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From dKosopedia

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) is a labor union in the United States and Canada. Formed in 1903 by the merger of several local and regional locals of teamsters, the union now represents a diverse membership of blue-collar and professional workers in both the public and private sectors. The union had approximately 1.4 million members in 2008.<ref name="NumberofMembers" /> Formerly known as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, the IBT is a member of the Change to Win Federation and Canadian Labour Congress.



Early history

thumb|right|200px|Cornelius Shea, first General President of the Teamsters, circa 1905 The American Federation of Labor (AFL) had helped form local unions of teamsters since 1887. In November 1898, the AFL organized the Team Drivers' International Union (TDIU) In 1901, a group of Teamsters in Chicago, Illinois, broke from the TDIU and formed the Teamsters National Union. The new union permitted only employees, teamster helpers, and owner-operators owning only a single team to join, unlike the TDIU (which permitted large employers to be members), and was more aggressive than the TDIU in advocating higher wages and shorter hours. Claiming more than 28,000 members in 47 locals, its president, Albert Young, applied for membership in the AFL. The AFL asked the TDIU to merge with Young's union to form a new, AFL-affiliated union and the two groups did so in 1903, creating the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). Cornelius Shea was elected the new union's first president. Shea's election was a tumultuous one. Shea effectively controlled the convention because the Chicago locals—representing nearly half the IBT's membership—were united in their support for his candidacy. Shea was opposed by John Sheridan, president of the Ice Drivers' Union of Chicago. Sheridan and George Innes, president of the TDIU, accused Shea of embezzlement in an attempt to prevent his election. Shea won election on August 8, 1903, by a vote of 605 to 480. Edward L. Turley of Chicago was elected secretary-treasurer and Albert Young general organizer.

The union, like most unions within the American Federation of Labor (AFL) at the time, was largely decentralized, with a number of local unions that governed themselves autonomously and tended to look only after their own interests in the geographical jurisdiction in which they operated. The Teamsters were vitally important to the labor movement, for a strike or sympathy strike by the Teamsters could paralyze the movement of goods throughout the city and bring a strike into nearly every neighborhood. It also meant that Teamsters leaders were able to demand bribes in order to avoid strikes, and control of a Teamsters local could bring organized crime significant revenues. During Shea's presidency, the entire Teamsters union was notoriously corrupt. Noted labor historian John R. Commons famously concluded that during this time, the Teamsters were less a union and more a criminal organization.

Several major strikes occupied the union in its first three years. In November 1903, Teamsters employed by the Chicago City Railway went out on strike. Shea attempted to stop sympathy strikes by other Teamster locals, but three locals walked out and eventually disaffiliated over the sympathy strike issue A sympathy strike in support of 18,000 striking meat cutters in Chicago in July 1904 led to riots before the extensive use of strikebreakers led Shea to force his members back to work (leading to the collapse of the meat cutters' strike).

In the midst of the strife in 1904, Shea was re-elected by acclamation on August 8, 1904, at the Teamsters convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. Under his leadership, the union had expanded to nearly 50,000 members in 821 locals in 300 cities, making the Teamsters one of the largest unions in the United States. In 1905, 10,000 Teamsters struck in support of locked out tailors at Montgomery Ward, and eventually more than 25,000 Teamsters were on the picket line. But when local newspapers discovered that Shea was living in a local brothel, kept a 19-year-old waitress as a mistress, and had spent the strike hosting parties, public support for the strike collapsed and the strike ended on August 1, 1905 Despite the revelations, Shea won re-election on August 12, 1905, by a vote of 129 to 121.

Shea was re-elected again in 1905 and 1906, although significant challenges to his presidency occurred each time. Shea's first trial on charges stemming from the 1905 Montgomery Ward strike ended in a mistrial. However, during the 1906 re-election Shea had promised that he would resign the presidency once his trial had ended. But he did not, and most union members withdrew their support for him. Daniel J. Tobin of Boston was elected Shea's successor by a vote of 104 to 94 in August 1907.

Organizing and growth during the Great Depression

Tobin was president of the Teamsters from 1907 to 1952. Although he faced opposition in his re-election races in 1908, 1909 and 1910, he never faced opposition again until his retirement in 1952.

The Teamsters began to expand dramatically and mature organizationally under Tobin. He pushed for the development of "joint councils" to which all local unions were forced to affiliate. Varying in geographical and industrial jurisdiction, the joint councils became important incubators for up-and-coming leadership and negotiating master agreements which covered all employers in a given industry. Tobin also actively discouraged strikes in order to bring discipline to the union and encourage employers to sign contracts, and founded and edited the union magazine, the International Teamster. Under Tobin, the Teamsters also first developed the "regional conference" system (developed by Dave Beck in Seattle), which provided stability, organizing strength, and leadership to the international union.

