NAFTA, Health Care Lead Topics of Discussion
Political coordinators from Teamster local unions across the U.S. have been meeting this week in Washington, D.C., to discuss ongoing legislation that affects working families. Right to Work legislation, reforming NAFTA, collective bargaining rights, two-man rail crews, pension reform and the Cadillac health care tax were among the topics discussed in breakout sessions that ultimately led to lobbying on these issues at the offices of Senators and House Representatives.
Andy Meulman and Jesus Perez both attended as coordinators from Local 7 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “It was my first time attending the conference,” said Perez, who is also a business agent at the local. “I’d never been to the U.S. Capitol building before.” Meulman, who has been a political coordinator for about 10 years, said, “In addition to the pension issues, we brought up the two-man crew rail issues with our representatives.” Their group was able to see representatives from Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D), Rep. Fred Upton (R) and Rep. Debbie Dingell’s (D) offices.
“I was able to see the representative for Rep. John Lewis (D) and speak with him about our concerns with health care,” said Eric Robertson, political coordinator from Local 728 in Atlanta.
Doug Bloch, political director of Joint Council 7 in San Francisco, was able to meet with Sen. Kamala Harris (D) about the concerns around driverless vehicles.
Myca Robinson, a business agent for Local 988 in Houston, said, “It was great to be in an environment where we could talk to other Teamsters and legislators about issues that specifically affect Teamsters. I’m looking forward to taking what we have learned back to our members.”
All agreed that the lobbying on Capitol hill was a highlight of the conference.