International Transport Workers Union Presidents’ Council Conference
Report on Joint Transit, Universities, Utilities and Services Division and Air Division Presidents’ Council Meeting
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
First Vice President Fred Hoffman and I attended the Joint Transit, Universities, Utilities and Services Division and Air Division Presidents’ Council Meeting in Orlando, Florida which was held from April 29-May 3. Presidents and Vice-Presidents of TWU locals from all over the United States met to discuss important issues concerning labor and TWU.
The meeting started with an uplifting speech by our International President, John Samuelsen. President Samuelsen spoke about the many locals facing contract battles, the upcoming presidential election, the threat of autonomous vehicles, and the need to stick together as one union. His message really resonated with those in attendance and his pledge to support our locals and to be there when called upon hit home. Our International has grown to over 150,000 members and continues to grow.
All local presidents attended conferences, informational classes and workshops as follows:
- IAC officers introductions
- Meet and greet International staff
- COPE and state conference
- The importance of the unions’ being involved with the political candidates in their respective communities to ensure that if elected they will look out for the interests of labor and working people.
- Multiple state conferences such as the Pennsylvania Conference, of which President Willie Brown of Local 234 is the Chairman, and Craig Holmes, President of Local 290 is the Co-Chair, gave reports of their Committee. These Councils are TWU representatives from various states who meet with candidates to determine if they will be supportive of labor.
- Leading effective union meetings
- Teaching Local presidents the protocol and procedures for running effective union meetings.
- Veterans’ Committee
- The International takes pride in its military members. The Local presidents were given useful information to share with our members who have served.
- First Vice President Fred Hoffman is going to lead the charge of Local 290 in developing a Veterans’ Committee. We want to identify the veterans in our union, get them involved, and provide them with helpful information. The International’s website for veterans is veterans.twu.org. Local 290 thanks our brothers and sisters for their military service.
- FTA Drug and Alcohol
- As of January 1, 2019, FTA will increase random drug testing from 25% to 50%.
- Clearinghouse commercial driver’s license drug and alcohol test will be giving employers real time access to information about CDL drug violations.
- Communications and videos
- The International offers informational assistance in video making, picture taking, and drafting narratives to help its locals in their campaigns during contract negotiations, strikes, etc.
- Janus update
- The International gave the latest updates on the Janus decision by the Supreme Court.
- Tech threat
- The International informed us on how technology and driverless vehicles are threatening our jobs as we speak.
- Autonomous vehicles
- Columbus, Ohio Local President spoke on how the city is trying to implement the use of autonomous vehicles which will lessen the need for operators of buses, trolleys, and trains in his city. This is not an isolated issue. Driverless vehicles are coming to multiple cities. We, as labor, must be aware of this threat to transit workers of the elimination of our jobs and benefits.
- The effects of Uber and Lyft throughout transportation.
- Presidents and Officers Roundtable
- The Local Presidents discussed the issues that most locals are facing with their employers such as contracts, part-time workers, elimination of benefits, and work rules.
- Young workers
- The need for brothers and sisters to embrace the new workforce, help educate them on the importance of labor in order to strengthen the union for the future.
We found this Presidents’ Council Meeting to be very helpful and informative. The inclusion of the Airlines Division added to the understanding of the struggles we all share. Local 290 will be establishing a Women’s Committee and a Veterans’ Committee, as well as initiating a COPE drive. I want to share the knowledge and information that we gained at this meeting with our members. I would like to thank John Samuelsen, Curtis Tate, Mike Mayes, and the IAC officers and staff for providing this exceptional opportunity and for us support throughout the year.
President, TWU Local 290