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