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Teamster History
Posted On: Dec 09, 2011

Teamster History


     The International Brotherhood of Teamsters was founded when two separate trade unions, the Team Drivers International Union and the Teamsters National Union of America, joined forces to improve the grueling working conditions of team drivers and warehousemen, whose lives consisted of long hours with little pay.

     August 1903:  the new organization met for the first time at Niagara Falls, New York; from this, grew the most powerful – and most famous – Labor Union the world has ever known.  On October 1, 1903, the Teamsters opened their first national headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana with Cornelius Shea serving as the first General President.

     Six years later, the Teamsters officially become the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Stablemen and Helpers, a name that remained until 1940, when “Warehousemen” replaced “Stablemen” in recognition of changing times – thus giving the Union the name it would bear for the next fifty years.

     America was changing – and so were the Teamsters.  In 1912, a motor vehicle made the first transcontinental delivery of merchandise and made transportation history.  This sounded the death knell for team drivers, but rang in a new day of opportunity for Teamster members.  America’s demand for new products and merchandise made the role of the transportation worker ever more vital.

     Through aggressive organizing, the Teamsters grew as fast as the transportation industry, increasing their membership from 40,000 in 1912 to 60,000 in 1915.  Along with their membership grew their reputation.  The Teamsters became known as a strong, dynamic, and militant Union that fought for workers’ rights, skillfully negotiated trend-setting contracts and improved working conditions for all.

     In 1920, under the leadership of General President, Dan Tobin, the Teamsters reached across the border and affiliated with the Canadian Trades and Labour Congress.  That same year, they joined the American Federation of Labor’s National Building Trades Department.

     Having survived Prohibition, the Great Depression, and two World Wars, the Teamsters continued to grow as more and more American workers recognized the advantages in being a Union member.  And with those numbers came clout.  The Teamsters, who now possessed the economic power to stop a nation’s commerce, had become a major force to be reckoned with.

     The post-war Teamsters saw a new and dynamic leadership transform the Union on a grand scale; combining tenacity in organizing with an innovative collective bargaining technique, it brought a great change to the world of organized labor.  Consequently, Congress became fearful of labor’s vote-wielding power and enacted such anti-union legislation as the Taft-Hartley Act, which outlawed the “closed shop.”

     In light of this, and to prepare for many political battles to come, the Teamsters realized they could better serve their members by taking the fight to Capitol Hill.  So in 1953, the Teamsters moved their International Headquarters to Washington, DC; and, in that same year, developed its internal structure through the creation of Joint Councils and Area Conferences.

     Under the leadership of James R. Hoffa, the Teamsters found a political action voice with the creation of D.R.I.V.E. (Democrat, Republican, Independent, Voter Education).  Teamster members could now be heard in the Halls of Congress.  Today, D.R.I.V.E. is the second biggest political action committee (PAC) in the country.

     In 1964, the National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) was born.  At the time, it was seen as a historic agreement, one that consolidated thousands of freight workers into a single powerful force.  During this very active period, the Teamsters began looking beyond the truck terminal to organize a variety of industries and workers such as public sector, healthcare, education, and manufacturing.  Today, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters remains America’s more diverse Union.  Even Walt Disney employees, including Mickey Mouse, are Teamsters.

     Even during the weak economy of the 70’s and 80’s, the Teamsters grew; the merger with the Brewery Workers Union – and it’s subsequent creation of the Anheuser-Busch National Master Agreement – added thousands of new names to the Teamster roster; another national master with the United Parcel Service (UPS), currently covers over 200,000 members.  Once more, the Teamsters reached northward to Canada, where thousands of Union brothers and sisters became part of the Canada Area Conference.  Today, it is Teamsters Canada.

     In 1987 the Union became known as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

     Today, a new millennium dawns and the Teamsters begin a second century of fighting for the rights of working families.  Many things change, but our commitment to improve the lives of our 1.4 million members never will.

  Current Campaigns  
  • The IBT and your Atlanta Committee members, Geoff Maloney and Chris Rogers have been negotiating with Company management since 2010; almost as long as the IBT have been negotiating for the Express Jet CRJ members. 

    The Company has now given us their final, closeout proposal on wages. Neither the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division, the Business Agents of Local 210 and Local 19, nor your rank-and-file committee members are recommending this be ratified. A detailed letter from your ExpressJet CRJ Negotiating Committee can be found here. A copy of the company’s last, best and final offer can be found here.

    Ballots were mailed on Tuesday, June 20, 2017.  Each member will receive voting instructions and credentials required for voting.  Voting will close on Monday, July 10, and will be counted the same day. 

