With major challenges facing workers and the 2020 elections looming, the importance of mobilizing members is more critical than ever, Teamster leaders heard at the annual Unity Conference taking place this week. (SEE MORE PHOTOS of Day 1 here and Day 2 here)
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said 2018 was critical because Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, so-called right to work was repealed in Missouri and numerous anti-worker governors were unseated, including Scott Walker in Wisconsin.
Similar fights face the union and its 1.4 million members, which makes member mobilization and action so important.
“We’ve got to work hard to keep our momentum strong,” Hoffa told the 1,800 leaders at Unity.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, welcomed the leaders and congratulated the union for recent organizing victories at casinos and hotels along the Las Vegas Strip.
“I stand with organized labor because it’s the right thing to do…and because together we can build a better Nevada and a better country,” Sisolak said.
Jason Rabinowitz, Director of the Teamsters Public Services Division, said member involvement has been critical to fight the well-funded, sustained attacks against public employees and their unions. These attacks will continue, he said.
“This is an attack on all of labor,” he said. “Every worker must have the right of collective bargaining.”
Teamsters General-Secretary Ken Hall, who noted that the union’s finances are in excellent condition, said member involvement is critical in all issues, but will be particularly important as the union fights to solve the pension crisis.
“Nothing replaces boots on the ground and nothing replaces our members’ involvement,” Hall said.
Leaders have been attending important divisional meetings, where they are hearing about the latest issues facing workers and the union, and strategies for winning. The meetings continue today and Thursday, May 9.