Standing strong together as we enter 2019

Secretary-Treasurer Peter Finn with Local 856 shop stewards on the UNITE HERE Local 2 picket line at the Westin St. Francis on October 6, 2018.

When I think about what a Teamster is, instead of thinking about the many different jobs we all do, for me, being a Teamster is about standing together with your co-workers and not being afraid to challenge the boss. It’s fighting with full force at the bargaining table for improved wages, quality affordable health care, and retirement security. And after we bargain that contract, making sure we aggressively enforce it.

To accomplish this, it takes togetherness. There is power in standing together as a team versus going it alone. And in Local 856 we have that. As we begin 2019, over 98% of the 13,000 working people who make up Local 856, are full Teamster members.

This 98% is particularly impressive coming now, just six months after we faced the onset of a massive corporate-funded legal attack that is trying to undermine our bargaining power by tricking our co-workers into abandoning us.

But there is no law handed down from Washington, D.C., no matter how unfair it is, that can take our power away, unless we let it. And thanks to all of you, we have proved that. In fact, we have more full Local 856 members now than a year ago. More of us have chosen to stand together with our co-workers as full Teamsters members and fight on behalf of each other, versus the unfortunate few who have decided to quit on the people they work with, and in doing so, side with the corporate special interests that are attacking us — those same corporate special interests that are looking to take away pensions, reduce health care, and fight against fair wages.

Those attacking us thought they would make us weaker, but our Local Union is actually stronger now than it was a year ago. When challenged, we responded with strength. That is a testament to our togetherness — the idea that we are all better off when we all have each other’s back.

Through 2018 we were able to keep our union strong. Our challenge for 2019 is to keep it that way.

San Francisco hotel workers prevail in 63-day strike

In early December, after more than two months on strike, nearly 2,500 UNITE HERE Local 2 hotel workers reached an agreement on a new contract with the Marriott Corporation. Teamsters 856 commends our members at the four of the seven hotels affected by the strike who supported our Local 2 brothers and sisters. Teamsters 856 was proud to stand in solidarity with the courageous Local 2 workers who together stood up to the world’s largest hotel corporation — and won.