The 2014 Teamsters Unity Conference convened Sunday, May 4, with General President Jim Hoffa welcoming more than 1,400 Teamsters who learned about several key challenges facing the union. See photos from today’s Unity Conference.
“We’re a union that is moving forward, we’re organizing and fighting together for working people,” Hoffa told the attendees.
Hoffa noted that the Teamsters have successfully organized thousands of workers, including school bus workers, taxi drivers in Washington State and Washington, D.C., port workers and solid waste workers.
A highlight occurred when Hoffa led the swearing in of new members of Local 986—who work for large hotels in Las Vegas.
Hoffa welcomed the audience to participate, “to take the oath again and rededicate their commitment to the union.” The crowd then read the oath aloud along with the new members.
Hoffa also outlined the many challenges facing the union: the ongoing war on workers, trade deals that hurt working families and growing the union so that workers’ lives can improve.
Other speakers discussed key political battles that lie ahead this fall, a recent victory that saved carhaul jobs, and the fight against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Jim Kabell, President of the Missouri-Kansas-Nebraska Conference of Teamsters and Secretary-Treasurer of Local 245 in Springfield, Mo., said that thanks to the Teamsters’ efforts, they have successfully battled against “right-to-work-for-less” legislation.
He urged everyone to get involved and to work together to take on the well-funded anti-worker, anti-union forces.
Kevin Moore, Director of the Teamsters Carhaul Division and Roy Gross, Co-Director, discussed the years-long fight to save carhaul members’ jobs at Allied. Rather than let a multi-billion dollar equity firm take over the workers’ jobs, the Teamsters successfully cleared the way for Teamster-represented Jack Cooper to purchase the bankrupt Allied.
“We saved more than 1,200 quality, middle-class jobs, protecting wages, health, welfare and pension benefits and seniority rights for these workers,” Moore said.
Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch hailed Hoffa and the Teamsters for leading the fight to stop unfair trade deals that hurt workers.
“We are at the moment of a trade turnaround,” Wallach said. “The Teamsters are a part of that. We are in for a big fight.”
The Unity Conference continues tomorrow, Monday, May 5, in Las Vegas.