Demand Bailout for Struggling Pension Funds at 28th International Convention
(LAS VEGAS) – Delegates to the 28th International Brotherhood of Teamsters Convention unanimously approved a resolution to prosecute chief executives and other Wall Street players responsible for the global financial crisis of 2008.
“How come not a single Wall Street CEO has gone to jail after destroying the economy,” said Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Tom Keegel. “We demand that Wall Street pay for the crisis.”
Passage of the resolution followed discussions of the devastating impact of Wall Street’s greed and recklessness on the middle class. The “Putting Working Families First, Make Wall Street Pay,” resolution states that not only have there been no prosecutions of anyone directly responsible for the financial crisis, but “not a single worker, pension fund, or home owner, has received a government “bailout,” while the government spent trillions bailing out Wall Street financial institutions.” The resolution demanded:
The prosecution of the CEOs and other Wall Street players directly responsible for destroying the economy and the jobs, homes, and living standards of millions of Americans, and
A financial rescue package for struggling pension funds, and
A moratorium on home foreclosures, and
That Wall Street banks be forced to restructure the debt obligations of struggling companies that would otherwise be forced to shut down and eliminate jobs.
There is no better example of the impact of the financial crisis on Teamsters than trucking company YRCW.
“While Wall Street schemed to profit from YRCW’s failure, we gathered our best ideas and were able to keep the company afloat and 25,000 Teamster members working,” Keegel said.
Local 41 member Carl Barelli, a 31-year Teamster, said critics were wrong in urging union leaders to let YRCW go bankrupt.
“It’s about saving the one thing absolutely vital to all of us – jobs, good-paying union jobs that allow us to provide a very good way of life for our families,” Barelli said.
Another resolution chastised Congress for failing to help multi-employer pension funds, despite a massive lobbying and mobilization campaign by the Teamsters.
Delegates on the third day of the Convention also discussed strategies for fighting back in the war on workers unleashed by anti-union politicians who recently came to political power, including the need to be politically active and to contribute to DRIVE, the Teamster political action committee.
“Big business spends money in Washington to buy members of Congress and push it’s anti-worker agenda,” said General President Jim Hoffa. “They outspend working families on politics by more than 15 to 1.”
Steve Vairma, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 455 in Denver, said Teamsters must hold elected officials in both parties accountable. “You need to stop hiding in the halls of Congress,” he said. “You better be damn proud to say the word ‘union.’”
Other speakers included UAW President Bob King, Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel, a Teamster and Local 25 member and Army specialist John P. Murphy, who is on leave from serving in Afghanistan. The convention also honored eight Teamsters who were killed last year in a workplace shooting at Hartford Distributors in Manchester, Conn., and the death of Teamster Jayme Biendl, who was killed on the job as a Washington state corrections officer in January.
According to the Teamster Constitution, the International Convention, held every five years, is the supreme policymaking body of the union with the power and authority to modify the Constitution, establish programs, address fiscal issues and set priorities. This week, delegates will consider a number of constitutional measures and resolutions. Delegates also have the important task of nominating candidates for the International offices of General President, General Secretary-Treasurer, Vice President and Trustees.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Go to www.teamster.org for more information.