• March 19, 2018
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      Steven P. Vairma

      Steve Vairma's Column:

      Millennials offer unions huge, tough opportunity

      If the labor movement can eventually achieve a goald that has in more than two decades become almost illusory, the unions will be able to survive and the American workforce will be the beneficiaries.

      If the unions are successful there would be no more talk of wage stagnation, wage theft and other examples of workplace explitation.  The phony promises of politicians would be forgotten.

      The diminishment of U.S. private sector labor unions from about 35 percent in the 1950s to about eight percent today would end as labor union membership would once again reach high levels.

      The long-term key to labor's survival is to organize the unorganized, and the largest unorganized group today is the Millenials, those young men and women born after 1978, the largest U.S. generation living today.  Some 49 percent of them are Hispanic, and they now account for about 36 percent of the American workforce.

      Here are some Millennial statistics:

      • They have $1 trillion in student debt.  The average Millennial carries $45,000 in debt.
      • Unemployment rate among Millennials is 16.3 percent.
      • Six in 10 Millenials have jobs, half are part-time.  284,000 are college graduates working in minimum-wge jobs in 2012.
      • 48 percent of Millenials who are employed college graduates work in jobs that don't require a four-year degree.
      • 50 percent of Millenials don't believe that Social Security will exist when they reach their retirement age.
      • The average Millenial student carries $12,700 in credit card and other kinds of debt.
      • They are more tolerant of races and groups than older generations (47 percent vs. 19 percent), with 45 percent agreeing with preferential treatment to improve the position of minorities.
      • Millenials account for 36 percent of the U.S. workforce and by 2025, they will account for 75 percent of the global workplace.
      • 41 percent of Millennials do what their managers tell them to do, which is greater than older generations.
      • They are highly interested in technology, sometimes preoccupied with it.
      • They elected a president -60 percent voted for Obama in 2012.  Millennials will be 40 percent of the electorate by 2020.
      • In 2008, 48 million Millennials (those born between 1978 and 2000) were eligble to vote, and 25 million actually did.
      • Younger Americans are most progressive (56.6 percent) on cultural and social values and the least progressive on economic and domestic policy (53.1 percent). 

      Some observers believe Millenials are more caring and community oriented than previous generations.  Others say they are entitled and narcissistic.  They have mastered social media.  Some 75 percent have created a profile on a social networking site.

      Most Millennials prefer to work part-time jobs.  They also favor flexible work schedules; and they change jobs frequently.  Some critics say Millennials are not particularly loyal to their employers.

      For those and other reasons they probably sacrifice job security and some income, which they may not value as much their preceding generations.

      So, there it is:  the labor movement's number one project of the future.  A road map to survival.

      To be successful labor must devise an organizing plan that appeals to this generation, one unlike any strategy used in preceding generations - the Greatest, The Silent, Baby Boomers and GenX (Millenial) Generations.

      It won't be easy, but we are compelled to figure it out.

      Click here for brochure information.


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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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  • Teamsters Local 455

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