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Teamster History Timeline

1903: The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) is created at a convention in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Cornelius Shea is elected the first General President.

1905: Bloody strike at Chicago-based Montgomery Ward Company lasts more than 100 days, tragically takes 21 lives and costs about $1 million. In the face of this setback, the union realizes changes are needed.

1907: Dan Tobin elected General President. Tobin leads the Teamsters for the next 45 years.

1912: Tobin sets out to organize the fast-growing motorized truck delivery industry.
Teamsters are part of the first transcontinental delivery of goods by motor truck.

1914: Start of World War I brings industrial boom in the U.S., drives Teamster
organizing efforts.

Union members help secure military success by swiftly moving troops and supplies, as well as providing vehicle maintenance and repair expertise.

1916: At the convention, Teamsters proclaim the horse as the heart of the union and as its
symbol.

1918: Teamsters play a crucial role in delivering supplies and medicine during the Great Influenza Epidemic.

1925: Union's treasury reaches $1 million.

1929: Great Depression hits. Jobless rate jumps from three percent to 25 percent.

1933: Depression hits Teamsters locals hard. Membership rolls hit a Depression-era low of
75,000.

1934: Teamsters embrace President Franklin D. Roosevelt. FDR fights for working families, wins passage of a series of legislative initiatives designed to pull the country out of the Depression. FDR relies heavily on U.S. labor leaders, especially Tobin, to make his case.

After historic Teamsters strike in Minneapolis, FDR wins passage of landmark National Labor Relations Act. NLRA codifies workers' rights to collective bargaining and protects workers from management interference or intimidation aimed at union activity.

1935: Teamsters organize over-the-road truckers. Membership nearly doubles to 146,000.

1942: National Conference of Teamsters formed to help the economic and military crises facing the U.S. in World War II.

125,000 Teamsters involved in military operations for the Allied forces.

1947: Taft-Hartley Act passes. The Act amends the NLRA, aimed to restrict and limit labor's influence.

1949: Teamster veterans keep seniority upon return from war, go back to work.

Membership tops 1 million, thanks to organizing in booming post-war industries.

1952: Tobin announces retirement. Dave Beck is elected his successor.

1956: Congress approves the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which creates the Interstate Highway System. Positively impacts American economy, creating new jobs in manufacturing, construction and transportation.

1957: James R. Hoffa elected President; membership stands at 1.5 million.

1964: National Master Freight Agreement is a watershed for the Teamsters. Covers 400,000 members employed by some 16,000 trucking companies. Agreement moves more workers into the middle class than any other event in labor history.

1965: IBT contributes $25,000 to Dr. Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the union's largest monetary contribution to a social cause of the time.

1975: Master Agricultural Agreement won by the Western Conference. Dramatically improves wages and conditions for more than 30,000 farm workers employed by 175 separate growers.

1976: Teamsters membership tops 2 million.

1980s and 1990s: Reagan presidency begins era of anti-union policies. Teamsters' membership declines for first time since the depression.

1997: Teamsters' successful strike at UPS sparks resurgence in the labor movement.

1998: James P. Hoffa wins a landslide victory for President.

1999: Landmark national car haul agreement wins the support of 80 percent of the
members.

2001: At the convention, a historic amendment enshrines the concept of "one member, one vote" as a permanent component of the union's constitution.

2003: The International Brotherhood of Teamsters celebrates its 100th anniversary.

2004: Members of the International Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (IBLE) join the Teamsters, becoming the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), the first craft division within the Rail Conference.

Members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWE) vote to merge with the Teamsters and become the second craft division within the Rail conference.

2005: Teamsters break away from AFL-CIO, joining Change to Win coalition, which includes a total of seven affiliated unions with six million members.

Graphic Communications International Union and the Teamsters join forces. The new Graphic Communications Conference of the IBT represents workers in all craft and skill areas of the printing and publishing industry.

Present Day: The Teamsters continue to build a might army of organizers, working towards greater membership and an increased standard of living for all workers.

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Current Campaigns
  • Teamsters are standing together to protect good jobs as Sysco, the country’s largest foodservice provider, attempts to purchase its only national competitor, US Foods. Join our campaign to demand that Sysco and US Foods honor their agreements with 11,500 Teamsters and protect the livelihoods of the men and women who make these companies leaders in the industry. LIKE our Facebook page, here.

  • Taylor Farms workers in Tracy, California are standing up against poverty wages, disrespect and severe violations of their most basic rights. These 900 food processing workers in the Central Valley cut, wash and package salads and other products for the largest supplier of fresh-cut produce in the country. They feed the customers of major grocers, retailers and restaurant chains, including Walmart and McDonald’s.

    With a revenue of $1.8 billion in 2012, Taylor Farms can afford to treat its workers in Tracy with dignity and pay fair wages, just like their Teamster coworkers have at Taylor Farms’ facilities in Salinas, California. But when workers came together to organize with Teamsters Local 601, the company responded mercilessly. It fired, harassed, and punished workers for supporting the union. The company threatened immigrant workers with deportation, hiring an army of union-busters to run a non-stop fear campaign. During an NLRB election for union representation, Taylor Farms deployed a goon squad of supervisors to intimidate workers. The company’s violations were so egregious that the Labor Board impounded ballots while it investigates hundreds of Unfair Labor Practice charges.

    Workers in Tracy, following in the footsteps of labor leader and civil rights icon Cesar Chavez, are taking their fight to the public. The workers’ struggle for a better life for their families is supported by Teamsters in California and nationwide. We are building a movement for respect for the workers who feed America.

    ¡Si Se Puede!

  • The 2014 elections are right around the corner and this is your headquarters for the Teamsters Vote 2014 program. The page provides information on registering to vote, news about the Teamsters Vote 2014 campaign and a legislative scorecard that shows how your Member of Congress and Senators voted on the issues that matter to Teamster members and America’s working families.

  • Taxi drivers in Washington, D.C. are fed up!

    After years of unfair regulations and lack of respect, we are fighting back by forming the Washington, D.C. Taxi Operators Association. Our association will be backed by Teamsters Local 922 and the 1.4 million-member International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

  • The Teamsters have stood in solidarity with worker struggles in other countries since our founding. With economic globalization, our ability to organize increasingly depends on our ability to build alliances with workers on a global scale.
    More than ever, Teamsters are organizing and bargaining with multi-national companies. A key objective of our Global Strategies Campaign is to build strong alliances with unions around the globe who organize and bargain with common employers. Our focus is on workers in the emerging global supply chains – the infrastructure of globalization.
    Globalization creates new opportunities for international worker solidarity. We seek common cause with workers around the world to build social justice for all workers and the communities in which they live.

  • 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.

  • Teamsters at Republic Services/Allied Waste have stood together in recent years to fight for strong contracts, including going on strike and supporting their fellow striking workers. Workers continue to fight for strong contracts that include retirement security at the second largest solid waste company. This campaign page is dedicated to those ongoing efforts.

  • Welcome to Teamster Organizing!

    You've heard it said that the best defense is a good offense. In the war on workers, Teamster Organizing is on the offensive! We're winning power for workers across industries and across North America. Join us!

  • Join the movement to stop the war on workers. Corporate CEOs and billionaires are attacking you, your family and your job. The battlefield is in statehouses throughout the country.  Our jobs, our health, our kids, our retirement and our standard of living are all at risk. Check this page frequently for updates. 

 
 
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