Votes Counted Friday

This being the first local election we’ve had since 1998, most of us aren’t familiar with the process. Here’s what’s going on:

Friday, October 25th the ballots will be counted. According to Merriman-River Group, there’s no limit on the number of observers to the ballot count but they reserve the right to cap if there are too many people in the room (according to them, this doesn’t really happen ever).

Both slates will have their representatives meet at the Teamster Hall the morning of the 25th at 9:30am. We will then go to the Post Office where the ballots have been sent to collect them, and bring them back to the Hall on Stoughton Road — Merriman-River again says that only the Post Office has keys to the box where ballots have been sent. Counting will then commence at the Teamster Hall, and should go until about 4pm.

As soon as we have the results, we will broadcast them on our website and send emails/texts to our lists. Whatever the result, we’ll be having a party Friday night, 10/25/19 from 7 – 10pm at Bierock, 2911 N Sherman Ave, Madison WI 53704. See you there!

Rebuild Works For You

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.

So what will we do when we win?

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.

Vote!

En español

Hello Teamsters! Ballots should be at your homes by now. Be sure to fill them out and send them back in the mail. In case you need a little help, here’s the basics of how to fill it out:

If you have not received a ballot or need a replacement, call 877-324-7655.

Vota!

Si no has recibo tu boleta para votar antes de 11 de octubre o necesitas una nueva llama al 877-324-7654.

All They Got is Fear

Sister and brother Teamsters,

This week we will be receiving ballots for the election of officers for our union, Teamsters Local 695. This will be the first election of officers since 1998 – that is because information about our union and how to participate is regularly hidden from the members. Only one sitting officer, President Dave Brugger, was elected and all officers since that time (including Wayne Schultz) have been appointed and brought on through acclamation.

We are proud of the campaign that we have run. We have reached out to as many members as we are able to talk about the union and to hear from fellow workers about what their experiences have been. We have put forward ideas, a vision and a plan for how our union can and should be. We’ve made information open to members to empower the rank and file. Where we have criticized, we have talked about actions and behaviors, not attacks on the personal character of our opponents.

The Schultz Slate, on the other hand, has been obsessed with discrediting rank and file Teamsters, attacking each of us personally, and using the boss’s tactics to stay in office. They have offered no plans for addressing the problems of our union, and instead said that there are no problems! They have made claims that we will “clean house”, which we have never said.

They do this because they have no answers, all they have is fear. They try to scare the hell out of people with lies and empty accusations, and bully members so that no one sees that beneath it all they have nothing to offer. Their argument for keeping them in office is because they are already there. This is how they run the union: keeping information from members, appointing their own people to keep control, and then forcing members to accept what they’ve done – they give us 24 hours to read a contract before forcing a vote, because they know that if you look at what they have to offer it is junk.

Strong unions are built on a strong membership. The Rebuild 695 Slate is our effort to give name to the problems that Teamsters in this Local have, and to offer that there is another way. We want a democratic union, run by members for the members. The Schultz Slate’s appeal is for protecting themselves.

Solidarity. VOTE REBUILD 695!

Misleadership in 695

We picked the name “Rebuild” because we want to stop the decline of our union and we think the only way to do that is to empower our membership for a fighting, democratic union.

Don’t believe we’re in decline? Let’s take a look at some numbers filed by Local 695 with the Department of Labor.

Starting from year 2000, we had a peak membership of 7,014 which has fallen to 4,256 in 2018. Is this all Act 10? Right to Work? No. The biggest dip in membership was all before 2011, and we’ve only continued the downward trend.

Last year, Wis Pak in Watertown, WI voted overwhelmingly to decertify Teamsters Local 695 as their union: 76 to 25. This is an embarrassment for our union and only demonstrates how low confidence has gotten in Teamsters 695 by the membership.

In the meantime, officer salaries have shot up from an average of $89,000 in 2000 to $130,000 in 2018. Let that sink in for a second: our membership cut nearly in half while the salaries for leadership keep getting higher. What does it matter to the current leadership if our contracts are getting worse or our membership falls off? They’ve never had it better.

This is why we need a change in leadership and to REBUILD Teamsters Local 695. Vote!

Source: United States Department of Labor, LM-2 forms filed by Teamsters Local 695. https://olms.dol-esa.gov/query/getOrgQry.do . Available September 24th, 2019.

Nominations Meeting Report

We are on the ballot!!! Last night, Tuesday 9/17/19 about 40 Rebuild supporters attended the Teamster Membership Meeting to nominate our candidates and make sure that we’re getting a fair election. There were two Teamster brothers from UPS Freight in attendance and I believe one retiree; the rest were staff for Local 695 and the current Officers.

President Brugger handed the meeting over to Matthew Fitch from Merriman River Group to be the election consultant. We then took turns nominating for each office between the incumbents and our slate. No surprise, the incumbents were nominated by their Business Agents and we were nominated by rank and file Teamsters. We will be running a full slate, and after a coin toss the ballot will be divided left/right, with REBUILD 695 slate and candidates on the RIGHT side.

