
Please VOTE! Every election is important, but the results of this November’s elections will make a huge difference to you and your family.