Secretary-Treasurer John Coli, Jr. Speaks at Thursday Rally in Support of Striking Musicians

| March 25, 2019

Last week, Teamsters Local 727 Secretary-Treasurer John Coli, Jr. walked the picket line in solidarity with the Chicago Federation of Musicians and the striking members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  The musicians initiated a strike on Monday, March 11th, in protest of the CSO’s proposal to drastically reduce pension benefits.

Speaking alongside fellow Chicago labor union leaders at an early morning rally, Secretary-Treasurer Coli called for fairness and respect for the striking musicians, saying:

“First, I want to thank Terry Jares and the Chicago Federation of Musicians for giving me the opportunity to be here on the front lines so that Teamsters Local 727 can proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with our Union Brothers and Sisters.

We’re here to fight with you, for fairness, for respect, for what is right.  Your fight, is our fight.  And let there be no doubt— Teamsters are fighters and we are ready to fight.

As Teamsters, we know that the decision to strike is not made lightly, it is the last resort.  But in this case, management left you no choice.  They forced you to the strike line when they refused to recognize your undeniable contributions. 

You are the soundtrack to Chicago.  You provide the beat to which Chicago Labor marches, not just on the strike line, but every single day.

After decades of study, practice, devotion, and dedication to this craft—you deserve a secure pension and fair wages.

Retirement should not be a bonus, but a guarantee for everyone.  At Teamsters Local 727 we fight every day to make this a reality.  Just last summer, 150 Teamster drivers employed by Dr Pepper took to the strike line for the very reason you do today.  Our members stood strong for 40 days.  And I am proud to say that Union solidarity prevailed.  These Dr Pepper drivers go to work every day with the retirement they deserve and a collective bargaining agreement that prevents management from ever taking it away.

Much like Dr Pepper, CSO management claims it can no longer afford the financial burden of a dependable pension plan for you.  That to “protect” the legacy of the Orchestra it must slash your pension. 

Slashing your benefits, cutting your pension—that is no way to protect you.

After years—for some of you, decades—of hard work and dedication to the CSO, you deserve a pension that you can depend on.  That you can actually live on.

Enough is enough. 

As a Chicagoan, as a proud Union member, and as the Principal Officer of Teamsters Local 727, I stand with you.  I look forward to hearing the new soundtrack our Union solidarity and inevitable victory will create.  The Teamsters and all of Chicago Labor is behind you.”

The morning rally and Secretary-Treasurer Coli’s speech were featured on many Chicago news programs, including Fox 32 News’ evening broadcast which can be viewed below.


Category: Union News

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