  • The ‘Let’s Get America Working!’ campaign seeks to restore a dynamic and prosperous middle class to drive economic growth by helping to advance policy decisions that create and maintain good middle-income jobs, guarantee retirement security, expand access to the American Dream, and ensure that the benefits of the ongoing economic recovery are felt by the many, not just the few.

  • We Are eXPOsing XPO’s Global Greed

    XPO Logistics is a top ten global logistics and transportation company with annual revenue of $15 billion and 89,000 employees, another 10,000 workers classified as independent contractors, and thousands more working for firms that subcontract with XPO. We are the REAL workers at XPO Logistics worldwide exposing the truth about the company’s global greed, illegal wage theft, unsafe conditions, and abhorrent and vicious anti-worker, anti-union tactics. 

    This greed includes mistreating former Con-way Freight workers in the United States who are being kept in the dark about terminal closures and layoffs, and the company’s illegal refusal to bargain contracts and denying their workers’ federally protected right to organize. It also includes port, rail and last-mile drivers around the country and in Southern California fighting wage theft in excess of $200 million because they are misclassified as independent contractors and denied the right to form their union. This greed has caused numerous lawsuits and strikes.  Greed also means an unsafe workplace and mistreating its warehouse employees.

    XPO’s greed extends to Europe beginning with breaking its promise to not layoff any workers for at least 18 months. French workers and the unions have been fighting back against XPO’s disrespect, lies and attempts to slash jobs. Similar struggles are taking place in Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and across Europe.

    Join the worldwide struggle now! Get involved with this campaign by joining the Facebook group “XPO Exposed.”

    Together, we can eXPOse the company’s global greed and win fairness, respect and dignity for tens of thousands of XPO employees around the world!

  • This webpage provides information on the Teamsters Union’s legislative advocacy at both the federal and state level as well as our field activity to support those policy positions and to get strong labor candidates elected to office.  Among other resources, you will find our federal legislative scorecard, formal statements of policy position and communications to Capitol Hill,  a weekly update on federal legislative happenings, an overview of bills we are tracking at the state level, and quick links to take action on priority issues.

  • Negotiations for the National Master Automobile Transporters Agreement (NMATA) recently concluded and a tentative agreement has been reached. On Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 representatives from carhaul local unions met in Detroit to endorse the National Agreement and the Central-Southern Supplement, paving the way for members to vote. The Eastern and Western Supplements were approved in 2016, and will not be re-voted. However, all carhaul members will get to exercise their right to vote on the National Agreement and General Monetary Changes.

    Ballots will be mailed out on or about March 10 and are tentatively scheduled to be counted on March 30.

    The tentative agreement is from September 1, 2015, until May 31, 2021.

  • Workers’ pensions are being endangered by both Congress and those charged with overseeing them. The Teamsters and our members are standing united to say “No!” to cuts and “Yes!” to greater retirement security!

  • On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Southwest Airlines reached an agreement covering more than 300 material specialists. Details of the agreement are available on this webpage, along with materials explaining the components of this contract.

    Ballots will be mailed on or about Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Each member will receive voting instructions and credentials required for voting via mail, along with paper copies of the tentative agreement’s highlights, the tentative agreement, and a copy of the seniority list. Voting will close on June 21, ballots will begin to be counted the same day.  Please continue to check this page for more information, it will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

  • The Teamsters Union represents more than 250,000 members at UPS and UPS Freight. UPS remains an active member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) despite the organization’s anti-worker and anti-union agenda that seeks to undermine and weaken worker protections.

  • This web page provides information on our fight against fast-track legislation. The measure requires Congress to take only a quick up-or-down vote on secret trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and does not allow such agreements to be amended. It limits Congress’ constitutionally mandated oversight of such trade deals and lets others decide what’s best for America. The result is fewer good-paying U.S. jobs and unsafe food and products for Americans. Read more to find out why fast track is the wrong track for Teamsters and America.

  • Workers across the country at FedEx Freight and Con-way Freight are standing shoulder to shoulder to form their unions with the Teamsters to win a more secure future. Momentum is building with a first wave of victories with many more to come.

    There is growing worker resentment toward the companies after years of being treated unfairly. While the companies have suddenly made improvements since workers began to organize, workers know that without a legally binding contract the company can take these things away at any time.

    The unfulfilled promises that have been made to drivers and dockworkers over the past decade are coming back to haunt management.

    But now workers are taking action and standing up for themselves by forming their union. It's a different era now. It's Teamster Time! LIKE our Facebook page, here.

Teamsters Local 745
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