From the Desk of Secretary Treasurer Tom Quackenbush
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe! Our Local has had a lot of challenges this past year and one thing I have learned is that Local 294 Teamsters know how to fight the good fight! I was fortunate to be witness to these “fighters”… members who keep our union strong by stepping out of their daily routine to support their coworkers… many times this year. I am talking about our shop stewards and member leaders who understand that our strength is in our unity and solidarity. These are the members who choose to lead, learn, and stand up for fairness at work. They sit through contract negotiations, dispel anti-union misinformation, and constantly organize their peers for strength. They just seem to inherently know that the next generation of workers depend on today’s Teamsters to keep our union strong … just as we depended on the Teamsters that came before us. Think about it for a moment, every place of employment, at one point, had no union. Workers had to fight to change how things were. They risked their jobs and their families' livelihoods to stand together as one. They demanded that their right to negotiate with the employer for wages, working conditions, and benefits be recognized, and they won their fight. We cannot forget these fights. It is important that we all recognize the hard work and dedication of members who step up and become advocates of our union. This keeps us strong and moves us forward. We cannot forget that we stand on the shoulders of our predecessors and it is our duty to preserve, protect and build upon their efforts.
When Larry Heine was a working man he drove a truck eight hours a day. He saw his family every night, owned his home, sent both his kids to college, and took his wife on vacation to Hawaii whenever he could land some overtime. As a member of the Teamsters, Heine was guaranteed good health care and a pension. He retired at 51, receiving a cake and a $250 gift card to a fishing store on his last day. To today's drivers, his was a good life in a golden age — an age that many say ended on July 1, 1980, when President Jimmy Carter put his name to the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, the law that deregulated the trucking industry. The 1980 MCA broke up that system, allowing anyone to haul any good, to any place, for any price they liked. Experts say that today's big-box and online retailers wouldn't exist if the government had not given up its ability to control freight prices. No Walmart. No Home Depot. No Amazon. And certainly no Amazon Prime.