On March 20th, rank and file members of Teamsters Local 251 will vote to enshrine a new bill of rights in their local’s bylaws. The bill of rights includes:
- The right to elect shop stewards.
- The right to have rank and file members on contract negotiating committees.
- The right to elect negotiating committees.
- The right to a contract action team that mobilizes members to win better contracts.
- The right to vote on salary increases for union officers and representatives.
An earlier version of these reforms were a cornerstone of the current Executive Board’s electoral platform in 2013 and were supported by a petition signed by over 1,300 members at that time. Local 251 Secretary-Treasurer Matt Taibi explained to Common Ground that the union has now had “a couple years to figure out ‘does this work?’ and work out the positives and negatives” before seeking to make more permanent changes to the union by-laws.
Local 251’s executive board is also proposing to lower the dues for all members making less than $15 an hour and to establish a local union strike fund.
These changes were discussed at the local’s general membership meeting at their East Providence hall on February 28th. A secret ballot vote of the membership will take place at the local’s general meeting on March 20th, with a 2/3rds majority required to amend the by-laws.