Teamster Women on the Move
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa looked out at the crowd of more than 750 Teamster women attending the 2010 Teamsters Women’s Conference and called on these Teamsters to stand up, speak up and get even more involved in their union. View more photos from today's events.
“We are the Teamsters, we are strong and we are growing, You are making this union strong,” Hoffa said. “You need to get active in the union and fight as hard as you can for worker rights.”
These Teamster women not only answered Hoffa’s call to action, they did it in full force, marching through the streets of Minneapolis. Hundreds of Teamster women gathered in an organized march through downtown, coloring the city in a sea of pink and black rally signs and banners that called for the restoration of the American middle class and an end to Wall Street greed.
“Workers ‘Yes’, Wall Street ‘No,’” shouted the Teamsters, as they marched on 10th Street, taking a turn on Nicollet Mall, while curious bystanders watched and wanted to find out just who these outspoken women were.
“We’re Teamsters! We fight! We fight for worker’s rights!” the women chanted, as they marched toward Peavey Plaza.
Their march took place in the same city where 76 years ago Teamsters fought and died for their rights on the job in the historic 1934 Teamsters strike.
The Teamster women assembled in the plaza to hear from Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Tom Keegel and Sue Mauren, Director of the Teamsters Women’s Conference. They also heard from Barb Johnson, President of the Minneapolis City Council and Katie Sieben, Minnesota State Senator.
The Teamster women marched and rallied to call for good jobs and an economic recovery that includes working Americans. They called for an end to corporate excess and Wall Street greed, while they reaffirmed their unity as Teamster sisters and as women taking a stand for justice.
“This rally was amazing,” said Elizabeth Gonzalez, with Teamsters Local 777 in Chicago. “We took to the streets, we spoke for all workers and it was powerful. You could hear our echoes against the buildings.”
Earlier in the day, the Teamster women gathered at the nearby Hilton Hotel to hear from a packed schedule of speakers, including Wilma Liebman, Chair of the National Labor Relations Board, and a former Teamster attorney. Liebman provided a positive and hopeful outlook for the future of the Board.
“We are ready to revive and revitalize labor law, to make the protections of it more real for working people,” Liebman said. “If we are to propel our economy forward, prosperity must be shared. We must have a strong trade union movement.”
Also speaking at the day’s general session were Shar Knutson, President of the Minnesota AFL-CIO; International Vice President Ken Hall; Jeff Farmer, Teamsters Organizing Director; as well as numerous Teamster women leaders, including Leticia Acosta, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 657, and the Continental Airlines fleet service workers who recently organized with the Teamsters.
After a general session in the morning and an inspiring and powerful rally in the afternoon, the attendees headed to a number of educational workshops.
The 2010 Teamsters Women’s Conference continues Saturday with a final day of excitement and an appearance from notable guest speaker Arianna Huffington.