Posted September 13, 2021

Here is an updated reading list for the 2021 Teamster election. My first reading list was posted in October 2020.

Since last October there have been several major developments in the race for the union’s leadership including, the nomination of the two slates for the General Executive Board (G.E.B.) and their candidates for General President (G.P.), Sean O’Brien and Steve Vairma. The delegates to the Teamster convention passed major reforms and voted down others, while a major campaign to organize Amazon was announced. …

Reflections of an antiwar labor activist

9–11 began for me with the phone ringing off the hook. I stumbled to the phone and listened to my voicemail. It was my mother calling. “Joey, something terrible has happened. Turn on the TV.” My brain wasn’t really working but I turned on the TV and there were the twin towers of the World Trade Center billowing huge amounts of smoke. It looked like a Hollywood disaster movie.

I was dead asleep because I worked late at night at UPS in those days. I started at 6PM on the first part of my…

The Teamsters Have Entered the Chat (w/ Joe Allen)

Bonus Episode of the Working People Podcast hosted by Maximilian Alvarez

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Please sign up for the Working People podcast on Patreon, here.

Working People: A lot of folks who are watching this from the sidelines were really excited going into the Teamsters convention. But, as Joe rightly pointed out, we should temper our expectations. We should look critically at what’s going on. Then we can kind of better assess this Amazon drive and where the Teamsters as a union are at. …

A 2021 Teamster Election Primer: Gangsters, Reformers, and Socialists in the Teamsters. A Reading List by Joe Allen

The 2021 Teamster election is well under way. After two decades in power James P. Hoffa, Jr. will not be running for reelection but there is a real contest for who will succeed him. The Teamsters are one of the few major unions where the rank and file directly elect their top officers, so it is up to the members to decide. The campaign should produce a vigorous and honest discussion of the Teamsters future. Currently, there are three candidates to replace…

The threat of the Far Right by Joe Allen

Joe Allen looks at the rising threat of the Far Right, its relationship to the Trump Administration, and its implications for the Left before and after the November elections.

We are in a dangerous political moment. The far right has surged with the support of President Donald Trump. The late spring mobilizations to ‘re-open the economy’ were a stepping stone to a much larger presence of armed militias and neo-fascists at Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Kenosha and Portland; these forces appearing as allies of the local police forces or Trump’s…

A younger Richard M. Daley, former mayor, marching with friends.

The Return of the ‘Hamburgs’? White Vigilantes, the Chicago Police, and Anti-Fascism in Chicago by Joe Allen

Chicago has seen some of the largest and most militant demonstrations in the United States during the two weeks that followed the murder of George Floyd. Thirty thousand people marched and rallied on June 6 in Union Park, for example. While demonstrators have suffered repeated acts of violence by the Chicago Police Department and seen their constitutional rights trampled on by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, others were menaced by self-appointed “neighborhood protectors.”

The most disturbing example of this was on the night of June…

DSA Labor Perspective, Part 2: The Far Right and the Working Class in the U.S.

By Joe Allen

Not matter who wins the 2020 presidential elections, millions of working class voters and unions households will vote for Donald Trump, despite his wide-ranging attacks on trade unions and working class living conditions. Teamster General President James P. Hoffa, for example, in a moment of rare honest, admitted in an interview last October that, “Teamsters are likely to vote for Trump again in 2020, regardless of who the Democratic nominee turns out to be.”

We could see a similar pattern in other…

Hey all, I’m running for a position on the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission. Here’s my candidate statement.

I’ve been a socialist for over four decades and a member of DSA since the summer of 2018. I’m currently a member of the steering committee of the Chicago Labor Branch. I believe that Eco-Socialism and Workers’ Power have to be at the center of our workplace strategy.

My work life has largely revolved different sections of the freight and logistics including for such major employers as A.P.A Transport, Yellow Freight, and United Parcel Service (UPS). I worked for nearly a decade at…

DSA Labor Perspectives, Part 1: For Eco-Socialism and Workers’ Power by Joe Allen

Humanity faces the prospect of extinction during the course of this next century as our planet becomes increasingly uninhabitable. The climate crisis is no longer an obscure subject of concerned scientists and activists: it impacts all of humanity. The apocalyptic fires in Australia have extinguished nearly a billion animals and killed dozens of people. Last year’s fires in the Amazon — the ‘lungs of world’ — under the watch Brazil’s fascist President Bolsonaro, had millions worrying how much longer we will have air to breathe. …

Where Are the Teamsters Going?

Where are the Teamsters going?

By Joe Allen

The Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) held its 44th annual convention in Chicago in early November, where it endorsed Sean O’Brien for General President and Fred Zuckerman for General Secretary-Treasurer in the 2021 Teamster election. They will run on the “Teamsters United” slate and challenge the incumbent leadership, whether it is led by the incumbent General President James P. Hoffa, Jr. or an anointed successor.

TDU’s endorsement is crucial for any candidate seeking to run as a reformer against the Teamster establishment — notorious for its…

Joe Allen

Joe Allen is a former Teamster. He writes regularly for Tempest magazine and is the author of The Package King A Rank and File History of UPS.

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