(WASHINGTON) — As 2020 presidential hopefuls continue to vie to win working people’s votes, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), representing a diverse 1.4 million members nationwide, today announced the details of a presidential candidate forum focused on issues facing workers. The forum, organized in partnership with The Guardian and The Storm Lake Times, will take place on Saturday, December 7, at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
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Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Steve Bullock, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Bernie Sanders are confirmed to participate. Presidential candidates who agreed to sign the union’s three-point pledge and participated in an on-camera interview with the IBT were invited to attend the forum.
“The Teamsters are proud to welcome candidates, our members, and friends of the union to our presidential candidate forum in Cedar Rapids,” said International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa. “Candidates know the importance of the Teamsters vote in any election, and our members are fully engaged and ready to make a difference in the 2020 election. This forum is a prime opportunity for candidates to tell Teamsters directly why they are the leader who will effectively push for retirement security, stand up for union rights, and go toe-to toe with world leaders on advocating for fair trade policies.”
Candidates will appear individually on stage, where they will take questions from moderators Leslie Marshall and Art Cullen and Teamsters members from Iowa and other key 2020 states. Marshall is a political analyst and host of The Leslie Marshall Show, and Cullen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and editor of The Storm Lake Times. The discussion at the forum will be focused on issues affecting Teamsters and their families.
“America faces a momentous political choice, against a backdrop of escalating inequality and the ongoing erosion of workers’ rights,” said Guardian US editor John Mulholland. “The fact that CEO compensation has risen by 940% over the last 40 years while workers’ pay has risen by 12% in the same period is an outrage. Workers are getting a terrible deal and this type of capitalism simply isn’t working for millions of workers. We are pleased to partner with the Teamsters union to host a special town hall event where workers’ voices will be heard.”
Christian Andrews, a member of Teamsters Local 238 and candidate for state legislature in Iowa House District 95, said: “Presidential hopefuls have been pleading their case as leaders to Iowans for almost a year now, but few have been specific about policies that matter to Teamsters the most: retirement security, work and career opportunity protections, and finally, will our kids and future generations have the opportunity to join a union like ours, Teamsters Local 238?”
The forum announcement comes after the IBT in October announced its 2020 presidential election program to engage with Teamsters members and outline its endorsement process. As the foundation of its 2020 program, the union asked its members to complete a survey in-person or online to provide insight on which issues matter most to working people. The union received more than 22,000 responses from members in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa that revealed the top three issues on members’ minds to be protecting retirement security, collective bargaining and the right to join a union, and fair trade policies.
Presidential candidates looking to win the union’s support are required to sign the IBT’s three-point pledge on key member issues; participate in an on-camera interview; grant card-check neutrality if their campaign staff seeks to form a union; and partner with the union in support of specific organizing campaigns, strike efforts or contract negotiations.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org and www.teamstersvote.com for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.