The Teamsters are gearing up to play a major role in the 2020 election. But to do that, the union needs members and retirees who are versed on the issues to talk to the candidates traversing the country about sticking up for working families.
That effort began in earnest earlier this month with several trainings held in Iowa and at the Teamsters’ National Black Caucus (TNBC) Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. There, activists were taught to ask Teamster-issue questions at targeted public candidate campaign events.
“I can’t tell you how inspirational it is to see members’ and retirees’ dedication as they come out on their time off to ensure presidential candidates do not leave worker issues behind,” said Elizabeth Gonzalez, Central Region Political Coordinator for the Teamsters’ Department of Political and Legislative Action. “These Teamsters are ready and committed to asking important questions and getting candidates on the record about pensions, collective bargaining, infrastructure and more.”
Those who attended these sessions first filled out the Teamsters’ 2020 Survey to register their opinions on what are the top issues the union should be asking presidential contenders to address. Next, they shared with the group which issue was the most important to them and why. And finally, they roleplayed asking a candidate a question.
Teamsters at the trainings were told to stand in a prominent place so they get noticed by candidates and their staffs. They were also encouraged to wear Teamster gear and hold signs.
“The audience is going to relate to you more because we are talking about kitchen table issues,” Tony Currin, political outreach liaison at Local 238 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, told attendees at the TNBC session. “We are here and we matter.”
All of this is part of the union’s effort to increase visibility around the issues members are prioritizing. And it will continue throughout the 2020 election season. Why? Because candidates seeking the endorsement of the Teamsters must understand the importance unions play in the working lives of the American worker and our economy as a whole. Supporting organizing efforts and standing for fairness and respect in the workplace is essential.
Workers deserve a president who is a partner that realizes that it is not just jobs, but the quality and dependability of those jobs that matters. U.S. leadership should realize that those who worked hard and played by the rules should have the ability to provide a comfortable life for their loved ones, and retire with the benefits they were promised.
That needs to be the goal of anyone seeking to be president.