Teamsters Local 700 Trustees Greg Ortiz and Anthony McGee represented the union at the IBT’s 2018 Public Services Division Conference, which focused on building Teamster power among members and internally organizing to fight “Right to Work” legislation. Both Greg and Anthony spent time learning and exchanging ideas with Teamsters from other locals across the country that service public sector employees.
“Right to Work isn’t just an attack on Local 700 members, or even Teamsters and other union workers across America,” said Anthony. “It’s an attack on all working families, both union and non-union. It is an attempt by Wall Street billionaires and political extremists to strip our freedoms so that we, the middle class, don’t have a voice anymore.”
With public sector employees under attack from the government and major corporations, the conference panel discussed ramifications of the Janus vs. AFSCME case that was heard at the Supreme Court on Feb. 26, 2018. Mark Janus, who works for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, has argued that he should not have to pay anything to his union but still be able to receive all benefits of his contract that was previously negotiated for him. An adverse ruling in this case will take away the freedom of working people to join together and have a voice through their union.
A Supreme Court decision on the Janus vs. AFSCME case is expected by June 2018.
“We need to believe in the power of our union and why we joined in the first place,” said Greg. “Most of us joined the union for the workplace protections and benefits of having collective bargaining rights. That can all go away very quickly if we abandon the union once this legislation is put into place.”