• July 23, 2018
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      Imery's Perlite, Antonito Colorado, Teamsters Local 455 Members
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      Steven P. Vairma

      Steve Vairma's Column:

      Young workers showing pro-union tendencies

      The anti-union movement within corporate America has been an extraordinarily successful battle against labor unions for more than 30 years.

      There are many reasons for the business community's success, but for brevity's sake, I'll simply point out that the victors in political conflicts are almost always those who can spread the most money among lawmakers who do their bidding in the halls of government.

      Undermanned, woefully underfinanced and sometimes fighting two opponents - global capitalism and government organized labor has long been on the defensive.

      It is estimated that the business community outspends unions by about 12 to 1 for political campaigns, a figure that has grown exponentially since the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which allows corporations to contribute unlimited funds to their political lackeys.

      However, underdogs occasionally win.  Truman bet Dewey in 1948, and more contemporarily, for the millennials in the NCAA basketball tournament this year, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, the 64th and final seed, beat Virginia, the number one seed.

      Recent statistics released by the Economic Policy Institute indicate that organized labor may someday be able to spring a Truman-Dewey or a MUBC-Virginia-type upset on corporate America.

      There is no indication yet that the union busting Koch brothers and their anti-worker coporate brethren are scared out of their pants, but EPI's stats must have them scratching their heads.

      In 2017, there were 262,000 new union members in the United States, according to EPI.  Seventy-five percent of these new members were young people 16 to 35 years of age.  It seems the millennials are are coming to organized labor, and quite willingly, too.

      EPI's reserach shows that young workers hold a favorable attitude toward unionism.  Their support for politicans is tilted toward those who support pro-worker issues while opposing policies such as so-called right-to-work that are punitive towards workers.

      Workers age 35 and under are the main component of an unprecedented surge in union membership over the past two years.

      Nationwide in 2017, nearly 860,000 workers under age 35 got hired, and nearly a quarter of those were union jobs.

      "Historically", according the the EPI analysis, "younger workers have been less likely than older workers to be a member of a union."  In that sense there's room to grow among younger workers, whose union membership lags behind other age groups.

      However, young workers are responsible for a huge portion of the recent gains in union representation across the workforce, which has remained fairly steady.

      Growing by some 198,000 workers in 2017, youth in union jobs are ofsetting loss of those jobs in older age brackets; union jobs for workers age 45 to 54 dropped by some 75,000 over the same period.

      These statistics are in contrast to the myth of millennials being economically and politcally adrift.

      "They're stepping in readily to fill the union ranks that have hemmorrhaged middle aged workers over the years - 2017 actually saw an increase in the overall number of unionized workers over the previous year," writes Michelle Chen in an excellent analysis published in the Nation magazine.

      "A movement that we're used to thinking of as getting older and smaller is actually growing stronger and younger - and they may well be leading the next progressive voting bloc in tandem with the labor movement."

      With stronger unions will come a better financed political movement with more boots on the ground and more influence in Wasington and the statehouses.

      So there now appears a sliver of light at the end of what has been a 30- year long tunnel of darkness, and we have to use it to our advantage in the future.

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      Current Campaigns
      • This Web page provides the latest updates for the national contract, riders and supplements that cover about 3,500 Teamsters at DHL Express.

      • We Are eXPOsing XPO’s Global Greed

        XPO Logistics is a top ten global logistics and transportation company with annual revenue of $15 billion and 89,000 employees, another 10,000 workers classified as independent contractors, and thousands more working for firms that subcontract with XPO. We are the REAL workers at XPO Logistics worldwide exposing the truth about the company’s global greed, illegal wage theft, unsafe conditions, and abhorrent and vicious anti-worker, anti-union tactics. 

        This greed includes mistreating former Con-way Freight workers in the United States who are being kept in the dark about terminal closures and layoffs, and the company’s illegal refusal to bargain contracts and denying their workers’ federally protected right to organize. It also includes port, rail and last-mile drivers around the country and in Southern California fighting wage theft in excess of $200 million because they are misclassified as independent contractors and denied the right to form their union. This greed has caused numerous lawsuits and strikes.  Greed also means an unsafe workplace and mistreating its warehouse employees.

        XPO’s greed extends to Europe beginning with breaking its promise to not layoff any workers for at least 18 months. French workers and the unions have been fighting back against XPO’s disrespect, lies and attempts to slash jobs. Similar struggles are taking place in Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and across Europe.

        Join the worldwide struggle now! Get involved with this campaign by joining the Facebook group “XPO Exposed.”

        Together, we can eXPOse the company’s global greed and win fairness, respect and dignity for tens of thousands of XPO employees around the world!

      • This page provides the latest contract information to the 7,500 Teamsters—drivers, dockworkers and office staff—employed by ABF Freight System, Inc.

      • Workers’ pensions are being endangered by both Congress and those charged with overseeing them. The Teamsters and our members are standing united to say “No!” to cuts and “Yes!” to greater retirement security!

      • The ‘Let’s Get America Working!’ campaign seeks to restore a dynamic and prosperous middle class to drive economic growth by helping to advance policy decisions that create and maintain good middle-income jobs, guarantee retirement security, expand access to the American Dream, and ensure that the benefits of the ongoing economic recovery are felt by the many, not just the few.

      • This webpage provides information on the Teamsters Union’s legislative advocacy at both the federal and state level as well as our field activity to support those policy positions and to get strong labor candidates elected to office.  Among other resources, you will find our federal legislative scorecard, formal statements of policy position and communications to Capitol Hill,  a weekly update on federal legislative happenings, an overview of bills we are tracking at the state level, and quick links to take action on priority issues.

      • This web page provides information on the ongoing effort to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since 1994, NAFTA has devastated working families, putting corporate profits ahead of people.  What’s worse is that NAFTA has become the blueprint for all other trade agreements, from the way that it was negotiated in secret, to the bad provisions that have made their way into every agreement that has been signed since then.  Now, NAFTA is being renegotiated and we demand that it be reframed to work for workers instead of corporate interests.

      • The Teamsters have stood in solidarity with worker struggles in other countries since our founding. With economic globalization, our ability to organize increasingly depends on our ability to build alliances with workers on a global scale.
        More than ever, Teamsters are organizing and bargaining with multi-national companies. A key objective of our Global Strategies Campaign is to build strong alliances with unions around the globe who organize and bargain with common employers. Our focus is on workers in the emerging global supply chains – the infrastructure of globalization.
        Globalization creates new opportunities for international worker solidarity. We seek common cause with workers around the world to build social justice for all workers and the communities in which they live.

      • The contributions of black members to the success of the Teamsters Union are numerous, varied and as old as the union itself. This month, the Teamsters Union spotlights some of those contributions.

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