Photo of October rally to defeat Prop 32

Victory on key election battles

Hoffa mobilizes Local 853 stewards to defeat Prop 32

IT TOOK A LOT OF HARD WORK --registering members to vote, going to worksites to discuss with members how the ballot initiatives and candidates would impact them, phone banking, and walking precincts -- but in the end, all that effort paid off on election day.

Local 853 registered 1,800 members to vote who hadn’t been registered before. Our top priority -- Prop 32, the ballot initiative that would have pushed unions out of the political process -- was defeated by a 13% margin statewide, but that margin was even more significant in the Bay Area -- topping 40% in most counties.

“We pulled out all of the stops to ensure this victory,” says Secretary- Treasurer Rome Aloise, “from bringing Jim Hoffa out here to rally the troops, to utilizing both new technologies and oldfashioned pounding the pavement. We couldn’t afford to lose and, fortunately, we didn’t.”

On October 7, IBT General President Hoffa came out to Local 853’s hall for the annual steward’s meeting, making it no ordinary meeting. Members were thrilled to know that their international president understood the impact of Prop 32 and came out to help ensure that the bill went down.

“We’ve got to do the job,” Hoffa said, “because nobody else will do it for us. We have no power when we’re alone. But when we come together, we’ll kick ass because now we have power.”

Looking at the national picture, Hoffa explained that “the dots are all connected. They’re doing this in every state. Billionaires are trying to shut out the 47%.”

Perhaps because of the strong union push to ensure the defeat of Prop 32, most of the other important labor-backed propositions and candidates also won. The Teamsters strongly supported Proposition 30, Governor Brown’s tax measure to fund schools and protect infrastructure funding. In large part because of labor’s efforts, voters agreed to tax themselves to protect essential government services and public works funding. Further, labor’s efforts helped pass Proposition 39, to close an unfair corporate tax loophole and fund job-creating clean energy projects.

Photo of Secretary-Treasurer Rome Aloise with IBT General President Jim Hoffa at Local 853 steward’s meeting

History was made in the state Senate and Assembly, as union members played a key role in helping elect two-thirds Democratic supermajorities in both houses for the first time since 1933. This important victory should enable the Democratic majority to develop budgets and reasonable revenue-generating plans in a timely fashion, and not be beholden to those who would use the budget process to extract anti-worker policies they could not otherwise achieve.

While the November 6 results were impressive, the fight does not end on election day. “We are going to attack the initiative and campaign finance process that allows billionaires to dump unlimited money into attempts to buy elections. We are going to move legislation attacking independent contracting and other threats to our jobs. And we will enlist the support of politicians for our contract and organizing campaigns,” said Aloise and Joint Council 42 President Randy Cammack in a statement.

“The important thing is we remain committed to building Teamster power from the ground up, which means starting with city councils, school boards, and the like. These are the people that make decisions that impact our children, our communities, and our jobs. And they are the state and federal legislators of tomorrow.”