A lot of politicians pay lip service to the middle class and to the labor movement. But when a candidate is actually from the middle class and a part of the labor movement, it’s a different story. On Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 6), Teamsters will be on the ballot in states nationwide and they need your support. We need more working people in public office to represent the interests of working people, and a win for a Teamster candidate is a win for the middle class. Here are the Teamsters who need your support on Election Day.
Luis Arroyo Jr. for Reelection
Luis Arroyo Jr. is a lifelong public servant, community activist and resident of Chicago who is running for reelection as a Cook County (Chicago) Board Commissioner (8th District).
“After being a Teamster for more than 20 years and working as a public servant and community activist in Chicago’s Northwest Side, I saw the need to become part of a new generation of leadership in Cook County,” Arroyo said. “I was sworn in as one of the youngest Commissioners on December 1, 2014, and have since worked to serve the working men and women of Cook County.”
As an 18-year union member, he is deeply committed to protecting public employee jobs and benefits. He believes strongly that economic growth for working families means stable, safe and vibrant communities.
Arroyo’s core issues are to reform the criminal justice system, accessibility of affordable health care, prevention of further cuts to mental health programs, and to promote economic job growth and development.
Right-to-Work Opponent on Ballot in Illinois
Angie Bodine, a member of Local 777 in Illinois, is running for State Representative in Illinois’ 69th district.
As a progressive, Bodine is running because she believes that her district deserves better than the representation they currently have.
She believes that the incumbent, Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R), has let the community down and avoids tough votes.
“My opponent is actively attacking working families in our state. He is a proponent of right-to-work legislation in Illinois, one of the chief sponsors of the school voucher program and wants to cut pensions for teachers and employees,” Bodine said.
Her biggest platforms are economic development, job creation and bringing passenger rail service to the 69th district. Bodine said that the biggest complaint about Rep. Sosnowski in the district is that he isn’t independent enough to get the job done and ignores the wishes of his constituents.
Illinois’ 69th district is made up of Belvidere, Caledonia, Capron, Chery Valley and other municipalities.
Bodine describes her community as one filled with working families, single parents, unemployed, caregivers and students.
“I want to bring my community’s ideas and problems downstate. I want to bring back solutions because we deserve better,” Bodine said.
Kurtz, Montgomery Carry Teamster Flag in Iowa
The Iowa House has become a hot spot for Teamster candidates this November.
Former Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 391 President Jeff Kurtz and Local 238 member Reenie Montgomery, a union steward, are both Democratic nominees in their races this fall. And they are fighting to win.
Kurtz won a three-way primary race for the District 83 seat with 56.6 percent of the vote in June. He’ll face off against Republican Jeffrey Reichman in the fall, with hopes of replacing state Rep. Jerry Kearns (D), who announced he would not seek another term earlier this year.
Besides his BLET post, Kurtz also served as Iowa State Legislative Board Chairman from 2004-2014, where he lobbied extensively for rail safety at both state and federal levels. He retired from the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad in 2014 after working there more than 40 years.
Kurtz said he was recruited by the Teamsters, other unions and party officials to run for the seat when Kearns announced his retirement. He has stressed the need for economic development and improving public schools and public services as part of his campaign.
But he said Iowa’s decision to curb collective bargaining also played a role. “With stagnating raises, it makes no sense to curtail the bargaining power of unions,” he said.
Meanwhile, Montgomery ran uncontested for the Democratic nomination for her District 96 seat. She will face incumbent state Rep. Lee Hein in the fall. She is a former Monticello city councilwoman who currently works for the Manchester Police Department as a dispatcher for the Delaware County Communications Center.
“My top priority will be asking the residents of Delaware and Jones Counties what their needs are at the state level,” she said in a statement announcing her campaign. “I’ll work to expand state support for our local schools. I’ll also work to keep health care and mental health services affordable and available locally as well as find new ways to add value to the crops of our local farmers.”
