Voting: The most important thing you can do as a Teamster!September 22, 2020
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.
Nationally, the President, Congress, and the courts broadly oversee workers and unions. This includes whether the National Labor Relations Board is pro-worker or anti-union, which directly affects our ability to organize swift and fair union elections and determines rules for union certification and bargaining. Pensions are overseen on the federal level. Will there be support for hard-hit pensions that helps ensure that workers can enjoy the retirement they worked for or will those programs continue to languish in distress? Will Social Security and Medicare be supported or gutted? Are there funds for jobs programs to help those laid off due to COVID-19?
Locally and on a statewide basis, jobs are also a key issue. What kind of policies are in place to keep public workers on the payroll? Will safety and health laws be enforced, particularly during the pandemic? Nevada is already a “right to work” state; can we ensure that doesn’t happen in California?
These, and so many more issues that impact our rights at work and our rights as union members, will be decided this November. As a voter, you have a voice and a say on each of these issues.
Every election, your local union takes the time to interview politicians who are running for office—from school boards to city councils to state offices. We study ballot measures, weigh our choices, and come up with recommendations on who and what to vote for. We don’t care what political party people are with when we sit down with them. We just want to hear how they are going to protect our paychecks, our health care, our pensions, and our communities. And remember, those who are school board members today might be running for Congress in a few years; we need pro-worker friends at all levels.
If you share our concerns, take a look at our endorsements when you sit down to fill out your ballot. They are here in the newsletter and the complete and updated list is available at:
While the presidential election is key to the future of labor and democracy, a California initiative—Prop 22—would be devastating to the future of work. This proposition was put on the ballot by Uber and Lyft to protect their ability to misclassify workers as “independent contractors.” If it passes, it will undermine our good union jobs as well as the social safety net that we rely on. It’s bad for public and private workers alike, as new “gig” companies are already seeking to get work subcontracted to their app-based model.
Elections are important. They impact our lives. We have a say in what happens when we vote, but only IF we vote.
So far, the only positive thing I can say about COVID-19 is that it has turned the 2020 election into a vote-by-mail election. On October 5, California will mail a ballot to every registered voter in California that they can return in a pre-stamped envelope. If you prefer to vote in person, that option is open as well.
At the risk of sounding dramatic, the future of the Teamsters is up for election this year with Prop. 22. We can’t beat Prop. 22 unless we vote. Please take the time to fill out your ballot and stick it back in the mail—and be sure to sign the envelope.
If you are not registered to vote, you have until October 19 to do it. Like voting, this is easy. Go to:
Men and women fought and died for the right to vote in this country. In other states, Teamsters are fighting voter ID and other laws designed to silence their voices. Let’s honor their sacrifices and cast our ballots!