Redefining The Union Boss.


Not long ago, truckers pulled off highways across America and tuned in to someone whose CB handle was “Troublemaker.”

“I’m barely hanging on,” one driver lamented. His employer, the U.P.S. freight unit, was turning to nonunion drivers — people outside the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, he said.

“We need to start enforcing our contracts!” Troublemaker replied.

Troublemaker, better known as Sandy Pope, is the first woman to run for the presidency of the Teamsters, against the powerful, three-term incumbent, James P. Hoffa.

Yes, Hoffa.

Odds are that Ms. Pope will lose — final results are due today. But whatever the outcome, Ms. Pope represents a new face of labor, one that increasingly is female. In this “We are the 99 percent” moment, when corporate profits are up and wages flat, a handful of women are challenging the old, mostly male world of union bosses.

Unions, of course, have been in retreat for years. But Ms. Pope and several other women, notably Rose Ann DeMoro, of National Nurses United, and Mary Kay Henry, of the Service Employees International Union, are pushing back. Their ascendance has rekindled hope that organized labor maybe, just maybe, could stage a comeback. They have also helped inspire the likes of Occupy Wall Street.

“Some of these women might even make unions relevant to the average American again,” said Steve Early, a labor journalist, union organizer and author of “The Civil Wars in U.S. Labor.”  Read the full article by Kathleen Sharp at Ocala.com.

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Posted on November 21, 2011, in Labor Relations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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