Similar to Kurtz, she decided to run for the seat after Iowa enacted its law stripping public sector workers of their collective bargaining rights. “We, as working Iowans, deserve to bargain for our benefits,” she said.
Teamster Leader for Maine House Seat
Ray Cote is the Recording Secretary and business agent for Local 340 in South Portland, Maine. He’s also trying to replace an incumbent as the representative for District 72 in the Maine House of Representatives.
He’s running against an incumbent Republican in a heavily Republican district, but as someone who stands up for working people, Cote believes his message will resonate.
“I am a pro-labor Democrat who believes in the right to strike for public sector employees,” Cote said. He is also against right-to-work restrictions, in favor of binding arbitration and single payer health care.
Cote said his experience as a business agent has prepared him for the election and for holding office.
“A Teamster business agent is an elected position where you’re out representing different groups of people, workers, bargaining units…it can be extremely tough, but it prepares you for everything out there that I might otherwise face,” Cote said.
Roger Parsons for County Commission
Roger Parsons is a current At-Large County Commissioner for Swain County, N.C. Prior to serving on the Swain County Commission, he was also a member of the Swain County Board of Education for over 16 years. He was appointed to the Swain County Commission last year and is running for to be elected to his first full term this November. In his role as an elected official, Parsons is responsible for overseeing the municipal services the county provides, such as emergency management, waste management, health and social services, maintenance of the county’s parks and recreational facilities and much more.
Parsons retired from UPS after 37 years of service as a package car driver, but he is still an active dues-paying member of Local 61. During his time as a driver, he served in a number of roles in Local 61, including shop steward, President, Vice President and Executive Board Member. Parsons said that his time in Local 61 was a formative experience that prepared him for public service.
“Being a Teamster in a leadership position, it ingrained in me the need to fight whenever injustice is being done,” Parsons said. “As a shop steward and officer at Local 61, I fought for my Teamster brothers and sisters, and now I’m fighting for the working men and women, the blue-collar Americans, of Swain County.”
Parsons also said that he was grateful for the opportunities he had been given throughout his career in public service.
“I’ve been blessed that I got the chance to do all of this stuff. I was fortunate enough to earn the trust of people as a shop steward and as a union officer, and I’ve been fortunate enough to earn trust of other people to operate as county commissioner. I love what I do,” he said.
Nevada Teamster Running for Statehouse Seat
A Local 986 shop steward won a seven-way Democratic primary race for a state House seat in Nevada.
Susan Martinez, a 30-year employee at the Flamingo Hotel on the Las Vegas strip, won 46 percent of the vote in beating back her opposition. She will now go on to face Republican Richard Fletcher and Mary Martinez of the Independent American Party in the November general election, with the winner representing District 12, which takes in east Las Vegas and parts of its suburbs.
Martinez said she understands the needs of her district, which she has lived in for more than two decades. Her top priorities include improving the educational system and repealing the state’s right-to-work law.
“I want to encourage people and businesses here to have respect for labor unions and their contracts,” she said. “Labor is the engine that keeps this state moving. Unions should set the standard for things like prevailing wage and working conditions. Workers across the whole state benefit when unions are strong.”
She noted that both her parents were culinary union members in Las Vegas, and it was due to their union jobs that they could provide for the family of six. She also said she has been able to make a life for herself and her daughter due to being a Teamster.
“Two generations of my family have benefitted from union membership, and I want to pay that forward to the next generation of working families in Nevada,” she said.
Local 707’s Kevin McCaffrey Fights for Working Families
Kevin McCaffrey, President of Local 707 in Long Island, N.Y., is serving his third term as a Suffolk County (New York) legislator, and he has a strong record of standing up for the interests of working families.
McCaffrey, a 40-year Teamster who serves the residents of the 14th legislative district, was first elected to the county post in November 2013, and co-sponsored a bill that made sure the county only hired contractors who graduated through certified apprenticeship programs. Also, when workers were on strike at Verizon, “I stood up and said the county should use only phone providers that treat workers with dignity and respect.”
