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Teamsters Survey Rank And File With An Eye On 2020 Presidential Election

July 8, 2019

By Joe Maniscalco

Teamsters can take part in a new online survey that could directly impact the 2020 Presidential election.

New York, NY – The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is asking members throughout the country to start seriously thinking about the 2020 field of presidential candidates and the issues that matter most to their working lives. 

An online survey launched on June 27, at quickly garnered responses from IBT members in 41 states within 24-hours of going live and is, according to General President James Hoffa, an attempt to “shape the debate about what this election is about.” 

Indeed, after putting two presidential debates in the can, most of the crowded field of Democratic candidates running to unseat Donald Trump in the White House have already demonstrated that they will not put working class issues on the table unless they are pushed. 

Organized labor received scant mention after two nights of televised Democratic Party debates involving 20 different candidates. 

“Candidates are going to come to us and ask for our support,” Hoffa said before debuting the online survey. “But at this time, I’m not hearing what we should be hearing on the issues.”

The Teamsters Presidential Survey asks members to rate in importance the following: Pensions & Retirement Security; Fair Trade Deals That Protect American Workers; Protecting and Expanding Collective Bargaining Rights; Building and Maintaining Our Country’s Infrastructure; and Providing Affordable Healthcare For All. 

The survey also affords IBT members an opportunity to talk about other issues that matter most to them, and comes at a time when organized labor is showing signs that it might be willing to rethink the wisdom of reflexively voting for establishment Democrats. 

A year after Hillary Clinton’s spectacular loss to Donald Trump, the AFL-CIO adopted the Independent Political Voice resolution at its 2017 convention in St. Louis. 

“We must give working people greater political power by speaking with an unquestionably independent political voice, backed by a unified labor movement,” the resolution reads in part. “The time has passed when we can passively settle for the lesser of two evils. We must aggressively foster a new generation of elected representatives who share our aspirations for growing the labor movement and meeting the challenges of globalization and the emerging 21st century workplace.”

According to the IBT, the union will use the feedback it receives from rank and file members to steer “ongoing conversations with the presidential candidates.”

Ultimately, the union says that the responses that the presidential candidates give in answer to rank and file concerns will “all influence the Teamsters’ endorsement decision.”

The Teamsters endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on August 26, 2016. At the time, Hoffa called the former first lady and secretary of state, “the right candidate for the middle class and working men and women across the country.” 

July 8, 2019

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