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  • What it means to be Union...
    Posted On: Jan 11, 2017

    Being a union member is something that many take for granted; unions have been an integral right in American life. This right has ensured that we, as individuals are guaranteed intrinsic rights and allows us to fight as a strong group, protecting those deserving people who may not be able to fend for their rights as individuals. I am therefore glad that I apart of a union family. To me, union membership is about banding together as one unified front; it means that we are not individuals - we are a group. We are professionals who have something in place to protect us.

    One aspect to emphasize is the idea that being a member of a union really is being part of a family.  I have those who will take care of me in times of need, looking out for my best interests; I have supporting parents who will ensure that no injustice will go unaddressed and that I am rewarded for my hard work with what I deserve. Regardless of the economy, regardless of world events, and regardless of unforeseen circumstances, I will receive the very best.

    When thinking of being part of a union family, I think about the values and principles that inform my life, that were passed down to me from my parents, and that I hope to pass on to future generations. The principles are ones of dignity in work, fairness of treatment, reasonableness, integrity and honesty in all dealings, pride in work well-done and a say in my working conditions. Union membership is about human rights and what I consider to be the basis of a meaningful life for myself and for others.

                   Many people think that unions only directly impact work life and that, outside of work, unions really have no influence. From my observations of the world, nothing could be further from the truth. Collective agreements and union membership mean that workers, as a class, have rights. Knowledge of your rights separates an individual from slavery and imprisonment. When you have a union, you have a voice. When you have a voice, you have the dignity accorded to humans who discourse with others. Therefore, unions give people dignity on the job and outside of work. Individuals should realize that unions fought for them and, in the process, created a workplace where fair pay, benefits, and pensions existed.

                   With all this said be proud to be a union member, and furthermore, a Teamster as you are part of the largest labor union encompassed by approximately 1.3 million members.  As I said earlier we are a family and we should treat each other as such.  Wear our logo with pride and dignity-we’ve earned it!  Never forget on how far we’ve come and always reflect on how far we’ll go-together.


    Rick Miedema

    Secretary Treasurer

    IBT Local #997

  • Teamsters Local 997

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