Extraordinary things happen when Teamsters get together. That was evident throughout the 29th International Convention of the Teamsters Union in June and July.
More than 1,600 delegates and 4,000 retirees and guests from across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico gathered to reflect on our union’s successes since the last Convention in 2011. At the Convention, we charted a course for the future of our union, heard from some amazing guest speakers and performers, and celebrated the unity of the Teamster family. One of the most significant things we accomplished was increasing strike benefits.
At the 28th International Convention in 2011, we set a number of lofty goals. Five years ago, we said we’d end the Consent Decree. We did it. We promised to organize the unorganized like never before. We did it. We organized more than 300,000 new workers in the past decade, including 40,000 new school bus drivers.
At the last Convention, we resolved to organize FedEx. Five years later, we’ve got FedEx Freight at the bargaining table. We also promised to organize Con-way, and despite that they’ve changed their name to XPO, we are in the process of organizing them.
At our last Convention we talked about organizing port drivers in California. Since then, we organized 500 new drivers in an organizing campaign that some said couldn’t be done. Also since the last Convention, we won on misclassification—California port drivers are no longer independent contractors but employees. New port drivers showed up and spoke about what it now means to them to be Teamsters.
We also talked about the challenges facing our union, including bad trade deals, corporate mergers and right-to-work legislation popping up in states nationwide. But with Teamster Power, we know there is nothing that we can’t overcome.
I’m proud of the progress the Teamsters Union has made in the past five years, but there is still much work to be done. There are still more workers to organize and more battles to be fought. It won’t be easy, but victories never are.
The Teamsters Union is ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work on the next five years.