At the Teamsters Convention, Teamster power and pride is everywhere you look. In the streets, in the restaurants, and in the hotels - Teamster power T-Shirts, polos, buttons, stickers, placards, and pins.
But it’s not just the horses and the other visual representations of our Union you notice. There is a spirit of camaraderie and solidarity in the air. Over 4000 Teamsters - delegates, alternates, and guests - from all across our Union are gathered together in one place, sharing experiences.
Members greet each other in the elevators, ask for Local Unions of origin, and then swap pins. They strike up conversations outside the convention halls and strategize over nationwide organizing drives, legislative efforts, and contract campaigns.
Leaving these conversations, you can’t help but feel energized and ready to take information and ideas back home.
“I’m looking forward to absorbing as much as I can and bringing it back to the membership,” said Carrie Barnett, a Local 117 member at King County.
Matt Collins, a member at Fred Meyer and a delegate to the convention, concurred: “This is a great way to gain experience and make connections. We’re all the same, we’re all Teamsters.”
The 29th IBT Teamsters Convention kicked off with musical performances, video, the color guard, and the national anthems of the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico.
Then we got down to business. Members and staff reported on recent organizing wins and political victories where Teamster candidates were elected to political office.
The delegates adopted a resolution to fight unfair trade deals, like the Trans Pacific Partnership, that outsource good, family-wage jobs.
We heard an update from our Union’s Public Services Division on the outcome of the Friedrichs case that had the potential to weaken the collective bargaining power of members in our public sector shops.
A stalemate on the U.S. Supreme Court led to a favorable ruling for unions, but the message was clear: We need to continue to engage members, build member leadership, and organize internally to strengthen our union.
After lunch, Tom Morello, of Rage Against the Machine, performed a rousing set that ended with delegates called up onto the stage to sing Solidarity Forever.
Takeaways from the first day of this event are pretty simple: Our Teamsters Union is proud and strong and our Local Union, under the leadership of Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy, is on the right track. We are engaging in the bold, necessary work to win strong contracts, build union density through organizing, and take on legislative and political fights to benefit our members.
Learn more about the convention here.