Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Song for Sandy Pope

Just the other day, singer-songwriter John Paul Wright of Louisville, KY, uploaded his latest song, “Ain’t No Easy Run (Sandy Pope)” onto YouTube. He was on his way home from the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) convention in Cleveland when the sight of tractor trailers barreling along reminded him that Sandy Pope was once a truck driver.
As the title of JP Wright’s song implies he sings about Sandy Pope’s campaign to oust James P. Hoffa from the presidency of the Teamsters.
With the ballots in the mail and supporters making calls from phone banks to turn out her voters, we will find out next month whether Pope can fulfill her goal of getting 150,000 Teamsters to vote for her. As JP Wright sings to the individual Teamsters listening: “One vote for Pope and the election’s won. Hoffa’s days are done.”
If the turnout for this election is similar to the 2006 election, then 150,000 would assure a victory for Pope. What she has going for her is a base of support from TDU, which is worth 90,000 to 100,000 votes, the rest would have to come from new Teamsters who want to create a rank and file activist union, from women attracted to a woman candidate, from those old timers disenchanted by Hoffa’s performance as president over the past 12 years.
Among the disenchanted is Fred Gegare, currently an international vice president and the third candidate for the presidency. Gegare decided to run against Hoffa over what he considered his disastrous handling of union finances, contracts and pensions.
The only hope for a change of direction in the Teamsters is Sandy Pope. She comes from the reform milieu with the promise of instilling activism in the Teamsters both internally and externally as did Ron Carey in the victorious strike against UPS in 1997.

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