During an 82-day strike involving Local 812 and Clare Rose, the Anheuser-Busch distributor for Long Island, McCaffrey said he helped bring elected officials to the table to assist in the resolution of the strike, which ended successfully for the union. McCaffrey also worked with Local 813 to make sure any solid waste bids that go out for any municipality in Suffolk County are in compliance with prevailing wages.
McCaffrey said his support for workers in the county has resulted in campaign contributions from Teamsters and others from many areas inside and outside the county.
“They want to support candidates who will stand up for working men and women,” McCaffrey said.
McCaffrey, who is seeking a fourth term in November 2019, said he also has focused on getting the county’s financial house in order without doing so “on the backs of working men and women.”
Before serving as a county legislator, McCaffrey was deputy mayor of Lindenhurst, N.Y. and a village trustee for 23 years. A Republican, McCaffrey has a long record of bipartisan cooperation.
Local 312 Leader Plans to Fight for Workers in Harrisburg
Dave Delloso knows what it’s like to work hard and fight. The President and principal officer of Local 312 in Chester, Pa. began his career driving a delivery truck before moving into a leadership role with the union. Now he would like to bring that attitude to the Pennsylvania Statehouse.
“I am running for the working person, the wage earner,” the Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania House Seat 162 said. “I am repulsed at the idea that $15 per hour is a livable wage and that an employer somehow figures they have an unalienable right to exploit your labor for such a measly sum.”
Delloso, who ran unopposed in the primary, has a good shot of winning the seat. The former Marine said the Republican-led House hasn’t been watching out for hardworking Pennsylvanians. Too often, he noted, party leadership kowtows to big business and bends to their will.
“I want to go to Harrisburg and represent a class of people that are tired of being forsaken,” he said. “I want to work toward fair wages, benefits, health care and a dignified retirement in a community of clean air, water and land.” Delloso also wants to institute equitable taxation as well as full funding of public schools in the state.
Those kinds of changes are needed, he said, especially for the members of the middle class who are often economically teetering between making it and falling behind. He added that he believes it is his responsibility to leave a better world a better place than it was when he entered it.
Delloso originally joined the Teamsters in 1986 as a driver for Collingdale Millwork and Lumber. He then left the union to become an independent truck in 1989 before returning to the union as a driver in 1994. He moved up from shop steward to the top position at Local 312 in 2008.
Labor Candidate in Pennsylvania
When a 36-year incumbent in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives decided to retire, Steve Malagari, a Teamster and Lansdale Borough Council member decided to run for the seat.
Pennsylvania’s 53rd district had their primary recently and Malagari won with 61.3 percent of the vote.
“I am the only labor candidate in this race,” he said. “I wanted to serve my community and serving on Borough Council was a great way of doing it. The reason I am running for State Representative is to also serve my community on a larger scale.”
Malagari is a member of Local 830 in Philadelphia and is employed at Gretz Beer.
“As a candidate and member of my community, I have seen firsthand the need for greater investment in our public education system, vital infrastructure improvements and protecting our senior population from losing their public pensions and social services provided by the state. I am opposed to right-to-work legislation in Pennsylvania.”
What You Can Do
We need a huge turnout from Teamster members to support our endorsed candidates this fall! Here are three things you can do to help:
Make a Plan
Are you going to vote early or on Election Day? What time are you planning to vote? Do you know your polling location? Visit vote.org to look up your polling location, find out the early voting rules in your state and get poll opening and closing times.
Visit ibt.io/get-involved to sign up for action alerts and follow us on Twitter at @teamstersdrive and Facebook at Facebook.com/teamstersdrive for the latest news.
Bring A Friend
If you have read this far, you are probably planning to vote this November. You can still help get out the vote by bringing someone to the polls that might not vote otherwise. If every Teamster brings out an additional voter, that’s a lot of extra votes for worker-friendly candidates.