Sean O’Brien backs the decision to close the Teamsters union

Former Irish international Sean O’Brien says he was “firmly impressed” after watching members of his Teamster union “vote strongly in favour of maintaining their association with the union”.

It emerged last week that five days after the December ballot – the last people to vote – the Hoffa Union executive declared an “overwhelming agreement” to end the relationship with the four-decade-old organisation.

But O’Brien has written in support of the voting public and said that it was “proper that the elected representatives of the membership of the Teamsters leave the process to be decided by the members”.

“I view the people voting and the leadership of the Hoffa Union only as representatives of the members and I respect their right to vote for whatever path they wish, whatever time frame they desire or however they wish to resolve the situation,” he said.

The union went through a voluntary membership organisation, a screening process and now it is down to local union representatives to vote on the future relationship between them and the Teamsters.

“I strongly recommend for all Teamsters:

By going to the referendum, the Hoffa Union could lose thousands of members

Any membership you have right now stays with you and you can return if you wish

You can vote once per voting district to keep or revert to your members.

I have taken the roles as a spokesperson for the former members I represent and decided to explain to all Teamsters why I believe they should vote yes

We can all still be members of Teamsters [by leaving the Hoffa Union]

If you’ve already left it’s only fair that you vote to “disassociate” from the labor organisation, which obviously was unconstitutional, which we won in a court case against the Hoffa Union in March.”

O’Brien also believes that those who currently work for the organisation will not be affected if the decision in the vote is “overwhelmingly” yes.

“The less that is done, the less that is unknown or ‘lopsided’, the more likely it is that new applicants to the union will join and improve the organisation,” he said.

But the union membership remains made up of 75% women, O’Brien highlighted, noting that “they would, like all other members of the community, have a right to, and should have a right to, be interested in the future of the union.”

O’Brien added: “We have a proud history of being the greatest union in the world and we have in my opinion amongst the best leaders in the world.

“The members of Teamsters are well aware of this and I hope they will join me in hope that the union will remain for our founding Fathers and Sists.”

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