Ballots will be printed September 26th in Skokie, IL and sent to every member of 695 by mail on Friday, September 27th — you should have it in your mailbox starting Monday, September 30th (it will be mailed from Chicago, so there might be a day or two extra depending). Ballots will be returned by mail to the election consultant’s address in Connecticut, so they are not being delivered to Local 695; same thing for undeliverable ballots, they go back to CT. More details on the voting process as it becomes available.

Image
Quick candid picture from the floor.

Other things: the nominations were at the beginning of the meeting and the election details were at the end, so everyone sat through the membership meeting. Meetings are suspended over the summer, so Recording Secretary Whedan read four months worth of meeting minutes to be approved. A few highlights:

  • They gave themselves and all the staff a $500 bonus at the beginning of the summer
  • They bought a new car
  • They contracted new carpet cleaning and snow removal for the Hall
  • They spent $150 on candy/flag hats for the Labor Day parades in La Crosse and Janesville each
  • They read statements thanking them for said candy and hats

With the exception of Business Agent Rob Moss’s report on negotiations at Saputo Cheese, all the Business Agents quickly reported their activity as “general barn maintenance and negotiations” and moved on — we heard more about the candy than the activity of the union.

First Things We’ll Do

En español

On taking office, there will be a lot of work to do. We say we want to REBUILD Local 695 because a lot of the union basics have fallen to the wayside and we need to go to the fundamentals. Here is a list of four things we will do when we take office.

REBUILD Teamsters in Waunakee.
  1. Visit all the worksites in Local 695 and hold member meetings for each unit. We have too many members who have been neglected, who don’t know who their business agents are let alone the officers of the local union. We want to hear from Teamster members about what the issues are and come up with solutions together to have a strong union at every worksite.
  2. Create reasonable salaries for staff and use extra money for more representatives. Over the last twenty years, our officers have OK’d raises for themselves with Teamster dues money so that our officers make on average $130,000! President Brugger – $131,187; Secretary-Treasurer Schultz – $130,397; Recording-Secretary Whedan – $129,136. We will bring these salaries down to a reasonable level and use the extra money to hire more staff to support Local 695’s members. (See LM-2, below)
  3. Open communications. From Day One we want to be transparent so that members are never wondering what we are doing. We will finally build a website for our local, send emails & text messages and start newsletters so that Teamster members know what is happening in the local and know how to get involved. We will have regular meetings and bring them to the shops if we need to so that our members can attend.
  4. Schedule elections for stewards and bargaining committees. Some shops have had appointed stewards in their positions for 20 or 30 years! Our union members need confidence in their stewards, and the best way to get that is to have regular elections to make sure union stewards are doing what the members want. For bargaining committees, the same people who are great at arguing grievances aren’t always the people we want bargaining for us, so we will make sure that bargaining committees have their own elections. Where bargaining is already underway, we will consult with members and let them decide how to proceed.

Lo Primero Que Haremos

Al llegar a la directiva, tendremos mucho trabajo que hacer. Decimos que queremos (RECONSTRUIR) REBUILD Local 695. Porque muchos de los principios básicos del sindicalismo se han quedado a medio camino y tenemos que volver a los fundamentos. Aquí hay una lista de las cuatro cosas que haremos cuando lleguemos a la directiva con su voto.

  1. Visitar todos los sitios de trabajo, que forman parte de Local 695 y llevar a cabo juntas con los miembros en cada departamento. Tenemos demasiados miembros que han sido olvidados, que no saben quienes son sus representantes sindicales y mucho menos conocen a los dirigentes del sindicato al nivel local. Queremos escuchar a los miembros de Teamster acerca de cuáles son los problemas en sus sitios de trabajo y juntos encontrar soluciones para tener una Unión fuerte en cada sitio.
  2. Establecer salarios más razonables para el personal de dirigentes del sindicato y usar el dinero ahorrado para tener más representantes. En los últimos veinte años, los dirigentes de nuestro sindicato Local 695 se han aprobado aumentos de sueldo, usando las cuotas Teamster que pagamos para asegurar que ganen un promedio de US $130,000 al año! Presidente Brugger – $131,187; Secretario-Tesorero Schultz – $130,397; Secretario de Actas Whedan – $129,136. Reduciremos estos salarios a un nivel razonable y usaremos el dinero ahorrado para contratar más personal para apoyar a los miembros de Local 695. (Ver el documento LM-2, encima.)
  3. Comunicaciones abiertas desde el primer dia, vamos a ser transparentes para que nunca un miembro tenga que adivinar o preguntarse qué es lo que estamos haciendo. Por fin tendremos una página web para nuestro local, enviaremos correos electrónicos y mensajes de texto (SMS) y repartiremos boletines informativos para que la membresía sepa lo que está pasando en el local y cómo participar. Organizaremos juntas frecuentes y las haremos en los sitios de trabajo si es necesario para que nuestros miembros puedan asistir.
  4. Programar elecciones para delegados sindicales y comités negociadores. Algunos sitios de trabajo han tenido delegados sindicales que fueron designados no votados desde hace 20 o 30 años y todavia estan ahi! Nuestros miembros sindicales necesitan tener confianza en sus delegados y la mejor manera de lograr esto, son con elecciones programadas regularmente para asegurar que los delegados sindicales hagan lo que necesitan los miembros. Para el comité negociador, los delegados que hacen buen trabajo resolviendo agravios no necesariamente son los mejores para negociar contratos en representación de nosotros, así que aseguraremos que se lleven a cabo elecciones para comités negociadores. Donde negociaciones ya están en marcha, consultaremos a los miembros y permitiremos que ellos decidan cómo proceder.

