Teamsters Union


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Teamsters Union,

U.S. labor union formed in 1903 by the amalgamation of the Team Drivers International Union and the Teamsters National Union. Its full name is the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers of America (IBT). In 2005 the union had 1.4 million members; the majority of its members are truck drivers. The Teamsters has been one of the few unions to support Republican candidates, backing Richard Nixon in 1972 and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

The strongest Teamster centers at the beginning of the 20th cent. were Chicago, New York City, Boston, and St. Louis. Chicago, with about half the membership, was the scene of an unsuccessful 1905 strike against Montgomery Ward & Co., which resulted in a decline in union membership. In 1907, Daniel J. Tobin, a Boston Teamster unconnected with that strike, became president. He held the position until 1952, and his policy of avoiding sympathetic action on behalf of other unions and zealously guarding the expenditure of union funds helped the Teamsters to grow. In 1933, the union undertook the organization of the rapidly growing long-distance trucking industry. By threatening to stop deliveries to and from employers who refused to come to terms, the Teamsters were able to gain contracts not only in trucking but in related enterprises.

In the early 1940s Tobin successfully withstood a threat to his leadership from a Minneapolis local. But Tobin's successors ran into problems with corruption. The revelations of a Senate investigating committee led the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) to expel the IBT in 1957. Dave Beck, Tobin's successor, was sent to prison in 1958 for larceny and income tax violations. The evasiveness of Beck and his successor, Jimmy HoffaHoffa, James Riddle
, 1913–75?, U.S. labor leader, b. Brazil, Indiana. As a young warehouseman he organized (1932) a union that was admitted two years later into the Teamsters Union.
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, before Senate committees was an important factor in the passage (1959) of the Landrum-Griffin ActLandrum-Griffin Act,
1959, passed by the U.S. Congress, officially known as the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. It resulted from hearings of the Senate committee on improper activities in the fields of labor and management, which uncovered evidence of collusion
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.

Opposition to Hoffa within the union forced him to accept a monitorship over his presidency until 1961, but did not seriously impair his power. Hoffa himself was sent to prison in 1967, but retained the presidency until 1971, when he resigned and was succeeded by Frank E. Fitzsimmons. Massive IBT contributions to President Richard Nixon's reelection committee led to Hoffa's release in 1971. Hoffa attempted a comeback but disappeared in 1975; he is believed to have been killed by organized-crime figures.

In the 1970s and 80s, a number of Teamster leaders were convicted of irregularities in handling pension funds and of accepting bribes from employers to stop strikes or reduce labor costs. In 1977 allegations of control by organized crime forced the Teamsters to yield oversight of the Central States Pension fund to outsiders. Fitzsimmons died in 1981. His successor, Roy Williams, was convicted the same year of bribing a U.S. Senator. Jackie Presser, who became president in 1982, was indicted in 1985 for embezzling union funds and giving crime figures no-show jobs. The IBT reentered the AFL-CIO in 1988.

In 1989, with William McCarthy as union president, the Teamsters settled a federal racketeering suit that accused officials of allowing known crime figures to control and exploit the union. A court-appointed trustee supervised elections that resulted (1991) in the election of a reform candidate, Ronald R. Carey, a former New York parcel service driver and local president. (This was the first time the IBT membership was able to vote for union president; previously the national presidents were chosen by the IBT leadership.) In the 1990s the union faced tougher times. Deregulation in the trucking industry after 1980 created many low-cost nonunion firms and led to generally lower wages and benefits. Carey narrowly won reelection over James P. Hoffa, the son of Jimmy Hoffa, in 1996, but then lost office in 1997 over allegations of failing to stop illegal campaign fund-raising; he was later acquitted of lying to investigators about the scheme. Hoffa won a 1998 election to replace Carey and was reelected in 2001. In a split with AFL-CIO executives over union priorities, the Teamsters and two other large unions left the organization in 2005.

Bibliography

See S. Romer, The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (1962); D. Garnel, The Rise of Teamster Power in the West (1972); S. Brill, The Teamsters (1978); D. Moldea, The Hoffa Wars (1978); A. Friedman, Power and Greed (1989); and J. Neff, Mobbed Up (1989).

References in periodicals archive ?
Con-way Freight currently does not have a contract with the Teamsters Union at any of its nearly 300 locations in the U.
The Teamsters union is leading the fight to get a full environmental study for American Waste Industries, a trash sorting and transfer station that would take up to 700 tons of garbage and food waste each day.
On September 1st, the union workers at Columbia submitted a petition to the National Labor Relations Board to "decertify" the Teamsters Union at Columbia and become union-free.
Ken Hall, Teamsters Union International Vice President At-Large, President of Teamsters Local 175, Charleston, WV, and candidate for Teamsters Union General Secretary-Treasurer (representing Mr.
Earlier this month, the Teamsters Union launched the " Let's Get America Working
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According to a PFAA spokesperson, the Teamsters union does not understand flight attendant issues, therefore the PFAA feels it would be better suited to represent Northwest Airlines' 11,000 flight attendants.
Facility operators voted 26-9, while secretarial-clerical workers voted 24-3, in favor of the Teamsters Union over their prior representative, the Michigan Education Association (MEA).
WASHINGTON - The Teamsters union said Thursday it has reached a tentative agreement on a new master contract with four major trucking companies that will boost wages and maintain health insurance coverage at no cost to drivers and other workers.
The Teamsters union represents roughly 238,000 UPS hourly workers in the United States.
The Teamsters Union has been successful in winning wage and benefit gains for the 14,000 members of Local 2010 employed at the University of California.
Teamsters union workers at Albertsons, Stater Bros.