Labor support for the Freightliner Five

March 21, 2008

I WANT to thank Socialist Worker for your recent article on the Freightliner Five ("Union-busting at Freightliner," February 22). As a union activist, I find the fight being waged by the five brothers and sisters in a right-to-work state against their union-busting employer inspiring.

I had the honor of meeting Allan Bradley and Franklin Torrence at a tour stop in San Francisco, and they made it clear that their fight wasn't just about getting their jobs back, but the future of unionizing in the South and in this country. I agreed, and so I decided to bring their case to my union for support.

I am a member of Teamsters Local 70 in Oakland, Calif., and recent events have made us no strangers to union-busting tactics. Last summer, Waste Management locked out hundreds of our members when their contract expired. Among the many deadlocked issues were the right to strike during the life of the contract and the right to honor picket lines.

While in the end, the union ceded the right to strike, there was no way they would go back to work without the right to honor picket lines, especially considering that the success of winning that lockout depended on the solidarity of two other unions at the company that honored Teamster picket lines.

What you can do

For more information about the Freightliner Five, go to their No Justice, No Solidarity Web site. The Five are asking for donations to help them in their struggle--you can contribute on the Web site.

Also, in a recent organizing drive at UPS Freight, one of the drivers helping to lead that struggle was fired. After the union was successful with winning recognition through a card-check agreement, the local leadership fought to get that brother his job back.

So when I raised a resolution calling for solidarity with the Freightliner Five at my membership meeting on March 8, it passed unanimously. In fact, our local's Secretary-Treasurer and International Brotherhood of Teamsters International Vice President Chuck Mack seconded the resolution.

Our local is calling on Freightliner to rehire the fired brothers and sisters from the United Auto Workers, and our executive board will be considering a donation. We will also be publishing an article in our newsletter about the case urging members to learn more and make further donations.

Anyone who is interested in the future of the labor movement understands that this fight makes a difference to union organizing not just in the South, but everywhere in this country. An injury to one is an injury to all, and we at Local 70 won't stand for union busting in Oakland, in North Carolina or anywhere in between.
Jenna Woloshyn, Oakland, Calif.

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