Blogwatch

COVID Doesn’t Stop DRIVE for Political Power

4.30.21DRIVEphoto

Despite a challenging year due to the coronavirus pandemic that tested the political fundraising talents of Teamster locals, 70 affiliates are being recognized for the number of members they were able to recruit to join DRIVE (Democrat, Republican, Independent Voter Education), the Teamsters’ political action committee (PAC).

In all, 12 locals reached platinum status with over 30 percent of their members on national DRIVE, 11 reached the gold level with over 20 percent on DRIVE while 47 made it to silver, normally for locals with over 15 percent DRIVE participation, but due to COVID expanded to maintain the 2020 level of 70 total DRIVE club locals.

“Given the challenges caused by COVID-19, it really was a remarkable effort by Teamsters to sign up members and get them contributing to the union’s PAC,” said Ed Baptiste, Deputy Director of the Teamsters’ Department of Political and Legislative Action.

Seven locals continued their streak of making it to platinum each year – Local 886 in Oklahoma City; Local 568 in Shreveport, La.; Local 245 in Springfield, Mo.; Local 988 in Houston; Local 41 in Kansas City, Mo.; Local 79 in Tampa; and Local 919 in Houston. Additionally, Local 70 in Oakland, Calif. reached platinum for the first time.

The other platinum DRIVE locals were Local 6 in St. Louis; Local 350 in Daly City, Calif.; Local 745 in Dallas; and Local 600 in Maryland, Mo.

But numerous other local unions were also successful at raising money to enhance the Teamsters’ political power. The following are Gold and Silver status locals:

Gold

Silver

Tom Ritter, President of Local 886, said the ongoing pandemic did cramp efforts to sign up members at job sites. But the local focused on targeting new members and ongoing pension reform efforts as why people should join.

“Central States was a big push,” he said. “We had to get it done.”

Ritter then used those funds to support the successful efforts to elect Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in Georgia and make sure pension relief happened.

“I sent every cent in DRIVE to Georgia,” he said. “I was scared, but I thought this was our chance.”

Mission accomplished!