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Teamsters Host Visitors

Teamsters Local 745 began their meeting at 10 AM sharp on 10/3/04, at 1007 Jonelle in Dallas. For this special event in the middle of a hot political campaign, friends from other unions and political leaders had been invited. The parking lot was over-full half an hour before the meeting, so people were parking on nearby grassy areas. There were about 1,100 people in the room, but about 100 of them had to go stand in the hallway while the standing members voted on accepting them as new members. It was pretty dramatic to see 100 new members returning into the auditorium while 1,000 older members stood in ovation! The swearing-in ceremony was ritualistic, but it included very modern anti-discrimination language.

The union newspaper was 8 1/2"X11" on glossy paper with bright color. It announced a number of recent advances for the local. They proudly announced that a Smurfit-Stone Steward had won his discharge grievance with a $11,000 award. He was pictured with Chief Steward Darryl Sullivan. Another big backpay settlement was announced. Help for United Way's food drive was asked. Officers listed were Brent Taylor, Secretary-Treasurer; Ken Bryant, President, Iria Ganious Jr VP, Pat Everett, Recording Secretary, and 3 trustees.

Ken Bryant chaired the meeting, but Taylor gave the main report. Kris Taylor, is head of their political action group, DRIVE. Kris stood in the doorway, as did other officials who monitored the comings and goings of the members and guests.

Guests included a large number of Democratic Party local candidates, headed by Congressman Martin Frost. Also, there were a large number of Teamsters from other locals, some as far away as Pennsylvania. One or two had driven in the big Teamster semi trucks that they use for displays.

Becky Moeller, Secretary-Treasurer of the Texas AFL-CIO, sat by Dallas AFL-CIO leader Jim McCasland. The Labor Commissioner on the Texas Workforce Commission, Ronnie Congleton, former president of the local, was there with two of his union staffers. Congleton addressed the membership with a strong endorsement of voting pro-union.

Various dignitaries were introduced without being given the microphone. Congressman Frost gave his succinct campaign speech and was well received. Freight Chairman and Southern Region Vice President Tyson Johnson, formerly Secretary-Treasurer of the local, gave a talk endorsing political action. He also announced that the Central Freight retirement package was going to resume its former high point of $100/month/year of service. He predicted that it would go to $109 before the end of 2005.

1,100 people exhibited considerable discipline while the Recording Secretary read the entire minutes of the last meeting and the current Executive Board. She also read the financial report, and Brent Taylor gave another one.

There were a great many congratulations and awards given to members. They presented some members who served as clowns in, I think, Shriner activities.

The meeting extended to two hours without a problem. Afterwards, an extra-fine barbecue dinner with free beer was served in a tent just outside the hall. People were still there talking when we left a little after 2 PM.

For more photos from the meeting, click here

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