Teamsters Joint Council 7 leaders are uniting to build a stronger Union to win fair pay, benefits and rights for working people. The 20 powerful Locals in our Joint Council, representing 100,000 hardworking Teamsters across Northern California and Northern Nevada, continue to set the pace for the entire country. As you will see in the pages of this newspaper, our Locals are successfully taking on greedy employers, fighting for and winning strong contracts, and organizing thousands of workers into the union.
In recent months, our Joint Council has been taking on Amazon, one of the richest and most anti-union corporations in history, whose expansion is an existential threat to our core industries and every good union job. Together, we have opposed Amazon’s efforts to expand its unsafe, exploitative operations in our jurisdiction, successfully blocking 12 projects through political action and community support.
We mobilized thousands of UPSers to petition, rally, and picket against that company’s shameful decision to cut the pay of part-timers by eliminating the Market Rate Adjustment. Our efforts inspired Locals across the nation to take similar actions, and have helped to unite and prepare our members for the fight of our lives coming up next year, for a fair contract at UPS.
Our Locals are organizing workers by the thousands, in every industry from warehouse and transportation to food processing to public sector and more.
Our Locals continue to protect our members’ safety, jobs, and income in the face of the deadly pandemic, stopping layoffs, winning safety measures and COVID leave, and negotiating strong contracts.
Our Joint Council has been fighting and winning on the political front, passing important legislation to protect workers’ rights, and helping to elect pro-worker candidates to office. In May, we came together for Labor’s Joint Legislative Conference in Sacramento and for our Annual Teamster Legislative meeting, the first since 2019. We were pleased to have the key leaders of the Senate and Assembly at our event, which shows that they recognize the power of the Teamsters Union.
We are doing a lot as a Joint Council, but we need to do more—much more—to meet the challenges of the moment. Corporate greed is ascendant in our country, as the billionaires and greedy corporations keep getting richer while working people are left behind. The wealthiest individuals and companies have increased their wealth exponentially during the pandemic, while workers have seen wage gains erased by the increased cost of gas, housing, and other essentials. Greedy billionaires are on the attack politically, bankrolling anti-worker ballot initiatives such as Prop. 22, which was aimed at legalizing misclassification and exploitation of contract workers, and the Draper Initiative, which would ban all unions for public workers.
At the same time, we have an unprecedented opportunity to organize and win for workers. Union organizing is exploding across the country. Unions are more popular today than we have been in decades, especially among younger workers—and the Teamsters are the most popular of all. The pandemic showed millions that it’s better to work union—to have power in the workplace, job protection, and a voice at work—always, but especially when our lives and livelihood are on the line. Workers from Amazon to Starbucks to Amy’s Kitchen to the University of California are seeing every day that it’s only when we stand together in a union that we have the power to take on powerful employers and win fairness for workers.
In order to seize those opportunities, our Joint Council leaders are engaging in a strategic planning process to improve every aspect of our union’s work, from organizing to politics to communications to education to representation. We’re the first Joint Council in the International Union to undertake such a process, and it will ensure that we will move forward together for a stronger future.
Step one was for our Executive Board to develop a shared vision, mission statement, and goals, which we did at an all-day planning session in June. Step two will be to bring together all of our Local Union Principal Officers in August to refine the plan and create real action steps to carry it out.
Also in June, we brought together our largest-ever group of members and leaders to our annual Joint Council Seminar. Together, we spent two days planning and learning about how to take on Amazon, organize workers into the Teamsters, build strong campaigns for fair contracts, protect our Teamster pension plan, support injured workers, and more. It was great to see all of our Local leaders in person, united in common purpose after a contentious union election and three years with no in-person conferences due to the pandemic.
Our Joint Council has an unmatched history of winning for workers. The powerful locals and members of Joint Council 7—united and working together—are taking on the challenges.
Our adversaries have lots of money and power but there is no power stronger than the might of working people when we are organized and standing together in our union. And when we stand together—we win together!