Teamsters Union withdraws endorsement for Sen. Roger Reinert, critic of blue laws [UPDATE]

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Except on Sundays
-- Updated at bottom with statement from State Sen. Roger Reinert --

The powerful Teamsters Union has rescinded its endorsement for state Sen. Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth), an opponent of the Sunday liquor ban.

In a letter that was published by Bluestem Prairie, union leadership questioned Reinert's integrity and said his "demeanor toward the DFL leadership and our allies has been outright offensive." By their own account, this is the first time in more than 30 years that they've withdrawn support for a sitting legislator.

See also:
Sunday sales, this time including growlers, fails again

For months, Reinert has challenged the union on its opposition to Sunday liquor sales -- specifically the growler provision, which would have allowed craft brewers to sell 64-ounce refillable containers on the Christian Sabbath. The only explanation that union leadership has provided publicly is a vague reference to an alcohol distributor who would be required to reopen contract negotiations if the legislation passed.

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Sen. Roger Reinert
But unlike liquor stores, brew pubs and breweries are allowed to open throughout the week and make beverages onsite -- meaning they shouldn't require Sunday deliveries. Reinert has said he offered to ban Sunday deliveries to brewers all the same but the suggestion fell on deaf ears. (Neither the union nor Reinert returned our emails over the holiday weekend.)

On the other hand, the union letter, which is signed by president Patrick Radzak and political director Ed Reynoso, accuses Reinert of making false claims about having been denied access to the labor contract in question:
Surely you remember the conversation when I offered that opportunity but you stated that no matter what the language said, you would not change your position on the issue. In other words, regardless of what the impact was to Teamster members working in the liquor industry, you would not care.
Just in case there was any confusion about the role labor plays in left-wing politics, Radzak and Reynoso conclude with this warning to the state senator:
I would suggest that you review how the DFL Party was established, and remember that the 'L' in DFL clearly does not symbolize liquor friends, it represents LABOR!
Read the letter in its entirely on the second page.

::: UPDATE :::

Reinert got back to us Tuesday, writing in an email that the union's assertion about offering to show him the contract language is "patently false." He continued:
Regarding my understanding that the "L" in DFL is for labor - I have a near perfect labor voting record.  Not to mention I am elected to represent the people of my district and Minnesota, not the Teamsters.
-- Follow Jesse Marx on Twitter @marxjesse or send tips to jmarx@citypages.com



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25 comments
TruDat
TruDat

Aren't Sunday liquor bans bowing to Christians? Shouldn't that violate separation of church and state and be illegal?

Steven Stewart
Steven Stewart

I am a member of the Teamsters Union; and I don't think our union is very "powerful" anymore. We, as Teamsters, should stop kneeling before the DFL, expecting them to protect our work and contracts. Blue laws are reactionary, and nearly every Teamster knows this. Organize the unorganized.

Chris Pekkala
Chris Pekkala

Who drives the Pepsi and Coke trucks? Are they non-union? And if they are Teamsters, do they work on Sundays? Or do they just deliver enough product Monday-Saturday?

WhyEvenBother
WhyEvenBother

Union Labor - Brokering Mediocrity for over 100 years!

Anne Castro
Anne Castro

Time to repeal the blue laws. I support unions but eff the teamsters. Srsly.

Gina Lecy
Gina Lecy

Just like the blue laws are outdated so are unions!

lkjhasdf
lkjhasdf

Haha, I thought they withdrew support for the Sunday liquor ban for a moment. But alas, no, they're doubling down on their dumbass ideals. Good on them. They're going down with the ship.

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

Labor Unions are like government. Its not about change, its about power and control. It never was about change.

I agree with Jorodmill that insults need to stop, but its hard to defend an organization that is so clearly rooted in its "ideals" that it refuses to participate in the conversation. I can't think of 1 good reason why our liquor laws are so outdated. The only reason I can even muster....these unions. So, its going to be a long fight to get people to not hate them.

If you think its a GOP vs. Democrat issue...well in my experience it rarely is. That is a smokescreen. Stop turing this into a he said she said people. Both sides need to look in the mirror.

