Government

Teamsters to host 6 Democratic candidates in Cedar Rapids

Dec. 7 forum will be at Veterans Memorial Coliseum

A Dec. 7 forum for at leat six of the Democratic presidential hopefuls will be held Dec. 7 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Cedar Rapids. The forum is hosted by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
A Dec. 7 forum for at leat six of the Democratic presidential hopefuls will be held Dec. 7 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Cedar Rapids. The forum is hosted by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Six Democratic presidential hopefuls will participate in a Dec. 7 forum in Cedar Rapids focusing on issues facing workers.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters will host the forum at Veterans Memorial Coliseum 58 days before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses. The forum is being organized in conjunction with the Storm Lake Times and The Guardian.

“Candidates know the importance of the Teamsters vote in any election, and our members are fully engaged and ready to make a difference in the 2020 election,” said James Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

“This forum is a prime opportunity for candidates to tell Teamsters directly why they are the leader who will effectively push for retirement security, stand up for union rights, and go toe-to-toe with world leaders on advocating for fair trade policies,” he said.

The six candidates who have confirmed to participate are former Vice President Joe Biden, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Presidential candidates who agreed to sign the union’s three-point pledge on retirement security, freedom to unionize and fair trade and participate in an on-camera interview with the Teamsters were invited to attend the forum.

Candidates will appear individually on stage, taking questions from moderators Art Cullen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of the Storm Lake Times, and Leslie Marshall, a political analyst.

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Teamsters members already have met with candidates in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and other key states to ask them where they stand on key issues facing workers.

The forum is part of the Teamsters 2020 general election program to engage with members.

As part of the program, the union collected 22,000 in-person or online responses from members on which issues matter most to them. The issues most often mentioned were retirement security, collective bargaining and the right to join a union, and fair trade policies.

The Teamsters, founded in 1903, represent 1.4 million members in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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