Over 200 Teamsters spent their Sunday morning crowded into Pickwick Gardens recently to take part in an informative general membership meeting, hearing updates from both their Local Union and news from the IBT.
After calling the meeting to order, President Tony Cousimano introduced Jack Peasley, a representative from the Teamsters Department of Field and Political Action. He gave a very educational presentation on the Teamster’s DRIVE organization, which focuses on supporting members through political action. “It doesn’t matter where you fall on the political spectrum,” explained Peasley. “As Union members, we shouldn’t be voting along party lines. We should be voting for candidates who support working men and women.”
Mr. Peasley also discussed the anti-union Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, and the danger it poses to labor unions’ ability to negotiate strong pension and medical benefits for its members. “It is funded by CEOs and billionaires and was formed solely to destroy unions,” he continued. “We won a great victory in defeating Proposition 32 in California, but the battle isn’t over. We still need to stop this War on Workers.”
Secretary-Treasurer Leo T. Reed then gave his financial report, and described how Local 399 is one of the most stable local unions in the country. He also reported on the recent Motion Picture and Theatrical Trade Division meeting in Santa Barbara, which you can read about in more detail in the article “Teamster Leaders Gather to Discuss New Opportunities.” “This was a very important meeting, and I urge all members to carefully read my report in this issue.”
Local 399 Legal Counsel Joe Kaplon then reminded the attending members that knowing the contract is a vital part of staying effective as a union. “You need to know your contract and not accept anything less than what it guarantees you,” he explained. “Notify the union if your contract is violated. The members have to help us help you.”