Transportation And The Teamsters Union

661 words - 3 pages

Transportation industries throughout the world have played and always will play a major role in society. One of the major union movements of the twentieth century within the transportation industry here in the United States is the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), founded in Niagara Falls, New York in 1903. Prior to the founding of the IBT, the lives of the teamsters were meager at best. There was not much work to be found, and the work that was there paid for less than what the teamsters had to risk for the job. It was common during the late 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century for a teamster to work over 18 hours a day, seven days a week, for an average of around $2.00 a day. For this lowly wage, teamsters were required not only to haul whatever the load may be, but they also had to assume responsibility ...view middle of the document...

Following World War I, teamsters again played a major role in history during the great depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt relied heavily on the IBT to back his goal of pulling the country out of the depression, creating the National Recovery Administration and establishing minimum wages and maximum hours of labor. The reduction of the number of hours people were allowed to work produced jobs for more people.Once again as the world went to war, the teamsters were a vital role in helping the Allies. In 1942, the National Conference of Teamsters (NCT) was formed, suspending all labor discord in the face of the war. The NCT assisted in the financial and military crises of the United States by promoting War Bonds, organizing drives to collect scrap metals and rubbers to be used in military supplies, and serving in military operations on the front lines.Not everything about the teamsters was good. The teamsters union was at one time, one of the largest mafia affiliated unions in the country. With the teamster's president Jimmy Hoffa's, ties to the mafia and it's political influence, they became the target of several legislative assaults, as well as the mafia. When Jimmy Hoffa returned out of prison for mafia relations, he tried to regain control of the union vowing to eliminate all mafia influence with the IBT. This was ultimately the cause of his murder in 1975.Over the period of about 40 years, the IBT grew in power to over 2 million in strength then dropped to near Bankruptcy. In 1997, the IBT's successful strike with UPS caused the union to redouble its efforts in the labor movement. James P. Hoffa, Jimmy Hoffa's son, was elected president of the union in a landslide victory. He then with the help of the supervision of the Justice Department rewrote the teamster's code of ethics and all but eradicated the mafia presence and influence within the IBT. Returning the IBT to a newfound glory and eliminating the risk of bankruptcy within the union.


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