Jorodmill
Jorodmill

This is where I separate myself from many of these derogatory comments about the labor movement. As a strong advocate for unions, I disagree with the teamsters whole hardheartedly. But the anti union comments are profoundly insulting to me and many of my brothers and sisters in the labor movement.


As for "The Conservative Jerks" post, I don't even see the teamsters on that list and furthermore if you are going to provide that information regarding union contributions, why not post the contributions made by big business which outspends labor on a 10-1 ratio?


If you guys think this is going to get our issue in the positive light, the insults have got to stop and stop now because you guys are disenfranchising union members not just teamsters. The teamsters are representing their members, plain and simple which is what they are paid to do. Saying things like "screw the teamsters" is not helpful!

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

Who controls this state? Elected officials?  or the Teamsters?   It's pretty obvious - special interests do!

Kenny Nelson
Kenny Nelson

There were probably a lot of naysayers to before the law was changed to allow Tap rooms. look how good that has been for Minneapolis.

Kenny Nelson
Kenny Nelson

I couldn't agree more the Teamsters look like idiots. These blue laws need to go.

Tim Cheesebrow
Tim Cheesebrow

The Government has no business telling store owners when they can and can't sell their own products. It's the teamsters that should be ashamed for defending absurd and obviously religious blue laws. It's like they've never heard of the separation of church and state.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

Teamsters, the people of Minnesota want Sunday liquor sales.  If you don't want Sunday liquor sales you need to come up with a better argument than your present one.

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

People of Duluth - RE-ELECT THIS PERSON BY THE HIGHEST MARGIN POSSIBLE.


The wet-trousered DFL legislators lashed to their commitments to a minority of Minnesotans, exemplified by this group of babies - afraid they may have to do some actual WORK (however, no one knows because they can't explain why the contracts would need to be reopened), deserve to be out on their asses. The rescinding of their endorsement is a practical endorsement from the sane people of MN...which is to say, the 75% of us that can't figure out why we buy everything but cars and beer on Sundays.


Jorodmill
Jorodmill

Got to say I'm not in agreement with the teamsters on Sunday sales, but this is a very well written letter and I'm not surprised they did what they did. Reinert has been very negative towards the union and the DFL leadership during this process. If it's true that they did attempt to show the contracts to him, this does show some level of dishonesty towards the process because he's said all along that they never allowed him the opportunity.

I believe that Sunday sales is within reach sometime in the near future. But we will not archive that by attempting to roll a very powerful labor union in the teamsters in the process. It is incumbent on the beer activist to try and work with the teamsters to achieve a compromise that addresses their concerns. The letter clearly states that they are representing their members, why should we expect them to do otherwise? I believe the closing of the letter is extremely powerful as a strong progressive person, to call out a senator and remind him of what the DFL symbolizes. While I'm not in agreement with the teamsters on Sunday sales, I do believe that Roger Reinert must be held accountable if he's not being honest.

Onan
Onan

@Jorodmill "I don't even see the teamsters on that list"

>> TeamsterDRIVE  61096<<

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

@Jorodmill Employees that belong to unions are forced to pay the dues, and have no say which political party the unions support.

joecool1999
joecool1999

@TheConservativeJerk Funny, I usually refer to Stewie the Conservative Jerk as a corporate boot-licker. Now everyone is doing it. Hey, if the shoe fits wear it, no denying the conservative jerk likes to lick corporate ass and probably masturbates to pictures of corporate executives but what the conservative jerk does on the conservative jerk's time is the conservative jerk's business. All we can do is expose the conservative jerk and make fun of the conservative jerk. It's cool being a normal guy who masturbates to porn instead of a deviant like the Conservative jerk who PROBABLY jerks off to pics of the Koch Brothers.....but like I said, what the conservative jerk masturbates to, and the asses he chooses to lick, are strictly his business.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@TheConservativeJerk That's a really pathetic way to defend voting for a political party that is run by billionaires.   Unions care about the well being of millions of their workers.   The Koch Brothers only care about the Koch brothers.   You are a pathetic cowardly billionaire boot lick.   You are a pathetic servile little loser to be so eagerly scammed.  

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann Unions are about power.  Remember Jimmy Hoffa, and now his son is president of the Teamsters - sounds more like Fidel Castro.

Also the unions did a real good job on Detroit and the Steel Industry. 

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