I have never been called a thug before. On October 19, the Freedom Foundation published a blog post written by Samuel Coleman calling me and dozens other proud San Bernardino County employees “thugs.” Unlike the Freedom Foundation and its corporate origins, I choose not to lurk in the shadows, and I am happy to be named and provide a perspective that was not included in the Freedom Foundation’s blog post.
My name is Diane Warren. I have a San Bernardino County employee for over 17 years, as well as a dedicated Teamster Steward. I became a union representative in 2010 so that I could become more informed about the county I served and to represent the people that I worked with, as is my right as an American worker. In 2015, when we became a part of the Teamster family, I was excited because I knew we would be better united in future collective bargaining agreements. Since then, because my co-workers and tens of thousands of other working people across the County are at the heart of our union, our expectations have undoubtedly been met.
When I met the Freedom Foundation Canvasser the day she came to the place where I work, she was not bullied or harassed. As a matter of fact, not only did she gladly give us her name, she also exchanged texts with me that day, as well as in the following weeks. We’ve had conversations on why she believes what she believes, and why my fellow county employees and I believe what we believe. The Canvasser, like her employer, believes that unions engage in “tyranny,” which is traditionally defined as a cruel and oppressive government rule. She gets paid to spread this message. When my fellow Teamsters and I met her (we’re all pictured in the article — I’m the one waving), we were there to promote free-flow discussion. Discussing our beliefs and personal choices, as we did that day, does not constitute tyranny, intimidation, or bullying, as Samuel Coleman suggests. Their characterization of the meeting is at best thin-skinned and at worst an intentional distortion. We suggested to the Canvasser that she should connect with a union member at work sites she visits so that she and the union member could speak to people together. That is the democratic way — the Teamster way. Instead, the Canvasser said the Freedom Foundation discouraged her from sharing space with proud Teamster members; a scenario where people could obviously get ALL the facts, and not just the facts that she is paid to tell.
On another note, amid Mr. Coleman’s slandering of Teamster history, what he fails to mention is that my Local Union, Teamsters 1932, is transforming our community for the better. By partnering with hundreds of local business through the Teamster Advantage program, Teamsters Local 1932 is putting money back into the local economy. Our union, run democratically by an elected board of members like me, has also donated to grassroots charity and member-supported non-profits because what is important to members is what is important to our union. Most importantly, Secretary-Treasurer Randy Korgan is transparent about the financial health of our local by discussing the budget on a monthly basis. The Freedom Foundation was created by Whitney Ball and is funded by a Donors Trust that allows wealthy corporations to donate anonymously. In the end, what they’re getting for their money is an organization that seems to do nothing but harm our ability to come together as working people for fair pay and safe working conditions. They choose to live in the shadows like thugs and pay others, like Samuel Coleman and the Canvasser we met, to do their bidding. Their lies will be met with truth.
See Coleman’s blog post and everything else the Freedom Foundation’s wealthy donors are getting for their money at https://www.freedomfoundation.com/labor/freedom-foundation-canvasser-harassed-by-teamster-thugs/
If the Freedom Foundation is successful, working people will suffer. How much money could you lose if they got their way? See our Wage Calculator at MemberPower.org