On April 27, a week-long protest began for teachers and schools in Arizona took place outside of the State Capital. Teachers, students, parents and community members gathered together to show solidarity for the educators of Arizona. Along with everyone involved, the Teamsters Local 104, a group consisting of union members from several different organizations, showed their dedication and support at the protest. Many of the union members and volunteers stood out by their table and handed out free posters and buttons to the marchers as they started and finished their walk.
“All the unions that could come together in support of our teachers. We’re in support of AFT, the American Federation Teacher Union in Arizona, bringing awareness to everyone that this is an important issue,” said Dawn Schumann, special projects coordinator and political coordinator for the Teamsters Local 104. “Today we wanted to make sure that we made a stand with all of our union brothers and sisters in support of AFT and our teachers.”
The Teamsters planned to walk into the state capital but as they waited for the session to start, it was delayed by the representatives. Instead of feeling defeated, Schurmann and her team went back out to talk to the other tables next to them, hand out protest posters and make sure their union brothers and sisters were hydrated in the Arizona heat. After two hours, the Teamsters lead a walk into the capital during the first day and listened to the members of the State House of Representatives. Each representative spoke to the floor about the Red for Ed protest and the teamsters watched from the audience and cheered as empty chairs filled up with teachers and other supporters
State representatives such as Reginald Bolding, District 27, and Isela Blanc, District 26, stood with the Teamsters and spoke to the floor about the importance of Red for Ed. Representative Richard Andrade for district 29 introduced the Teamsters to the House of Representatives that lead to an outroar of applause from everyone in attendance. “It was a union that got me involved with politics and one of our top issues, of course, was education. The lack of funding for education,” said Andrade. “Being here I’m seeing how public education is being destroyed by not being funded properly, so today I’m seeing this movement and it’s about time because we’ve gotta fund public education. We need to put money back into our public schools.”
The unions stayed at the protest for the rest of the day, keeping up the same positive energy and support that they had in the early morning. The Teamsters also passed out their six needs that the educators of Arizona were asking for. “If you are part of the support staff and are not represented, let the Teamsters help you find your voice in this fight,” said in an information brochure that was being passed out. On May 3, Doug Ducey announced that the state of Arizona would meet the teachers demands and schools finally went back into session. The Teamsters, however, went back to work. Teamsters Local 104 are now working to support UPS workers as they protest the company’s decision to make an 8-day/70-hour workweek for package car drivers. “This support staff has the union’s support and we can come together in unity and in solidarity to help our support staff,” Schumann said.