Political Director’s Report

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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Projected worker shortage inspires Teamster action for good jobs

Every day, Teamsters business agents throughout the country get requests from employers for new workers. Across our core industries, from trucking to warehousing to busing, workers are in high demand. This is especially true for workers who have commercial drivers licenses.

Economists predict a major shortage of truck drivers in the next decade. Some estimate that 160,000 driving jobs will go unfilled. Much of the blame goes on the trucking industry and the shippers themselves.

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China trade war impacts recycling and Teamster jobs

More than 32,000 Teamsters across the nation work in the Solid Waste and Recycling Division. Every morning, Teamsters are out at the crack of dawn collecting America’s garbage and recyclables.

Unlike other Teamster industries, waste and recycling is concentrated into the hands of a few powerful corporations. Waste Management and Republic Services alone provide collection services to more than half the country. Despite this, the Teamsters are growing and organizing in this industry.

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California Teamsters take on Sacramento to call for end to worker misclassification

Teamsters from more than 15 local unions within California Joint Councils 7 and 42 took part in a hearing and lobby day in Sacramento in support of legislation to help end misclassification. The Lobby Day was sponsored by the California Labor Federation.

In April, the California Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. vs Superior Court of Los Angeles, referred to as “Dynamex,” simplified the test for determining whether a worker is classified as an employee for minimum wage and overtime protections.

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Joint Council 7 goes big — and wins big — in November election

 

The merger of Joint Councils 7 and 38 in 2010 united more than 100,000 Teamsters in 23 local unions covering a vast territory—50 of California’s 58 counties and all of Northern Nevada. Despite this, our 2010 endorsement list was only two pages long. We made endorsements in most of the federal and statewide races, but at the local level – city councils, county boards of supervisors, school boards, and ballot measures – we mostly stayed out.

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