Temperatures had sunk to negative digits when a package full of Teamster GOTV t-shirts arrived in Minnesota last week. It was a freezing Friday morning and field coordinators joked that GOTV ski masks would have been more apt attire for such a cold snap, but Teamsters in the North Star State refused to let a frigid forecast get in the way of the early voting effort.
For Local 120 Political Director Paul Slattery, the weeks leading up to Super Tuesday would be critical, especially in Minnesota—one of the few states in the country with the luxury of early voting by mail. For the past week, he has been crisscrossing the state, traveling from worksite to worksite to urge members to vote in the March 3 primary.
By Friday, Slattery had already visited Kemp’s Dairy in Rochester, First Student yards in Oakdale and Arlington, and First Transit yards in Roseville and Burnsville. That morning he was meeting with workers at Murphy’s Warehouse in Shakopee.
“The local is here to remind you all to vote in the primary on Super Tuesday and give you the opportunity to vote by mail,” Slattery told the crowd of Local 122 members at Murphy’s Warehouse. “There is no excuse not to vote in this election.”
John Trettin Jr., a forklift operator at Murphy Warehouse and second-generation Teamster with Local 120, was already looking forward to casting his vote in Minnesota’s primary. The union GOTV effort that morning was just another reminder of what was at stake for working people this election.
“We are excited to make our voice heard. This election isn’t about one particular party or candidate, it’s about the issues facing workers. This election is about policy over politics—for me and my co-workers, it is all about who will look out for workers,” Tettin said, noting that he plans to vote for the candidate who “understands the importance of workers having a union in their corner.”
By Monday, warmer air had returned to the state and Local 120 was at it again, with Slattery cooking hotdogs and encouraging workers at UNFI to make sure their voices are heard on Super Tuesday.
“Although the primary field is still crowded, Teamsters in Minnesota are united this election when it comes to voting for candidates who support workers and understand the value unions bring to this country. It’s time we have a president who will fight for us,” said Tom Erickson, President of Local 120. “There’s too much at stake to take any vote for granted.”
The Teamsters Union has not endorsed a presidential candidate, and instead has made a concerted effort to get all the candidates on the record on key union priorities such as pension reform and collective bargaining rights. Go towww.teamstersvote.com to see where the candidates stand on the issues and then take the Teamsters Preference Poll to rank the candidates in order of your preference.