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My Short Career in Politics
Tao of Tony Rooster

"They're trying to fuck us. Our own union," said my Teamster brother.

We were both walking out of the meeting that was held to discuss the upcoming merger, and our forced transfer to a different local. This was last year. Funny how union halls always look like they were designed to be defensible positions. This one had a low, overhanging roof, retaining walls around the windows and doors. It's not a coincidence. It dawns on me that it's the members they are defending against.

"Yeah. Give up our seniority and work under that piece of shit contract? You hear him threaten us in there? If we don't vote yes, he'll just get some of his freight haulers to pull our loads? Lock us out?"

My mind is working overtime trying to find some way to defend our livelihood.

"Let's just shoot the fucker," says my union brother.

"It's easy to SAY that. But we both know that at the end of the day, we're just working men. We ain't thugs."

I'm trying to find real solutions here, not bluff and bluster.

I spend the next week reading the Teamster constitution, the local by-laws, industrial common law, the NLRA, the LMRDA, everything that I can get ahold of to find a way out of our predicament. I don't want to be another casualty of a corporate merger. We've all fought too hard to get where we are. We're the last of the blue collar middle class.

What I deduce is that there is only one way for a worker to fight against a corrupt union, and that's by simply voting them out. Elections are every three years, and lucky for us, this is an election year.

I plant the seeds, make the calls, and get a plan together. I send out the certified eligibility letters, we raise money, over $10,000. We make t-shirts. We mail flyers. We spend every free moment at the ports, at the trucking yards, the dairies, the food processors, the taxi company, and we talk to people. Hand out flyers. Remind them to vote. I soon find that the best way to connect with people is by finding out which business agent is assigned to that work site, and then shit-talk that business agent up and down.

The company's security guards, and the union's business agents would try their best to chase us off, and only succeeded in making us look better. 90% of the workers were fired up, excited to see us. Some of these folks had lost their pension contributions, their healthcare, took wage cuts, and voted for concessionary contracts out of fear, after being threatened with lock outs by THEIR OWN UNION. It was the same everywhere we went.

This union boss was the son of the last union boss, been running it for over 30 years. He was giving sweetheart deals to the companies, and taking his cut on the side. It doesn't take much to buy these guys off, either. A pair of super bowl tickets, or an invite to the playboy mansion is all it takes for a company to save millions in wages over the life of a contract.

One day I see a big new dodge truck parked in front of my house. Out of place on my street, to be sure. Two guys are sitting there with the windows down, staring intently at my front door. I go outside and these goons just keep staring, trying to put off a menacing vibe. I'm not impressed. I walk the dog around the block, and notice a Teamster bumper sticker on the back. Just as I suspected. I approached the open window on my way back around and, one hand behind my back, say, "I got a present for you guys."

I see alarm on their faces.

I pulled out the still warm bag of dog shit and emptied it into the passenger's lap. These fools thought I was pulling a gun! I quickly turned around and walked back inside, laughing. I never saw these wannabe enforcers again.

The local had around 5000 members. 25% turnout was about what we were expecting. It was a done deal. I was gonna be the president of a Teamster local. What a fool I am.

The votes come back. We got 175 votes compared to their 1250. Do I think they cheated? Yeah, I do. But, what's done is done. Now, I get to work for a hostile employer that hates me, and pay dues to a union boss that wants me dead. And you know what? I couldn't be happier. I can't be content without just a little bit of conflict in my life. Life is a war, and I never forget it.

In the end, we did manage to secure 90% of what we wanted in our new contract. I think we at least scared 'em a little bit. They weren't used to workers fighting back.

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Add Comment
Tony RoosterNovember 4, 2017 6:59 AM UTC

The problem these days is apathetic membership. A lot of people I've talked to don't know what union or what local they're even in. The leadership looks out for themselves only, and nobody bothers calling 'em on it. Less than 1% bother going to meetings.
BobNovember 3, 2017 10:05 PM UTC

Organized labor has observed political silence with regard to mass immigration and its depressing effects on working class wages. A good launching pad for Democrat careerists, though.