• comment on a post Bloggers Unions and Organizing Online Workers over 6 years ago

    My understanding is that you can have the best of both worlds. First, create an association, then affiliate with an international union (like the Teamsters). This way, you can get around the issue of employee classifications, and could participate in either local or regional health and pension funds.

    We did this with doctors in NY who wanted collective bargaining power with HMOs, and with casting directors in Hollywood who wanted more power against the studios.

    Second, geography isn't an issue. You can form under a single local, even though you are dispersed across the country. This is how we handle airline mechanics, flight attendants and such. They are physically living all over the U.S., but can all belong to a single flight attendant local, or in this case, a single online workers local.

    Teamsters Local 2 had done some organizing in the freelance tech sector and had worked up an HSA health care option to enable benefit portability. The local recently merged with another, however, so I'd have to get back to you on where things stand at this moment.

    I would suggest getting on johne's listserv if you are interested. Then come up with a list of issues (which was discussed at the meeting). What is it you want? Then we can look at how best to address the issues.

  • Pardon the cross-post here, but because this was the original diary on this topic, I felt the Teamsters side should be heard. The following is a response from Teamsters Communications Director Bret Caldwell to Marc Ambinder:

    Mark, I appreciate your reporting of the Hoffa/Raynor letter to Senator Clinton. However, I want to clarify the Teamsters Union's relationships with President Clinton and Senator Clinton. Immediately after winning election in 1998, Jim Hoffa reached out to President Clinton and established a positive and friendly relationship.

    Although Hoffa and the Teamsters vehemently opposed President Clinton's trade policies, it was through this relationship that Clinton's trade agreements during his last two years in office began to include greater labor protections and were closer to the fair-trade deals that Hoffa was seeking. In fact, President Clinton spoke at an event honoring Hoffa in New York in October 1999.

    The Teamsters Union has had an extrememly close relationship with Senator Clinton since she first announced her intention to seek elective office. Senator Clinton has a very productive relationship with President Hoffa and Teamsters leaders in New York state, including Gary LaBarbera, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16 in New York.

    President Clinton and Senator Clinton each spoke at the Teamsters 100th Anniversary celebration in Washington in 2003. And most recently, Senator Clinton met with our General Executive Board in Washington, D.C. - as did Senator Barack Obama and John Edwards.

    Your suggestion that the Teamsters are not fans of the Clintons because they "supported Teamster dissident Ron Carey's presidential bid against Hoffa" couldn't be more off base. First, Hoffa was running to oust the corrupt Carey from office in 1996. Carey was thrown out of the union by a government oversight board in 1997 because of a dues-swap scheme in which he used dues monies in order to cheat democracy in the Teamsters Union. Second, Jim Hoffa and the Teamsters believe that President Clinton and Senator Clinton have fought and continue to fight for working people in this country. While Bush and his cronies have moved to eliminate the middle-class, Senator Clinton has been a leader in the fight for a minimum wage increase and the Employee Free Choice Act. There is no room for mistake here, the Teamsters Union and Jim Hoffa have an excellent relationship with each of the Clintons.

    As for the real issue at hand, Mark Penn's company has some unsavory clients and has performed some unsavory work. I'm certain that Jim Hoffa and Bruce Raynor with discuss the issue further with Senator Clinton.

    Bret Caldwell, Director of Communications
    International Brotherhood of Teamsters

  • There's a lot the debates haven't addressed. See my blog on this very topic on DailyKos.

  • The following is a response from Teamsters Communications Director Bret Caldwell to Marc Ambinder:


    Mark, I appreciate your reporting of the Hoffa/Raynor letter to Senator Clinton. However, I want to clarify the Teamsters Union's relationships with President Clinton and Senator Clinton. Immediately after winning election in 1998, Jim Hoffa reached out to President Clinton and established a positive and friendly relationship.

    Although Hoffa and the Teamsters vehemently opposed President Clinton's trade policies, it was through this relationship that Clinton's trade agreements during his last two years in office began to include greater labor protections and were closer to the fair-trade deals that Hoffa was seeking. In fact, President Clinton spoke at an event honoring Hoffa in New York in October 1999.

    The Teamsters Union has had an extrememly close relationship with Senator Clinton since she first announced her intention to seek elective office. Senator Clinton has a very productive relationship with President Hoffa and Teamsters leaders in New York state, including Gary LaBarbera, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16 in New York.

    President Clinton and Senator Clinton each spoke at the Teamsters 100th Anniversary celebration in Washington in 2003. And most recently, Senator Clinton met with our General Executive Board in Washington, D.C. - as did Senator Barack Obama and John Edwards.

    Your suggestion that the Teamsters are not fans of the Clintons because they "supported Teamster dissident Ron Carey's presidential bid against Hoffa" couldn't be more off base. First, Hoffa was running to oust the corrupt Carey from office in 1996. Carey was thrown out of the union by a government oversight board in 1997 because of a dues-swap scheme in which he used dues monies in order to cheat democracy in the Teamsters Union. Second, Jim Hoffa and the Teamsters believe that President Clinton and Senator Clinton have fought and continue to fight for working people in this country. While Bush and his cronies have moved to eliminate the middle-class, Senator Clinton has been a leader in the fight for a minimum wage increase and the Employee Free Choice Act. There is no room for mistake here, the Teamsters Union and Jim Hoffa have an excellent relationship with each of the Clintons.

    As for the real issue at hand, Mark Penn's company has some unsavory clients and has performed some unsavory work. I'm certain that Jim Hoffa and Bruce Raynor with discuss the issue further with Senator Clinton.

    Bret Caldwell, Director of Communications
    International Brotherhood of Teamsters

  • Not the case. This came straight from the leadership as soon as their caught wind of The Nation article.

