A Message from Local Union 776 President Ed Thompson
Hello! As I’m writing this message to you on a warm, sunny day, it’s a reminder that we are more than halfway through another year. I hope this message finds everyone safe as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
What a fitting way to welcome summer; our Family Picnic at Knoebels! Anxious to start to resume normal lives members and their families came out for a day of fun and fellowship at the park. A feeling of pride overtook me as the members and their families streamed into the park grounds, many displaying their “Teamster Pride” wearing various T-shirts, ball caps, etc. There’s more information and photos from the picnic later in the newsletter and also on the Local Union Website.
As I reported to you, earlier this year is an important year for members of Teamsters Local 776. This is an election year for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. International President Jim Hoffa is retiring at the end of his current term, ending twenty-two years as International President. In addition to electing a new General President Members will be electing a new General Secretary-Treasurer, Regional and At-Large Vice President positions, among other International Officers. On January 6, 2021, the IBT announced that the General Executive Board has determined that the pandemic will prevent the International Union from conducting the 30th
International Convention in-person and plans were formulated to have a “virtual” convention.
As pandemic-related restrictions eased throughout our area PA Conference of Teamsters and Joint Council 53 President William Hamilton scheduled the annual meetings of both groups to coincide with the convention. PA Conference and Joint Council delegates met and conducted business in the mornings and then joined the convention proceedings electronically later in the day.
The 30th International Convention of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters convened on June 22, 2021. Aside from officially nominating the two slates vying in the International Election, important changes were made in the Teamster Constitution. Pertaining to Article XII in the Teamster Constitution, Delegates voted overwhelmingly to eliminate the “two thirds rule”, which allowed officers to impose a contract after a majority of members voted no, if less than half of the members voted. This amendment also affects the vote on supplements and riders.
The IBT Convention Delegates overwhelmingly voted to approve an amendment making strike benefits payable from the 1st day of a strike, rather than the 8th day, as it has been until now. Strike benefit amounts remain the same: five times the monthly dues, paid weekly.
At the 30th International Convention, delegates heard how the union is building on past successes to power its latest organizing effort at online behemoth Amazon. Teamsters from all levels of the Union—the International Union, Joint Councils, and local Unions-voted to pass a historic resolution on Amazon. The resolution sets forth a unified approach to mobilizing the union and engaging Teamster members. It resolves to maintain standards in Teamster core industries against the threat posed by Amazon and supports Amazon workers as they build power across the country. The IBT had created a website to keep the membership informed on news and events from the convention. Members were able to stream the daily events through the Local Union’s website.
During the PA Conference and Joint Council 53 sessions, Local Union delegates heard from various state and local officials from PA and New Jersey who share the same beliefs and ideals as the Teamsters. Pennsylvania officials attending included PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman. 2022 is a mid-term election year; with PA Senator Pat Toomey not seeking reelection this will be a closely watched Senate race. In addition to elected officials, Tyler Longpine (Political Director, IBT), Scott Moore (Eastern Region Political Coordinator, IBT) and John Mataya (State Legislative Director, IBT) spoke on the importance of building strong bonds and supporting candidates who support our agenda. Lastly, Jeanette Barnes, DRIVE –IBT was in attendance to offer support to the Local Unions in their efforts to expand DRIVE registration through their membership. The Conference offered a "Convention Registration Help Table” to assist anyone who still needed to register for the Convention or access the Convention website. In addition, computers, private voting station and non-partisan technical assistance were provided the Delegates for voting during the convention. With the closing of the Convention the IBT election will be later this year. I urge you to get involved, study the issues, and participate in the election process.
Earlier this year the Local Union undertook a project to simplify and streamline our new hire application process. A secure online process was developed where a new member fills out their Local 776 application, dues check-off, DRIVE registration, their death benefit beneficiary, and lastly their desire to be included in Local 776 emails to members. Once completed the applications are transmitted electronically to a Local 776 TITAN operator for input into the Teamster TITAN system. The new system will help to insure that new members are correctly entered into the TITAN system and be accounted for during the monthly dues billing. Additionally, the problem of an employer’s new hire not becoming a member is greatly reduced.
Lastly, I would like to mention the Dauphin County Contracts currently in negotiation. The County has taken an approach that can only be construed as trying to “break” the Union. The Dauphin County BA’s have put together an informational article to their members and can be found in the newsletter. Dauphin County Members now is the time to stand strong, stand united, stand behind you Local Union as we take this employer on to get you the best possible contract!
President, Teamsters Local 776