Every Teamster vote counts

As we watched the election results come in, we were reminded just how much every vote counts. The March Presidential Primary had incredibly low turnout. That means there will be races won by very narrow margins. That also means every Teamster vote counts in a much bigger way.

This past election cycle, we endorsed candidates running for county Board of Supervisors, City Council, State Assembly, State Senate, and Congressional seats. Each of our Locals in their respective territories interviewed hundreds of candidates and chose those who we felt best aligned with our Teamster priorities. That meant we endorsed both Democrats and Republicans throughout Joint Council 7 if they agreed with our core Teamster values, had a track record of working with and supporting Teamsters, and committed to standing with workers in the future.

There are many races still waiting to be called, but there are a few I did want to highlight. First and foremost, Senate District 7 has a tight race for the second spot for the runoff in November. Currently, Teamsters 856 member and steward Jovanka Beckles holds a slight lead in this race for the number two spot. In San Francisco, Supervisor Catherine Stefani did overwhelmingly well in her race for Assembly District 19. She has been key in helping us pass a resolution at the SF Board of Supervisors to support AB 2286, our re-introduction of the AV safety operator bill and she is also supportive of our autonomous vehicle (AV) local control bill, SB 915. Her commitment on a local level will translate into support in Sacramento. In Tulare County, we endorsed Republican candidate Sheriff Mike Boudreaux who is in a tight race for the runoff, running in Congressional District 20. He too, has committed that he would support legislation in Congress that would help protect our jobs from autonomous vehicles. Further up the Central Valley in San Joaquin County in Assembly District 13, Rhodesia Ransom is looking to have an easy win in November. As a previous councilmember in Tracy, she helped with organizing campaigns we had in the region. Most recently as the District Director for Congressman Harder, she has been available to help us when it comes to contract issues in that region. Going into Sacramento, in Assembly District 7, Porsche Middleton will go into a runoff against incumbent Josh Hoover, who was one of four legislators to vote against AB 316. In November, this will be one of the most competitive races. In Contra Costa County, City of Pittsburg Councilmember Shanelle Scales-Preston will go into a runoff in November for a Board of Supervisor seat that will lose its labor majority if she doesn’t win. As a councilmember and someone on many different regional boards, she has worked to ensure we have a voice when it comes to AV and pushing back on the transit authority. In San Jose, Councilmember Domingo Candelas who works closely with Locals 350 and 853, and is there when it matters most, came in at the top but will still go into a runoff this November for re-election to the city council.

The last, but certainly not least, race I want to highlight is Congressman Adam Schiff and his win in the primary election ahead of November’s General Election Senate race. He has a proven track record of caring strongly about Teamster jobs. During the UPS contract fight, he wrote and called the CEO to demand a fair contract and during our fight for AB 316, he was the first congressional member to write a letter in support of the legislation, personally calling the Governor to encourage him to sign the bill. Every time we’ve needed support on a strike line, he’s been there showing public support, including when he publicly shamed Transdev during Local 517’s strike.

The common theme of all these candidates is that they have all shown direct action in helping Teamsters, no matter what position they are in. One of the greatest powers we have as Teamsters is our collective ability to vote in a block.

If we vote together, we can elect in pro-Teamster candidates who will work to protect our jobs, no matter what level of government they are running for and no matter what party they are affiliated with. As we approach November, please remember to register to vote, vote in the election, and donate to DRIVE. If we invest in those we elect into office, we are investing in our collective future.

Trish Suzuki Blinstrub, Political Director