How can members run the union?

En español

Rebuild 695 is not just a leadership election, we want to change our union so that it is run by the members in our workplaces. That sounds nice, but how could we actually do that?

First, the officers of Teamsters Local 695 currently appoint the stewards and bargaining committees for all shops in the Local. We might have an election but its “advisory”, meaning that they don’t have to actually hold them — or honor the results. For the strength of our union, we need Teamsters to have confidence in our stewards and there is no better way of doing that than having regular elections: we need to pick the people who are going to fight for us. The same is true for the committees that bargain our contracts, we need to elect the best Teamsters for the job.

A collection of guides IBT has put out for running the union.

Second, we need to educate our members about the union and provide comprehensive training for stewards. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters have created numerous materials through their education department that we can use in Local 695 to build our union and win the fights in the workplace. As elected officers of Teamsters 695, we will regularly train our stewards in how to handle grievances, meet with management, sign-up new members and engage members in the shops. We will have trainings for how to bargain contracts so that our committees are driving the fight for the contracts we deserve. We need to be using our union to organize for Teamster Power!

Beyond that, we will need to build Stewards’ Councils. The idea is simple: our elected stewards will meet regularly to talk about what’s happening in the workplace, what issues the union needs to take up and how to recruit more leaders to have a strong union. The purpose of our Business Agents and Officers is to back up our Teamster sisters and brothers, and to support the stewards at each site and make sure that we have the help and resources that we need.

Our union has a lot we can do, and even more we can call in if we need: we have our membership first and foremost, the solidarity of other Teamster Locals through Joint Council 39, the staff of the International Union we can ask for support, and the community at large. Together we can REBUILD this union!


Cómo pueden los miembros dirigir su propio sindicato?

Rebuild 695 no se trata solo de una elección para llegar a posiciones de liderazgo. Queremos cambiar nuestro sindicato para que sean los miembros en nuestros sitios de trabajo quienes mandan. Eso suena bonito, pero como es que se puede lograr eso exactamente?

Primero, en la actualidad, quienes dirigen Teamsters Local 695 nombran a los delegados y comités negociadores para cada sitio de trabajo en nuestro Local/Seccional. Puede que tengamos elecciones pero son meramente “consultivas”, es decir ellos no tienen que llevarlas a cabo — ni respetar los resultados. Para el bien de la fuerza de nuestro sindicato, necesitamos que los Teamsters tengan plena confianza en nuestros delegados sindicales y no hay mejor manera de lograr eso que haciendo elecciones frecuentes: necesitamos escoger a la gente que va a luchar por nosotros. Lo mismo se puede decir de los comités que negocian nuestros contratos. Tenemos que elegir a los mejores Teamsters para el trabajo.

Segundo, necesitamos educar a nuestros miembros acerca del sindicato y ofrecer capacitaciones completas para delegados sindicales. La Hermandad Internacional de los Teamsters ha creado buena cantidad de material a través de su departamento de educación que podemos usar en Local 695 para construir nuestra unión y ganar luchas en el sitio de trabajo. Como dirigentes de Teamsters 695 elegidos por voto popular, capacitaremos a nuestros delegados sindicales con frecuencia acerca de cómo resolver agravios, interactuar con los patrones, afiliar nuevos miembros e involucrar a los miembros en los sitios de trabajo. Haremos capacitaciones acerca de cómo negociar contratos para que nuestros comités sean quienes dirigen la lucha para ganar los contratos que merecemos. Tenemos que estar usando nuestro sindicato para organizar el Poder de los Teamsters!

Más allá de eso, necesitaremos construir Consejos de Delegados Sindicales. La idea es simple: nuestros delegados sindicales elegidos se reunirán con frecuencia para hablar de lo que está pasando en el sitio de trabajo, sobre que asuntos se debe preocupar el sindicato y como reclutar mas lideres para tener una fuerte unión. El propósito de los Representantes Laborales y Dirigentes es respaldar nuestras hermanas y nuestros hermanos Teamsters, y apoyar los delegados sindicales en cada sitio de trabajo para asegurar que tengan toda la ayuda y recursos necesarios.

Nuestro sindicato puede hacer mucho y puede movilizar apoyo de otras partes si es necesario: tenemos a la membrecía primero que todo, la solidaridad de otros Locales de los Teamsters a través del Consejo Conjunto 39, los empleados de la Unión Internacional a quienes les podemos pedir apoyo, y la comunidad entera. Juntos podemos RECONSTRUIR nuestra unión!