Political Director’s Report

Teamster political power wins fair pay for workers

Every year, local, state, and federal government agencies give out billions of dollars to corporations through procurement contracts, tax credits, subsidies, grants, and more. These are our tax dollars “at work.” This raises two questions: does it work for us? And if not, what can we do?

Sadly, the answer to the first question is “not enough.”  However, the answer to the second question is “we can do a lot.”

For decades,

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Why politics matters — what we’ve won and the work ahead

This is my 16th year as a Teamster. I was hired as political director in 2010 right after the merger of Joint Councils 7 and 38. That merger united more than 100,000 Teamsters from Bakersfield to the Oregon border and Reno under one tent. Overnight, we became one of the largest Joint Councils in the Teamsters. In fact, our Council is larger than 41 states.

I was hired to build political power so we can organize new workers into the Teamsters and negotiate the best wages and working conditions for our members.

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Success in stopping Amazon’s expansion in its tracks

Last September, Joint Council 7 launched our campaign challenging Amazon’s rapid expansion plans in the Bay Area. In particular, we set our sights on the company’s plans to build a giant distribution center in San Francisco on property purchased from one of Teamster Local 350’s largest employers, Recology. This project directly threatened 1,400 Teamster Local 2785 members at UPS.

Our campaign won on March 22 when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed legislation imposing interim zoning controls on that project and on all parcel delivery stations in San Francisco for the next 18 months. 

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Fighting our biggest target yet — Amazon

The COVID-19 pandemic led to an explosion in online shopping. Teamsters in many industries are working harder than ever. UPS, our largest employer, hired 50,000 Teamsters since the pandemic began. And with the holidays coming up, UPS just announced plans to hire 100,000 more seasonal workers.

Amazon is UPS’ largest customer. Amazon has also rapidly become the second largest employer in the U.S. The company hired 500,000 people last year and just announced plans to hire another 125,000 warehouse workers and 50,000 delivery drivers by the end of the year.

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Why Teamsters should vote No on the anti-union recall

In 2018, Teamsters Joint Council 7 supported Gavin Newsom’s election to Governor. In fact, we’ve been with him since his first run for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1996. Why? Because he’s been with us. That’s why we’re supporting him now and recommend that all members vote NO on the recall. The election has been set for September 14, 2021.

Newsom was in San Francisco government from 1996-2011, first as a county supervisor and then as mayor.

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Politics matter!

As this paper goes to press, the U.S. Congress just passed legislation unlike any we’ve seen in our lifetimes. As reported in this issue’s cover story, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) will protect Teamster pensions in struggling plans-—a victory the union has fought long and hard for through 20 years of Democrat and Republican administrations.

Thankfully, our Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Fund is in strong shape but, to keep it that way,

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Numbers don’t lie

This last November, Joint Council 7 ran the largest election program in our history. The pandemic did not stop us from talking with more of our members than ever before, using a combination of boots on the ground, phone banking, and text messages. I am proud to say that every single local union participated. Hundreds of Teamsters worked this campaign throughout the state, from members to business agents to local union political coordinators and principal officers.

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Voting: The most important thing you can do as a Teamster!

Most of you are registered to vote and you vote in every election. Thank you.

Unfortunately, far too many Teamsters just don’t vote. What will it take to get everyone registered and voting this year, which may be the most important election of our lifetime?

As a union, we do most of our work directly with our employers, negotiating and enforcing contracts. But I can’t emphasize enough the importance of the electoral process to our long-term survival and effectiveness.

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Coronavirus and jobs: what we know and don’t know

Over 100 days into the COVID-19 pandemic, California and the rest of the United States are grappling with unemployment numbers this country has not seen since the Great Depression. In California alone, almost 30% of workers have filed for unemployment. For workers of color, women, low-wage workers, and workers without college degrees, the numbers are even higher. Add to this nearly 500,000 undocumented workers and over 400,000 “independent contractors” in California and the numbers are staggering.

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The pandemic highlights the need for issues Joint Council 7 has championed

It’s been ten years since Rome Aloise was elected president of Joint Council 7, merging it with Joint Council 38. The merger created one of the largest and most powerful Teamster organizations in the U.S., covering critical industrial and political power centers including Sacramento, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and the nation’s breadbaskets of the Central and Salinas valleys.

Since that time, Joint Council 7 led on so many issues vital to defending and rebuilding worker power in California and throughout the country. 

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