Two guys from Boston now have the most important work assignments in the country, and Sean O’Brien said he is ready to tackle the supply chain, employment issues and get in sync with Labor Minister Martin Walsh.
“The stars lined up and we have to take advantage of that,” O’Brien told the Herald Monday, fresh on his victory as newly elected president of the National Teamsters Union.
“Two Boston guys can solve a lot of problems,” he added, including Walsh in that equation. “We have a good relationship.”
In terms of jobs that were not filled, he said, “we have to train the next generation of workers by training them. They are not affiliated with unions, and we have to get them into training programs.”
As for the supply chain, he said the United States needs to bring home the jobs sent abroad. That message came just hours before Samsung Electronics Co. announced that it will build a $ 17 billion chip plant in Taylor, Texas, the Wall Street Journal first reported. That project is expected to create 1,800 jobs.
“Let’s start making our own goods in this country,” O’Brien said. “There’s no reason not to. We have the best workforce and a large talent pool here.”
He is not convinced that American consumers are holding on to buying the cheapest products they can. Made in America will mean a lot more post-pandemic, he bets.
“I want a bigger, faster and stronger union,” he said. “We need strong contracts and to be strong politically.”
Again with regard to the supply chain that feeds on Christmas gift worries and inflation, he said it should be all hands down when it comes to transporting the goods to the market. “I understand we’re all about the green economy, but using older trucks now to get supplies out.”
O’Brien returned home to a heady reception Sunday, a few days after winning the election to lead the union with 1.4 million members at the national level.
O’Brien worked with the audience at Teamsters Local 25 headquarters in downtown Boston on Sunday, addressing supporters and promising to welcome online mega-retailer Amazon in its efforts to increase the number of unions, though the technology giant has shut down efforts on organizing at. stocks across the country.
O’Brien takes the reins from James Hoffa, son of the union’s most infamous leader who has led the organization for 23 years.
O’Brien – a sharp and longtime critic of Hoffa – drew support for his landslide election in recent years and promised to rebuild the union, which has struggled to keep membership up in recent decades.
The former Boston union chief seized on members’ frustrations with a 2018 contract negotiated by the Hoffa administration with the UPS, which was opposed by 54% of private union members to collect votes.
O’Brien, a fourth-generation union member, has vowed to rebuild Teamsters “as a militant, fighting union from the bottom up.”
With around 1.4 million members, Teamsters is one of the country’s largest and most powerful unions.
“Employers and politicians are paying attention – Teamster’s union is back,” O’Brien said in a statement last week. “Fighting for workers is a full-contact sport. We encourage all Teamsters to put on your helmet and fasten your chin straps because the fight begins today.”
O’Brien will replace the 80-year-old Hoffa – who has led the union for 23 years.