Sisters and brothers,
Greetings and happy 2018 to you and your family. I wanted to kick off the new year with a topic that is personally important to me as your union's Secretary-Treasurer. It has to do with valuing different perspectives within our union.
With more than 1.4 million members, our international union is made up of working people from a multitude of backgrounds, ethnicities, and races. We represent members in a wide array of jobs and industries, from accountants to zookeepers, and everyone in between.
But as varied as we are, our union staff and leadership has not always reflected the diversity of the membership. One of my priorities as Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117 has been to change that.
The strength of any team is in its ability to solve problems and meet organizational goals better than any one individual can. I believe a diversified team of staff and rank-and-file leaders bring new, different, and creative mindsets and points of views for a stronger union.
Since becoming Secretary-Treasurer, I have also made an effort to bring on staff who speak more than one language.
"Our union's leadership needs to reflect the broader membership."
Our team used to be essentially monolingual. Now we have staff members who speak Spanish, Arabic, Amharic, Russian, Ukrainian, German, and French. This improves communication on the shop floor and engages members that might not typically get involved.
These changes have led to a more diverse network of stewards and other rank-and-file leaders. With the development of new leaders, we are strengthened through cultural enrichment and the exchange of perspectives.
Our union's leadership, whether it be our executive board, our staff or our network of stewards and member leaders, needs to reflect the broader membership.
As Teamsters our diversity is key to our success. When we honor our differences, respect each other for who we are, and stand together as one, there’s no stopping what we can accomplish.