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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

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

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

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
  • 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.

  • Candidate material is distributed to all members to encourage informed participation in the International officer election, and to promote a fair, honest and open process.

  • Negotiations for the National Master Automobile Transporters Agreement (NMATA) are under way. On Wednesday, June 3, representatives from carhaul local unions met in Detroit to approve the contract proposals and the next day, Thursday, June 4, the Teamsters National Automobile Transporters Industry Negotiating Committee (TNATINC) exchanged the contract proposals with the employer group.

    The committee will work hard to protect members’ health, welfare and pension benefits, protect job security and other address other top priorities

    The National Master Automobile Transporters Agreement (NMATA) and its supplements expire on August 31, 2015. The national contract covers almost 6,000 Teamster carhaulers.

    In addition to protecting benefits and job security, other top priorities are wages, the grievance procedures and safety and health issues.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • First Student employees’ collective bargaining agreement with the company, which covers more than 21,000 workers, expires on March 31, 2015. Employees at First Student made history when they voted overwhelmingly to ratify a national master agreement on June 1, 2011, and it is time to renegotiate that agreement. Turn to this page to get the latest contract news and updates. The first round of negotiations is scheduled for January 27-28, 2015. The national contract expires March 31, 2015.

  • Teamsters are been standing together to protect good jobs at Sysco and US Foods. Our solidarity on many fronts helped to defeat the mega-merger of the two companies, which would have put thousands of jobs at risk. But challenges remain as both companies refine their plans. Join our campaign to ensure these foodservice giants honor their agreements with 11,500 Teamsters and help us bring more Sysco and US Foods workers into the Teamster family. 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!

Teamsters Local 41
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