Teamster Vice President At-Large John Palmer didn’t hold back with how he felt about their leadership welcoming Trump for a roundtable this week.
In what looks like an effort by Trump to blunt some of the criticism from UAW President Shawn Fain, who called Trump a union buster and a scab when explaining why his union was endorsing Biden last week, aided and abetted by Teamster General President Sean O’Brien, Trump met with some of the executive board and some rank and file members and took questions for over an hour in their headquarters in Washington DC.
Palmer wrote a letter to O’Brien, which was shared on Twitter by Erik Loomis, who wrote:
WOW!!! A friend who is a Teamsters member sent me this letter from Teamsters VP John Palmer absolutely lambasting Teamsters President Sean O’Brien for meeting with Donald Trump. You don’t see this kind of internal dissension coming out in the public very often!!
And, as Evan Sutton noted:
John Palmer is getting some company, and this is where you might start to see some union democracy in action. This letter from a rank and file member to his state leader and IBT VP is the kind of thing that gets union leaders’ attention. Kudos to Tony Cochrane, wherever you are
John Palmer joined CNN’s Erin Burnett this Wednesday, and reiterated much of what was in that letter to O’Brien on why his union should have never met with Trump:
JOHN PALMER, VICE PRESIDENT AT LARGE, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS: Well, I saw a list of questions. There were a lot of tough questions asked concerning where he stood and what he might do on his next term but my sense is, you know, we already know this man is. You judge people by the actions that they take, right?
And all the things that I said, scab, union buster, insurrectionist, are provable beyond a doubt. You know, he crossed the picket line with the IATSE people. He hired union busters to staff the department of labor, the National Labor Relations Board, which affects us greatly because I’m an organizer and I’ve had to deal with the labor board.
BURNETT: Do you think though from what your peers and your union, your — those of you running the union, do you think Trump really has a chance of getting this endorsement?
PALMER: I would say zero.
I don’t believe he does have a chance. I was disappointed in the appearance, you know, particularly the press conference that occurred after the meeting. I think it — it sends out a sort of, you know, it was in my letter where I suggested that it’s a tacit endorsement. You know, he is not going to do anything for labor. He never has done anything for labor and frankly, he’s not a trustworthy individual.
After playing video of Trump claiming he’s “had a great relationship with unions,” Palmer shot that down as well.
BURNETT: So what do you say to that, John, when you’ve looked at his history with unions? Great relationship with unions, he says.
PALMER: I think — I think we know about Donald Trump’s long history and inability to tell the truth. I mean, I just laid out exactly why I said those three things and he’s guilty of all those things. It’s fact. You know, a rock is a rock. When you tap on it with your knuckles, your knuckles are going to bleed.
So I know folks live in information bubbles and take on different viewpoints, but we all need to — need to look for truth and as leaders, it’s incumbent upon us to tell the truth to our members.
O’Brien managed to give Trump what he wanted out of the meeting, which are headlines like these:
CNN: Trump meets with Teamsters as he looks to peel off union voters from Biden
The Hill: Trump on possible Teamsters endorsement: ‘Stranger things have happened’
Reuters: Trump meets with Teamsters in fight with Biden over union support
NBC: Trump meets with Teamsters as he targets Biden support
PBS: Trump meets with the Teamsters in bid to cut into Biden’s union support
AP News: Trump to meet Teamsters to compete with Biden’s union support
Shame on O’Brien and good for Palmer for taking him on.