Workers need unions, and our children who are entering the workforce depend on today’s Teamsters to keep our union strong just as we depended on the Teamsters that came before us.
July 02, 2018
Sisters and Brothers,
Amazon recently announced a wage increase to a minimum of $15 for all of its workers. This decision is a direct result of public and political pressure on the company as reports of worker abuse and safety violations are mounting. However, the giant internet retailer is free to display a public act of generosity while simultaneously cutting employees’ bonuses and stock awards. This happens because the company is not held accountable internally for the decisions taken which directly affect the employees.
The Teamsters shop that you are working at, at one point, had no union. The workers at that location had to make the daunting decision to change how things are. They risked their position and their families' livelihoods to stand together as one and break through their employer’s resistance. They demanded that their right to negotiate with the employer for wages, working conditions, and benefits be recognized, and they won their fight.
We cannot forget these fights, and many of us never do. Our Sisters and Brothers who keep our union strong step out of the daily routine to advocate for co-workers. These are the shop stewards and member leaders who understand that our strength is in our unity and that solidarity is our weapon. They have the same work and family obligations as the rest of us, but they choose to lead, learn, and stand up for fairness at work. They sit through contract negotiations, dispel anti-union propaganda, and constantly organize their peers for strength.
At the membership meeting in September, we honored many members who sat on the negotiations committees and the graduates of our first ever Teamsters Leadership Academy who dedicated their time for eight months to cultivate their leadership and worker advocacy skills. It is important that we all recognize the hard work, passion, and dedication of members who step up to the task and become the advocates of our union to keep us strong and move us forward.
Workers need unions, and our children who are entering the workforce depend on today’s Teamsters to keep our union strong just as we depended on the Teamsters that came before us. Let us never forget that we stand on the shoulders of our predecessors and it is our duty to preserve and build upon their efforts.
As a steward myself I can understand your feelings. Many feel this way. If situations arise and we feel ourselves picked upon, who do we go to? The Union. Who else will stand up for us and get us our rights? There are many fine stewards out there and reps to back them up. Without each other we will fall. We are always strong united. Our union is merely a guide for or rights and bargaining. Since the Janus decision a true realization needs to be made. Who Is our union and what do they stand for? The answer is that the union is you, the members. The ones with the true power are me, you, we and everyone. In a closed shop environment it is a resigned feeling, but in a open shop we can exercise out true feelings and be truly effective with a feeling of free choice. We will stand up for our co-workers regardless, and thats what the union stands for.
This is what has actually taken place. We as members have now been given the option to not pay for a service that we are not receiving. We no longer have to contribute to political agendas, and campaigns that we do not agree with. We can now hold our Union accountable with the hopes that they might finally work for us and earn the dues that they have been receiving for the last 40 years.
I encourage all of our members to take the initiative and rescind your contributions until our Union proves it’s worth and gains for us the basic requests that we have been bringing to their attention for many years now. For example, TEAMSTERSRETIREMENTANDANNUALCOST OF LIVINGINCREASES, only to name a few. I understand that you will tell our members that the retirement is not a feasible request, but we all know that where there is a will there is a way.
Work for us and we will in turn express our gratitude in the form of a monetary contribution. Where, other than a union entity can you receive a substantial salary (IN EXCESS OF 6 FIGURES), in exchange for substandard labor, (or lack thereof).
So John, I would like to challenge you and your colleagues. I ask that you have the integrity and confidence to openly provide to your members the necessary information to cease their contributions if they so choose. Let our response as the members express our thoughts and feelings to whether we have received equal services in exchange for our hard earned wages.
If you are confident that you have listened to your members, that you have acted as our voice, and if you truly believe that you fought diligently and tirelessly for our benefit, then you should have no qualms or concerns by providing this as an option. So please John, provide the appropriate information to the below inquiries.
-Who do requests to cancel contribution get submitted to?
-What information is required within the request?
-How soon will a request to cease contributions be effective?
Former Teamsters 117 Steward
(Recent) non-dues paying Teamster 117 Member
Secretary-Treasurer's Message: With Janus, We Decide