From coast-to-coast, Teamster leaders and representatives have spent the last five months visiting worksites to encourage rank-and-file members to contribute to building their union’s political muscle. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is America’s strongest union, but ensuring it stays that way requires never taking the foot off the gas of political influence.
In short order, the union’s commitment to strengthen its political action committee has shown real results.
Under the leadership of General President Sean M. O’Brien and General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman, more than 13,000 new members have already signed up to support DRIVE — Democratic Republican Independent Voter Education. That funding directly supports pro-Teamster candidates who promise to stare down corruptible politicians and mammoth corporations that halt progress for working people in Washington and state capitals nationwide.
“The Teamsters reject the status quo, a reality today that sees politicians do next to nothing to represent their constituents and all-powerful corporations commit robbery in broad daylight against American taxpayers,” O’Brien said. “We need to dramatically increase the number of elected officials willing to stand with our members, who not only say they’re pro-labor but who aren’t scared to prove it. Through our political action committee DRIVE and during organizing campaigns nationwide, the Teamsters will take this fight to the halls of Congress and out into the streets to protect our members.”
Member participation in DRIVE enables the union to help elect candidates who support Teamsters. Pro-worker majorities in Congress need to grow if legislation that could expand union rights, such as the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, has any hope to be enacted.
Kevin Currie, a 47-year Teamster who has been a DRIVE representative since 2007, said he and others in the field have seen a real difference in the effort to boost PAC membership, including increased support from local unions and shop stewards. A recent push at UPS facilities in New Jersey led to an additional 3,000 participating members, while another effort for member engagement at UPS facilities in New York City and Long Island resulted in 2,000 new members choosing to contribute to DRIVE.
This year, in addition to talking about the benefits of DRIVE, Teamster representatives visiting UPS facilities are also able to educate members on the 2023 UPS contract campaign for a new National Master Agreement.
“I haven’t seen this kind of energy in a long time. It’s impressive,” Currie said. “Members feel like they are part of something significant — because they are.”
The progress of political power is critical to the future strength of the Teamsters Union and the entire labor movement. Workers are demanding respect and dignity on the job in every industry and work environment, and under new leadership the Teamsters are already building a bigger, faster, stronger future for working families. With a renewed commitment to expand DRIVE participation, member political action and sustained participation from the rank-and-file can solidify the Teamsters’ political influence for years to come.