Local unions from across the U.S. and Canada were represented today by officers and business agents attending the annual Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference. On the agenda were reports from the Teamsters Political/Legislative, Strategic Campaigns and Capital Strategies departments.
Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President, spoke first about the impressive gains the union has made over the past year and how now it represents 1,425,000 overall. “We are winning organizing elections like no other union. In Las Vegas we now represent members at the Wynn hotel and casino and the Hard Rock hotel and casino. We are going strong.”
“The victory over right to work legislative in Missouri was a huge win for us last year,” Hoffa said. “We dedicated funds and staff to this effort and we won! This, along with the recent ratification of the Anheuser-Busch contract at 88% show people that we are the union to belong to.”
The conference also heard a report highlighting the many victories working people had in last year’s national elections including the defeat of anti-labor candidates in Illinois and Wisconsin.
A financial report giving an overview of the union’s strike fund and general fund was delivered by Ken Hall, General Secretary-Treasurer. “We have a strong strike fund – with over $210 million, but we also need to protect the assets of our union.” In addition, Hall spoke about the need for allocating the right resources to ensure that we are prepared when negotiating contracts so that we can win.
After the main plenary meeting, a breakout meeting was held with local unions representing Coca Cola to review the past year’s successes and to develop strategies for the coming year of negotiations.