As this year comes to an end and a new year begins I am thankful and look back to what I consider to be a good and prosperous year for our Local and its members. We at the Local have successfully negotiated a 5 year National Agreement for our Clerical Unit at DHL Express and after some challenges we also negotiated a 3 year National & Local agreement for AEI. We successfully organized the Swissport USA bus operators at both JFK and LGA. Our largest employer DHL has enjoyed another year of growth. They have added new members, hundreds of upgrades from PT to FT and have opened new service centers. Our Local 295 Pension Fund investments have also done well in an upward market. These are all good things which I am grateful for, but we cannot take them for granted and must also be ready to meet any upcoming challenges.
I am always grateful and blessed that I am an American and a Teamster. I am grateful to live in this country, for our founding fathers, my predecessors for their sacrifices and service to this country and union; they have left us in a better place than when they lived. They were not perfect, our country, our union or our society wasn't perfect but they strived to do their best, to be better, and ended up the best. I know that my kids, grandchildren and I have more things than past generations had. All that we are blessed with is the result and the product of those great people before us and the great society that they built. I know that all we have can change overnight if we take it all for granted. I believe that this great American society has accomplished more than any other country or society throughout world history. It seems to me that we cannot afford to let our society collapse.
There are many dangers facing our country and our union. We won't recognize these threats if we are taught that all that our forefathers did was wrong, that our enemies are right, that we are wrong and the things that threaten us are our own fault. If we are not proud of our past or don't respect what has been accomplished by past generations what will our future be? Why would we fight to preserve and protect our great society if we allow it to collapse because we have taken it for granted? If we don't deal with the plain truth and reality of the past or current affairs there will be a price to be paid. There are evil people and forces that threaten all that is good or great with our country and our Teamster Union.
I believe our country, our union and our way of life are under attack by those that wish to destroy it instead of protecting, building and improving it. I will not apologize for a few bad people and the bad things that they have done when compared to all the good things that good people have accomplished before us. I choose to respect the good and keep my eye on the prize that was given to us by all that came before us. They have given me an attitude made of gratitude. We have the power to be successful when we are inspired by our proud history and learn from our mistakes. I am proud to be an American and proud to be a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
As always at this time of the year I am thankful for all the support and good efforts that our 295 Members, Stewards, Business Agents, Executive Board and Val give every day. I congratulate all the 295 Scholarship Winners and their parents and wish them good luck in their future, and thank all our generous contributors that fund these scholarships. I hope and pray for a New Year with health, peace and prosperity for all. MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS.
Local 295 President