This week, representatives from our International headquarters in Washington, D.C., were in town to discuss our Union’s political action committee, D.R.I.V.E., with Teamsters 856 members.
D.R.I.V.E., or Democrat Republican Independent Voter Education, is a non-partisan program that supports candidates and issues that support working families.
On Tuesday, the D.R.I.V.E. reps were at St. Rose Hospital in Hayward, where the program has had an acute impact on the 400 Teamsters working there. When the fiscally ailing hospital was in danger of closing, D.R.I.V.E.helped to elect Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle — a staunch supporter of St. Rose and Local 856 members. Supervisor Valle worked directly with Teamsters 856 members in securing important funds at the local, state and county level to ensure that hospital could remain open to serve the community and maintain good jobs. D.R.I.V.E. also supported last year’s Alameda County ballot Measure AA, which partially funds the hospital.
On Wednesday, the D.R.I.V.E. reps greeted Mount Diablo Unified School District members at 5 a.m., before their shifts started. As school district employees, elected school board officials have an immediate impact on jobs.
“Whether we work in the private or public sector, politics will inevitably affect our working conditions,” said Teamsters 856 Political Director Trish Blinstrub.
Blinstrub said that in the public sector, city councils, board of supervisors, and hospital boards vote on members’ contracts and budgets and in the private sector, elected officials vote on special funding, laws, rules and regulations that can alter working conditions.
“D.R.I.V.E. is one important way that members can make sure their voices are heard in the political arena,” she continued.