Teamsters Vote Themselves Out of Existence

         The last living member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters died today. Obviously it hasn’t been a Brotherhood for some time since Neil Downe was the only surviving Teamster for the last 6 years. In my estimation it takes at least 2 people to make a Brotherhood.
        The Teamsters were too successful at what they did, they created a group of people so independent, that the members didn’t feel they needed to support the Teamster cause. The Teamsters led their people to believe they were so powerful that no one could take them out. What the Teamster members didn’t see was the anti-union under current running within their government. The cheap goods created by the free trade/free market mentality wooed the Teamster members into believing that they were better off by voting the free trade/free market politics, and they voted themselves into oblivion.
        The last TeamsterThe powerbrokers in Washington used outside, secondary issues to suck the Teamsters into voting for them. Issues such as gun rights, and abortion, and welfare, and social security became the lure to Teamster members. These issues became the platform for the anti-union group to draw the union voters away from voting for their livelihood. The major corporations grew to astronomical size, while the Teamsters ranks diminished.
         Once the Teamsters became too small to be of any importance, their function and effectiveness ceased. The corporations that had been Teamster companies laughed all the way to the bank. They reduced wages down to barely livable wages and dropped any hint of benefits. It should be noted here that Mr. Downe was also the last surviving member of the once healthy middle class.
         It must be noted that the Teamsters were so successful in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s at building membership, and giving their members quality contracts, that the members of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, began to believe that they, and their children, would always have good union jobs. They were wrong.
        The last TeamsterWal-Mart has offered to place a plaque honoring Neil Downe in all their stores. A side note to the passing of Mr. Downe is Wal-Mart’s announcement that they will be creating company towns surrounding their stores. They will pay their employees with vouchers for goods and services available at their stores only. Additionally these vouchers will be good for company owned housing only available to Wal-Mart employees. All overtime will be compensated with time off at the company’s discretion. Former Teamsters need not apply, as Wal-Mart will not hire people Un-American enough to have belonged to a union.
         All Teamster and UPS retirees have lost their pensions. There is no longer anyone to pay into the pension plan, so there are no funds to be paid out. The Corporatists said that was OK, since the pension plans were just a form of welfare anyway.
        Neil Downe was often heard to say, “I always voted as a Teamster, I always voted for labor. I always voted for my job first, then I could take on the secondary issues with my Congressmen. Without a job, the secondary issues were moot. Union members who didn’t bother to vote were what killed us. By not voting at all or voting the secondary issues, they let the wealthy make the rules.”
Bob Newhouse