Teamsters Local 237

Hope Defies Tough Times as Obama Prepares the Way

Facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, many of you might find it difficult to get into the holiday spirit this year. However, Local 237 Teamsters has continued to strengthen its efforts to protect the quality of life for all of its members, redoubling our commitment to meeting your needs during these tough financial times.

Facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, many of you might find it difficult to get into the holiday spirit this year. However, Local 237 Teamsters has continued to strengthen its efforts to protect the quality of life for all of its members, redoubling our commitment to meeting your needs during these tough financial times.

From advocating for increased federal funding of public housing and NYCHA to defending our school safety agents from unwarranted criticism, and ensuring that the size of our workforce and our benefits remain strong,

During times of financial distress, when core services are at risk of being cut and public employees are regularly first on the chopping block, government decision-makers often talk about the principle of shared sacrifice. We intend to hold them to their promise and make sure the needs of our members are wellprotected.

We negotiated and approved a successful new contract with the city just prior to the bottom falling out in the financial market; and we will continue to represent the best interests of our members as times get even tougher. The contract we arranged provides our members with wage increases greater than the rate of inflation and substantially higher than similar unions nationwide, guarantees no givebacks, and enhances benefits. It’s a contract we likely couldn’t have received if we had waited any longer.

Though we’re living through troubled times, there is still much to be optimistic about. On January 20, President-elect Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the position. His inauguration and commitment to change offers the opportunity for working-class families to have a greater voice in how our country is run.

As a proponent of affordable and public housing and a strong advocate for middle-income workers, President Obama will usher in a new era of defending working-class families in New York and throughout the nation. I look forward to working with him, with members of the Congress and other legislative leaders to reestablish the strength of the labor community and our workforce. Recently, Obama named Shaun Donovan, New York City Commissioner for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), as his choice for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). At HPD, Donovan spearheaded the effort to expand and improve the city’s stock of affordable housing. Donovan has also shown a deep appreciation for the importance of public housing and the significant role it plays in the lives of nearly half a million New Yorkers.

With Donovan as Secretary of HUD, Local 237 has a vital ally to continue the fight we started in the housing complexes of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. Working with him, we will take that fight to the steps of the capitol in Washington D.C. and win real reform on behalf of affordable and public housing residents.

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, another close friend and supporter of Local 237, may be tapped by Obama to head the White House Office of Urban Policy. From housing subsidies to infrastructure and transportation projects, cities have not gotten back what they have put in to the federal government over the past eight years. I look forward to working with him as together we will bring urban areas like New York City back to the prominence they once held.

When one member of Local 237 comes under attack, it is as if we all are under attack because our union is a family and families stick together. School safety agents have been unfairly and irresponsibly criticized by the New York Civil Liberties Union. Why? Because they have done their jobs effectively and efficiently, leaving schools safer than they’ve been in years. It was just a few months ago that Mayor Bloomberg applauded our efforts which directly resulted in the lowest incidence of violent crimes in schools in years. The NYCLU can question our methods, attack our members and hold press conferences every minute of every day, but they cannot impeach the extraordinary results of our school safety agents.

I hope this holiday season is a time of health and happiness for you and your loved ones. In the year ahead, we will continue our work on your behalf and continue our commitment to bringing each of you a better future. Happy holidays and happy New Year!

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