I posted this on a hobby thread, after a fellow member pm'ed me asked me about my thoughts on the union, and how it bodes for the future. Let me start by saying that this certainly isn't political, just the observations of a Teamster that has been in the union for 28 years, and has paid dues the whole time, I will be filing for my pension next week. I joined the union in 1989, and I believe in collective bargaining and have always upheld what I swore to "An honest days's work for an honest day's pay"...I have had a sterling career, and always strove to provide better service, and be better than my non-union counterparts. I have over 2 million miles accident free, and have placed nationally in truck driving competitions two out of the four years that I chose to compete. When I joined the union, my business agent was John Kikes in Local 78 in Hayward California, and he had a pretty compelling personality in that position, a "take no prisoners when dealing with management, and defending employees" is what he preached at us...but, something always seemed fishy about him. He would attend fund raising ventures with the president of the company that I worked for, and when we had grievances that seemed ironclad, his tough talk would disappear and we were given the "well that's the way it is", when we failed on that count, while work was outsourced to non union carriers. After I left that local and relocated to Arizona, John was caught up in a federal sting. He was caught on tape cutting a deal with a former union boss that had been banned from ever having anything to do with the union. John and him were working hand in hand to help companies stay non union by getting paid "protection money" to stay out of it. When the Teamster officials of the bay area threw him under the bus and claimed they knew nothing of the arrangement (total BS), he wrote a scathing admission: www.ibtvote.org/files/2006esd200.pdf (This is 2006 dollars folks) That truth would have never came out otherwise, and should have triggered a federal investigation, but it did not. Carter signed trucking deregulation, and whatever you feel about it, it signaled the death knell for the unions, Clinton signed NAFTA that allows Mexican truck drivers to drive on US highways. The union has been a staunch supporter of illegal immigration which further drives down the opportunities for working Americans. I unknowingly knew at the time that the Pelosi's owned restaurants in the wine country that attempted to unionize, when I called on the customer to make deliveries, rank and file employees told me that they had been "shut down" www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Pelosi-s-husband-prefers-a-low-profile-2660253.php I could never figure out why the union after supporting Reagan in his first term, started to become a fundraising arm of one political party...it just doesn't make sense, because when you so ardently support one party...if and when that party is out of power you have no voice, especially when that party so ardently supports that one party..they alienate themselves from being to work with the other party. The east coast and central states pension fund is in deep, deep, trouble dating back to the seventies when the mob raided the pension plans to build hunting lodges and chic getaway's for themselves while financing lavish lifestyles. I am in the western conference, and thanks to a forward thinking individual, it was set up as a "trust fund" when he saw what was taking place to the east. Making it a trust fund, made it harder for that scale of criminal behavior to take place.... As a result, the western conference is in pretty good shape. (or so we are told) That isn't stopping the Jerks in the central conference and east coast conference to try and have the funds merged so everyone can suffer together for their misdeeds. At one timed there were over 60 major trucking companies under the master freight agreement putting funds into the pension plan, I work for the lone survivor thanks to the union betting on the wrong racehorses in the political realm and shoddy mismanagement. I am going to take my pension as it is administered through Prudential as an annuity set aside for me. Fact of the matter is, the amount of funds paid by my employers over almost 30 years should provide a lot more money conservatively invested...but I signed up for the program, so it is what it is. I have seen plenty of teamsters die within a year or two of retiring and if they didn't take the surviving spouse option or were single, not a further dime was paid out after 30 years of faithful service. All of this hasn't gone unnoticed by non-union executives and their employees, making organizing them a tough sell. Consequently, when I have volunteered, the employees use the union threat to get a better raise and tell the union...thanks but no thanks. I certainly understand the socialist roots of unionization, but I still believe in collective bargaining and having a voice in the political dialogue to support the individual, but through sheer greed, gross mismanagement, kickbacks and corruption that runs deep, the unions are a shell of what they should be. FDR was against governmental unions, because he saw that politicians can make endless promises for political support, and the taxpayer would be on the hook. That is why there is such a pension crisis across the country, most notably in the major cities. I know a retired fire battalion chief from the bay area that has a pension in the six figures annually he was promised it so he deserves it though, but when you have tens of thousands of employees that benefits are paid to for 20-30 years after retiring, it become unsustainable. Eventually there will be a day of reckoning, and when it happens, it ain't going to be pretty. And back to my business agent John Kikes...his wife at the time was a schools superintendent that made 200k per year....the marriage broke up because he screwed everything in sight. He now runs a farmers insurance franchise in very upscale Danville Ca. agents.farmers.com/ca/danville/john-kikes The worst he has to deal with, is getting his Mercedes, BMW, and Ferrari keyed...but as his own insurance agent, I am sure his bases are covered well. patch.com/california/danville/are-cars-safe-at-blackhawk-plaza There is life after the union...a really good one when you are an indicted official, and really pay no measurable price.