LIVING IN A TEAMSTER HOUSEHOLD" to read the full article" />
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December 16, 2017
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General Membership Meeting
Saturday December 16, 2017 at 11:00 AM
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LIVING IN A TEAMSTER HOUSEHOLD
Updated On: Jan 09, 2017
LIVING IN A TEAMSTER HOUSEHOLD" to read the full article">
President Kenny Chism, Tyler Walker, and General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall at Local 322's 75th Anniversary Picnic in September 2015

WHAT HAS LIVING IN A TEAMSTER HOUSEHOLD MEANT FOR ME AND MY SIBLINGS?

By Tyler Walker (Son of Union brother Carlton Walker - Petersburg Delivery) winner of the James R. Hoffa Scholarship

I've always been proud to tell my friends that my dad is a UPS driver.  How could I not be?  He was always displaying his awards for decades of safe-driving.  He always brought home enough money for my family to live comfortably and had enough vacation time to always take a few weeks off during the summer to spend time with me and my brother.  Even during the recession, when the company my mom worked for went bankrupt, my dad's stable employment kept our family from having to change our lifestyle while she searched for work.  With our strong medical insurance, we have never had to make the choice of delaying an appointment for an aching tooth or other health issues because of a potential bill.  My dad has always held that these benefits, along with uncountable others, have been due to his membership in the union.  Without these benefits, fought for by the labor union, my family might not have been able to enjoy a middle class lifestyle.  Being in the middle class allowed me to focus on my education, putting me on a path to be the first person from my family to graduate from college.  Teamsters even offered me a scholarship, helping my family to pay for college and avoid large amounts of student debt which is weighing down on millions of Americans.  In a way, Teamsters has helped my parents live the American dream by reaching the middle class and seeing their children be better off than they once were.

As a child, I took most of this for granted.  To me, it seemed that most jobs should benefit the worker and their family like my dad's.  But now as an economics major, I know this is becoming less true each day.  Today, more than any time since the Industrial Revolution, American workers are in jobs without being part of a union.  As a result, companies and executives have too much power over their labor when negotiating contracts.  This has led to a rapid decrease in the amount of workers with jobs as fulfilling as my dad's.  People, now more than ever, are having to work part-time jobs with few, if any, benefits.  Income inequality has risen to historic levels and fewer people have the opportunities afforded to me that allowed me to reach the level of education that I currently have.  Although I may have never really understood the benefits of the Teamsters Union during my childhood, I did not have to experience the hardships faced by the children of America's growing population of working poor.  The Teamsters Union has always worked to make sure my dad has been rewarded for his decades of work in a way that brings dignity and security to both him and to our family.


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