January 22, 2015
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—The Teamsters’ national president James Hoffa traveled to New York last week in under three hours via the Amtrak Acela high-speed train to make it in time to swear in Local 237’s incumbent president, Greg Floyd, to another five year term.
In the accompanying video, we interviewed Mr. Floyd at Local 237’s offices on West 14th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Mr. Hoffa wasn’t the only luminary to attend the swearing-in ceremony. Numerous elected officials attended and spoke before Mr. Hoffa asked Mr. Floyd to raise his right hand to officially begin his new term. Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Public Advocate Letitia James and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, all joined the senior New York Senator, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer to offer their congratulations.
We asked Mr. Floyd which primary issues would the Local need to address as he embarks upon another term.
“One of the most important issues is getting a new contract for our members in the New York City Public Housing Authority and then [the next important issue] is preserving public housing because there’s movement to privatize public housing. Also maintaining our pensions will be important, and of course we need to preserve labor’s strength around the country because it’s under attack,” said Floyd.
Senator Schumer said during his opening remarks that the biggest threat to American society is the ever-growing economic inequality gap. Floyd believes the country will have to be bold.
“We need to raise the minimum wage. There are a lot of people who go to work everyday and still live in poverty. That’s not fair. Somebody who puts in an honest day’s work they should make a decent living; they should be able to afford things and not be on public assistance.”
One reason why Mr. Hoffa traveled via Amtrak’s Acela to New York last week because Local 237’s 24,000 membership is the single biggest local in the Teamsters organization. We asked Mr. Floyd about the Teamsters International president personally swearing him in for a new term.
“This is the third time he has sworn me in. It means a lot. If he keeps swearing me in, I must be doing a good job,” Floyd said.