For this campaign, we’ve driven around the state to talk with Teamsters in Local 695 about our workplaces, our contracts and how our union is working. Everywhere we go we hear similar things: “We thought it was just us that were having problems”, “Things gotta change”, “The guys at the union think we work for them, instead of them working for us!”
The Wayne Schultz Slate spent a small fortune on mailings this last week to try and scare rank and file Teamsters and say that ONLY THEY can run this union. They make it all about themselves – you won’t find anything in their materials about what working Teamsters are dealing with or how they’re going to improve our union and our workplaces. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what they’re saying: they’re the experts, so shut up and go back to work, pay your dues and let them handle things in the back rooms with management.
Our slate is full of strong, capable leaders. We have people who have been elected to public office, run departments of government, run businesses, improved work processes, been pillars of the local community, but most importantly FOUGHT FOR OUR FELLOW TEAMSTERS. We could try to sell you on why Jake, Andy, Ech, Sonci, Vince, Sergio and Chris are better qualified, but more than anything our folks with Rebuild 695 are committed to the membership: we’re smart, we’re capable and good lookin’, but we think that YOU are the experts on your work and that the union’s job is to listen to members, ask what working Teamsters want and to FIGHT for the rank and file. We work for you, and we will bust our tails to prove it. Right now 695 may let you talk, but they ain’t listening.
Our members aren’t shy about what we want. Everywhere in 695, we hear complaints about how our leadership only gives us 24 hours to read the contracts they’ve spent months on before forcing a vote; we want MORE TIME. We hear regularly that all our leadership wants in contract negotiations is a raise and they don’t care about the working conditions that can turn a good job into a bad one. Why? Because that increases their pot of dues. We don’t want our local to act like an employer-friendly insurance company. We want the union to represent the will of the members and fight for things that matter to us.
First, we’ll inform the members. It is 2019 and we still do not have a website for Local 695. This is something a third-grader could do in today’s world. We’ve been told its too complicated for Local 695, but as soon as Rebuild entered the election Wayne Schultz and the rest of the leadership figured out how to make a website to save themselves pretty quick. We will build our communications, give out information about how the union works and how to get involved. This is a MINIMUM for union democracy.
Second, we’ll make sure that we have a strong steward system in place that has the confidence of the members. Appointed stewards show their loyalty is to the leadership, not the members. And members don’t believe that their stewards are going to fight for them right now. We will make sure that our stewards are picked by workers at their own sites, and we’ll honor their choices—even if they disagree with us. Because YOU are the union, the leadership is not the union.
Third, we’ll get staffing to support and represent members. We aren’t interested in “cleaning house” – we want people who are going to work for members. We want as much continuity as possible to make sure the business of the union is taken care of. We’ll hire staff as we need to make sure that ALL the shops in 695 are getting the attention they want and need. We’ll hire organizers to make sure that we’re not letting non-union businesses drive down our working conditions and to expand solidarity among workers in Wisconsin.
Above all, we will follow the members. This is our union together. Rebuild is not coming in as “the better experts” – we have plenty of things we can and will do better, but our campaign is about bringing democracy and a fighting spirit back to Teamsters Local 695.