The International Brotherhood of Teamsters just held a pivotal leadership election that will set a new course for one of the most storied unions in existence. The election officially marked the end of the Hoffa era—James P. Hoffa, son of Jimmy Hoffa, retired as Teamsters General President. In a major shift that will have significant ripple effects within the Teamsters and the labor movement writ large, members elected the Teamsters United reform slate headed by incoming president and Hoffa critic Sean O’Brien. As journalist Indigo Olivier wrote for Jacobin, “With 1.4 million members, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) election results have implications not just for the massive upcoming United Parcel Service (UPS) contract, but for organizing Amazon and pushing labor-friendly legislation like the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The election marks the first time that a coalition backed by Teamsters for a Democratic Union, a rank-and-file reform caucus, will head the union since former IBT president Ron Carey was removed from office on false corruption charges in 1997.”

We will bring you a rank-and-file breakdown of the election in the coming weeks, but for now we are publicly releasing one of our recent Working People bonus episodes so listeners can have some context to understand the importance of this election. In this episode, recorded in October, we talk with Indigo Olivier about the Teamsters leadership election and the 46th annual Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) convention, which was held in Chicago on Oct. 1-3. Olivier is a 2020–2021 fellow with In These Times’ Leonard C. Goodman Institute for Investigative Reporting and her writing has been featured at outlets like Jacobin, In These Times, and The Nation. She is also a member of NYC-DSA.

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Ten years ago, I was working 12-hour days as a warehouse temp in Southern California while my family, like millions of others, struggled to stay afloat in the wake of the Great Recession. Eventually, we lost everything, including the house I grew up in. It was in the years that followed, when hope seemed irrevocably lost and help from above seemed impossibly absent, that I realized the life-saving importance of everyday workers coming together, sharing our stories, showing our scars, and reminding one another that we are not alone. Since then, from starting the podcast Working People—where I interview workers about their lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles—to working as Associate Editor at the Chronicle Review and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Real News Network, I have dedicated my life to lifting up the voices and honoring the humanity of our fellow workers.
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