  • comment on a post An Open Letter to The New (low) Standard over 7 years ago

    Our problem with this site does not warrent a call for boycot, but if this biased report is an example of how this organization sources, reports and labels stories, then every serious news consumer should question its integrity. It certainly calls into question how stories past and future have been and will be handled.

  • comment on a post DOT's Experiment Puts Us All at Risk over 7 years ago

    These days, trucks carry "black boxes" that record every minute the truck is turned on and turned off. Enforcement is strict and Teamsters stand for worker and highway safety. Mexican trucks do not carry recorders and they are not required to maintain logs south of the border. Fair?

  • We are. The number of union or pro-labor bloggers is growing. But as our ranks increase, we would certainly appreciate any help we could get in echoing our message.

  • on a comment on MyDD Labor Coverage Announcement over 7 years ago

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  • Unquestionably, the Dems do support labor more than the GOP, which is why, on average, more than 80 percent of our money and our endorsements go to Democrats.

    But, as our director of gov. affairs put it:

    Teamsters are not afraid to stand up to Democrats or Republicans and say: "Hey, if you don't support my issues then I'm going to give my support to someone else." That gets their attention and gives us tremendous credibility as a union.

    The bottom line is we are an American labor union that represents American workers. We are on Capitol Hill, in state legislatures and campaigning for the rights of our members, not for the Democratic Party. Teamsters are in small towns and big cities. We work in a broad cross-section of our economy. And, like America, we are evenly split politically among Democrats, Republicans and Independents. To unconditionally align ourselves with one party would be a disservice to our members and the labor movement as a whole.

    If the Dems see us as just another fundraising mechanism they would take us for granted. If we offer the carrot, we also have to have a stick. And we have to be willing to use it if they fail to represent us. Workplace, family, middle-class issues played a big role in getting them elected. If they now decide to embrace Rubinomics and turn their backs on fair trade policies that protect American jobs, then it would be a disservice to our members to support them again in two years.

    Now then, like I said, I am withholding judgement on this particular freshman discussion. It could very well be that all they want to talk about is balancing the budget. Besides, I was listening to a podcast of the Dec. 2 Workin' It radio show this morning and Stewart Acuff of the AFL-CIO was saying that Pelosi, Kennedy and other Dem leaders would be speaking at a rally on the Employee Free Choice Act Friday. Passing this legislation will be the true test. If Nancy can get this bill passed she could invite Rubin over to lunch any time she wants.

  • comment on a post Pelosi Bans Labor from Meeting w/ Freshman Reps. over 7 years ago

    Too often Dems have smiled at organized labor with their hands out during campaign season, but when it comes time to vote for our issues we end up talking to the hand -- or geting the back of it. We have plenty of reasons to be cynical -- deregulation of the trucking industry under Carter, NAFTA under Clinton (Rubin). Maybe this is an over reaction, but inaction speaks louder than words.

  • comment on a post Labor Rising over 7 years ago

    Solidarity!

    That's right Matt, we could create a heck of a movement. But it's going to take a two-fold effort: We have to educate the labor unions in general about the Netroots, and teach the Netroots about labor unions.

    But let's not just talk about it. Let's make a plan. 08 is right around the corner.

  • comment on a post Open Thread over 7 years ago

    Quiet, underpaid and illegal. Many of you may have missed it over the weekend, but Massachusetts Gov. and Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney criticized a Teamster Local Union for pushing an open meetings violation through the courts to save jobs on a state turnpike. According to the Boston Herald, Romney "criticized the lawsuit as a last-ditch effort by overpaid union workers to preserve exorbitant wages and patronage at the Pike."

    I find it more than ironic that Romney has the wherewithal to judge fair compensation for union workers, but is incapable of realizing that most of his landscapers are illegal immigrants.

  • Those rules only apply to drivers in trucks over 10,000 pounds. They do not apply -- and have never applied -- to drivers of lighter vehicles like the ones affected by this legislation.

    And, in 2005, another hour was added to the max time for over 10k lb truckers. They can now stay on the road for 11 hours, FYI.

  • on a comment on Let's Work Together for Change over 7 years ago

    Education. Stand up for labor instead of repeating corporate America's talking points.

    Who's more corrupt? Corporations such as Enron, WorldCom, and every options-backdating boss out there, which have stolen billions from employees and shareholders alike, or unions that started pensions, pushed for social security? Who's more corrupt? corporations who slash or cut retiree health benefits because they must "remain competitive" AND receive a paycheck 431 times more than their average worker, or unions who fought for and achieved the very retiree health benefits employers are stealing?

    Who's more corrupt, a Congress that is lavished by lobbyists and special interests at the expense of constituents, or unions who really are fighting for working class families every day?

    This is the whole point of this diary. You never hear about how the Teamsters have fought for and won better working conditions, higher wages and better benefits for the workers in your home town factory or truck barn. All you hear about are the negatives.

    But you can't indict an entire institution over the actions of a few. Otherwise you'd be indicting Congress, the president, and just about every major corporation in the US.

    Unions have become a charicature of corruption because corporations, and I am including the mainstream media here, want it that way. They have every reason to make Americans fear unions, doubt unions, avoid unions, because when they do, workers lose.

    It was unions who created the 8 hour day. Before unions 16 hour days were the norm. Union men and their families, bled and died for shorter work hours and better working conditions. Who do you think they were fighting? Corporate America and the U.S. government who called in Army troops to put down insurections. Who prohibited the free speech and peaceful assembly of workers.

    It was unions who created the weekend. Again, six-day weeks were the norm.

    Before unions there was no minimum wage. Before unions there were no safety standards on the job. Before unions there were no rules on child labor. So you want to talk about nonsensical work rules? Management has a much longer history of nonsensical work rules than unions.

    We can change these perceptions by learning about Unions' contributions to this country and telling the union story over and over again.

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