By Rome Aloise —
We are nine months into a year so bizarre that no fiction writer in the world could have dreamed up the unprecedented scenario we are all going through. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life for everyone and perhaps has changed life for workers for the future.
Economic effects of the pandemic
Of course, Teamsters have been essential workers from the very beginning—making sure that life-sustaining products were in the stores and hospitals so that the rest of society could survive and function.
Our UPS drivers, pre-sort workers, and loaders are working phenomenally long hours, under horrific conditions, making sure the public gets items delivered to their homes that they otherwise might have to do without. UPS package cars are filled to the brim; drivers have hundreds of stops; and still, the work is not getting done. All this is before the “busy season” starts next month.
Our grocery members are still busier than ever. Since the beginning of the shutdown, they carried essential goods all over the Joint Council 7 area. Our members are the heroes of this crisis, plain and simple.
Also, we cannot forget the members who have been laid off, many without pay, dependent on an unemployment system that is overwhelmed and, now, underfunded because of the Republican’s insistence on both lessening the dollars provided by the federal government and placing restrictions and hurdles on qualifying. Hopefully, Congress will move on this and continue payments to our many members who are suffering right now.
Devastation from fires
If all of this weren’t enough, the devastating fires are back, and yet again, we have a number of members who have lost their homes, had to be evacuated, and are displaced. For some of them, this is the second time around. Our Joint Council 7 All Charities Fund, along with help from the International Union, is stepping up to assist our members who have been impacted by another calamity. As we all choke due to the ash and smoke in the air, I don’t even want to ask, “What’s next?” as I know I won’t like the answer!
Our front page signals every Union’s position in California on the dangerous and treacherous Proposition 22. This proposition, fueled by almost $200 million dollars from Uber and Lyft, will undercut the very foundation of what Teamster jobs are about. These companies operate outside the law, and refuse to pay into Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, state disability, workers compensation, and other employee benefits, are, in effect, using your tax dollars to fund their campaign to continue to undermine the social safety net we all depend upon at one time or another. That’s the same as stealing right out of your pocket.
Don’t believe their slickly- produced commercials that the drivers for Uber/Lyft would lose their jobs if Prop 22 doesn’t pass. There is nothing about their jobs that prevents them from being classified as employees or from getting the benefits to which they are entitled. There’s nothing to stop the companies from paying into the funds that benefit all of us. NOTHING! Their slick, $200 million dollar campaign is about GREED and nothing else.
If Prop 22 passes, don’t think that your job is safe. Any job can be turned into an “app-based” job, and then employers—even good union employers—could change their employment model and stop paying your benefits. The competition would be too stiff, otherwise.
If you are not yet registered, please register to vote. You can do it easily by going on-line to: registertovote.ca.gov. When your ballot comes in the mail, mark it and mail it back immediately. Our endorsements are in this edition and on our website.
Our endorsements are a result of extensive interviews with the candidates and discussions over propositions. Our evaluation is based on what and who will be good or bad for Teamsters.
Vote to preserve your livelihood, your income, and your job—that is what protects you and your family.