Registering Members To Vote

Coast-to-coast efforts are under way at locals and Joint Councils to register voters and increase participation in this year’s election. It’s especially important for Teamsters to be voters this fall. Opponents of labor are still mounting an all-out war on workers. The high-profile attacks in Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin were just the beginning.

California Teamsters from Local 856 in San Bruno were out recently registering many of their their union brothers and sisters. They set up tents and tables in the parking lot outside Delta Dental, where Local 856 members work. Elsewhere in California, locals 986, 572, 439, 630, 63, 396 and 853 have been charging ahead with voter registration by having their business agents sign up members at their worksites at a nearly nonstop pace.

“Our state has a lot on the line and our members know that,” said Randy Cammack, International Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of Local 63.

“By going facility to facility, our business agents have registered hundreds of new voters,” said Randy Korgan, Trustee of Local 630.

Washington state Teamsters are reaching out in new ways to members. Joint Council 28 in Seattle is working with a coalition partner to test messages and outreach to their members who haven’t registered to vote or have changed their addresses.

“We are also trying out a phone app provided by the Washington Secretary of State called ‘WA Votes’ to help members register to vote online and update their mailing addresses,” said Rick Hicks, President of Joint Council 28. “Business Agent Abe Taylor of Local 174 walked around warehouses and driver bays with his phone app and resolved hundreds of voter registration issues in just a few days.”

Boots on the Ground

Greg Floyd, President of Local 237 in New York City, is planning a September voter registration drive. With more than 14,000 registered voters, Local 237 takes voting very seriously. “Our local has traditionally had an aggressive voter registration program,” Floyd said. “Our members understand how important it is to vote since many of their departments’ budgets are controlled by elected officials.”

In New Jersey, Local 469 is planning for a voter registration drive to coincide with a shop steward meeting. “In addition to making sure our members are registered to vote, we will also have another drive at a local shopping mall,” said Fredrick Potter, International Vice President and President of Local 469.

Voters in Michigan are planning to make a change in their state constitution that supports collective bargaining.

“Last year, Michigan public services workers lost a great deal when the right to collectively bargain was taken away,” said David Robinson, President of Joint Council 43 in Detroit. “Now we are working with all the trade unions in the state to reverse that decision with a constitutional amendment. Re-establishing collective bargaining rights is one of the most important fights we’ve ever had.”

If you would like to volunteer to help with a voter registration drive in your area, please contact your local union.