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. Many Teamster employers have agreements with the City and County of San Francisco and, during his time, he helped Teamsters win strong contracts in waste and recycling, parking, conventions, and more. He secured prevailing wages and union construction work throughout the city. He pushed for changes to restaurant rules that benefited Teamster liquor and brewery drivers. He walked picket lines with Teamsters and UNITE HERE members in a citywide hotel strike in 2004 and pushed a boycott until the strike settled. He backed the creation of a film tax credit that supports our members in that industry, and last month added another $30 million to that fund as Governor.

In 2010, we supported his run for Lieutenant Governor. His victory secured him a spot on the University of California Board of Regents, where he worked with Local 2010 on multiple issues impacting our members. As Governor, he’s continued to advocate for both UC and California State University Teamsters, signing legislation that protects members from late paychecks, pushing for salary steps and fair pay. As Lieutenant Governor, Newsom also supported the legalization of cannabis and labor peace that has helped pave the way for cannabis workers to join the Teamsters without employer interference.

Newsom easily won the election to Governor and was sworn in on January 7, 2019. Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise and I both attended his inauguration. That year, Newsom signed into law several key Teamster bills, including legislation to contain rate increases for our health care plans. In the face of intense opposition, he also approved Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), the strongest law in the country taking on the misclassification of workers as “independent contractors” instead of employees. AB5 is the most powerful piece of legislation Teamsters have won anywhere in the country on misclassification.

The COVID-19 pandemic touched Teamsters in different ways, but not a single member escaped some impact. No governor in the U.S. has done more to give workers healthier and safer workplaces in response. Governor Newsom expanded COVID-related paid sick leave for Teamster grocery and warehouse workers. He made it easier for Teamsters and others to get workers’ compensation if they got COVID at work. He signed legislation to make sure workers are notified when COVID hits your job site and gave Cal/OSHA the authority to shut down workplaces when they were unsafe. He worked with us to contain a dangerous outbreak at Local 439’s Safeway distribution center in Tracy. Most importantly, after one year, California has both the lowest COVID case rate and the strongest economy out of any state in the country.

On a personal note, Governor Newsom appointed me to the California Future of Work Commission in 2019. Earlier this year, he reappointed me to the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation. In doing so, he is making sure that the voices of over 225,000 California Teamsters are at the table on everything from worker health and safety to automation, benefits, and protecting good jobs.

Behind the recall

We should also take a minute to look at who is behind the recall. A quick look at the contribution records of both committees connected to the recall campaign reveals a list of anti-union organizations and individuals, including big business leaders, millionaire investors, and real estate developers. This is the same cast of characters behind the anti-union ballot initiatives we’ve fought in the past. Labor unions from around the state are uniting to fight this one, too.

Some Teamsters vote Republican and Independent. Some Teamsters may not like Gavin Newsom. In my opinion, this recall election is not about political parties or personalities but is about principles. The main principle here is loyalty. I was taught to stick with the people who support you. Gavin Newsom has been with the Teamsters for 25 years. Vote NO on the recall.

Trish Suzuki Blinstrub, Political Director