Which One of You is the Steward of the Future?

   Stewards of the future?  With the retirement of so many looming, many of our stewards, and activist members, will be moving on to greener, (as opposed to browner), pastures. We have many drivers with long histories of experience driving for the big brown giant, and also riding the horses in the Teamsters Union. Many of them have been responsible for the day to day contractual decisions the average driver lives by.
     The push for nine-five language was pushed by today’s steward. The optional holiday was pushed by today’s stewards. The eight hour request was pushed by today’s stewards.
     Today’s stewards rose to the occasion because of the injustices of yesterday. Twelve hour days were the norm. No days off without calling in sick and being disciplined for any reason. No chance to attend family functions, or be a part of your kids lives. None of these languages were a part of the contract in the 70’s.
     The company didn’t provide these things out of the goodness of their heart. Your Teamster steward stood up at the many meetings over the years and demanded they be negotiated into the contract.
     The company has a long history of forcing it’s employees to sell their soul, and give up their home life for the benefit of the bottom line. That push goes on today. Our discussion of the bottom line continues.
     The issue is many of those fighting stewards will be gone in the coming years between now and the next contract.
     Which one of you younger drivers will take the gauntlet and run?
Which one of you will overcome your fears of dealing with management and become the next “Teamster Steward”? Which one of you will be instrumental in shaping the future of the drivers yet to be? Which one of you will shape your lives in the new technologies yet to be introduced inside of this huge corporation? Which of you will make the best decisions for your members when the politics of the time are such that you will be under attack from outside the union?
     The life we live inside of big brown has been shaped by the men and women of the past. The future will be shaped by those of you with guts enough to rise to the occasion today. Yes, we old timers “got ours”. We “got ours”, because we fought for it tooth and nail. We rose to the occasion. We took an interest in the function of our local union. We took on the company in their office every morning. We stood up at the Union meeting and demanded the representation we paid for in our Union dues. We insisted that our Union represent our needs in contract negotiations.
     Now it’s your turn. The old timers have shaped today.
     You young guys and girls get to shape tomorrow.
Rise to the occasion!