Tobin undertook long jurisdictional battles with many unions during this period. Fierce disputes occurred between the Teamsters and the Gasoline State Operators' National Council (an AFL federal union of gas station attendants), the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, the Retail Clerks International Union, and the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks. The most significant disagreement, however, was with the United Brewery Workers over the right to represent beer wagon drivers. While the Teamsters lost this battle in 1913, when the AFL awarded jurisdiction to the Brewers, they won when the issue came before the AFL Executive Board again in 1933, when the Brewers were still recovering from their near-elimination during Prohibition. The raids and new member organizing in the 1930s led to significant membership increases. Teamster membership stood at just 82,000 in 1932. Tobin took advantage of the wave of pro-union sentiment engendered by the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act, and by 1935 union membership had increased nearly 65 percent to 135,000. By 1941, Tobin had a dues-paying membership of 530,000—making the Teamsters the fastest-growing labor union in the United States.

One of the most significant events in union history occurred in 1934. A group of radicals in Local 574 in Minneapolis—led by Farrell Dobbs, Carl Skoglund, and the Dunne brothers (Ray, Miles and Grant), all members of the Trotskyite Communist League of America)—began successfully organizing coal truck drivers in the winter of 1933. Tobin, an ardent anti-communist, opposed their efforts and refused to support their 1933 strike. Local 574 struck again in 1934, leading to several riots over a nine-day period in May. When the employers' association reneged on the agreement, Local 574 resumed the strike, although it ended again after nine days when martial law was declared by Governor Floyd B. Olson. Although Local 574 won a contract recognizing the union and which broke the back of the anti-union Citizens Alliance in Minneapolis, Tobin expelled Local 574 from the Teamsters. Member outrage was extensive, and in August 1936 he was forced to recharter the local as 544. Within a year the newly formed Local 544 had organized 250,000 truckers in the Midwest and formed the Central Conference of Teamsters.

Extensive organizing also occurred in the West. Harry Bridges, radical leader of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), was leading "the march inland"—an attempt to organize warehouse workers away from shipping ports. Alarmed by Bridges' radical politics and worried that the ILA would encroach on Teamster jurisdictions, Dave Beck formed a large regional organization (the Western Conference of Teamsters) to engage in fierce organizing battles and membership raids against the ILA which led to the establishment of many new locals and the organization of tens of thousands of new members.

But corruption became even more widespread in the Teamsters during the Tobin administration. By 1941, the union was considered the most corrupt in the United States, and the most abusive towards its own members. Tobin vigorously defended the union against such accusations, but also instituted many constitutional and organizational changes and practices which made it easier for union officials to engage in criminal offenses. Galenson claims that Tobin's "personal honesty was never challenged..." See: Galenson, The CIO Challenge to the AFL: A History of the American Labor Movement, 1960, p. 471. Other historians challenge this conclusion, but conclude any misdeeds Tobin engaged in are minor compared to those of some Teamsters leaders. See: Garnel, The Rise of Teamster Power in the West, 1972; Witwer, Corruption and Reform in the Teamsters Union, 2003; Phelan, William Green: Biography of a Labor Leader, 1989.

World War II and the post-war period

By the beginning of World War II, the Teamsters was one of the most powerful unions in the country, and Teamster leaders influential in the corridors of power. Union membership had risen more than 390 percent between 1935 and 1941 to 530,000. In June 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt appointed General President Dan Tobin to be the official White House liaison to organized labor, and later that year chair of the Labor Division of the Democratic National Committee. In 1942, President Roosevelt appointed Tobin special representative to the United Kingdom and charged him with investigating the state of the labor movement there. Tobin was considered three times for Secretary of Labor, and twice refused the post—in 1943 and 1947. On September 23, 1944, Roosevelt gave his famous "Fala speech" while campaigning in the 1944 presidential election. Because of Roosevelt's strong relationship with Tobin and the union's large membership, the President delivered his speech before the Teamster convention.

Nonetheless, Teamsters members were restive. Dissident members of the union accused the leadership of suppressing democracy in the union, a charge President Tobin angrily denied. Over the next year, Tobin cracked down on dissidents and trusteed several large locals led by his political opponents.

During World War II, The Teamsters strongly endorsed the American labor movement's no-strike pledge. The Teamsters agreed to cease raiding other unions and not strike for the duration of the national emergency. President Tobin even ordered Teamsters members to cross picket lines put up by other unions. Nevertheless, the national leadership sanctioned strikes by Midwestern truckers in August 1942, Southern truckers in October 1943, and brewery workers and milk delivery drivers in January 1945.

The Teamsters did not, however, participate in the great post-war wave of labor strikes. In the two years following the cessation of hostilities, the Teamsters struck only three times: 10,000 truckers in New Jersey struck for two weeks; workers at UPS struck nationwide for three weeks; and workers at Railway Express Agency struck for almost a month.

Teamsters leaders strongly opposed enactment of the Taft-Hartley Act and repeatedly called for its repeal. President Tobin, however, was one of the first labor leaders to sign the non-communist affidavit required by the law. Signing the affidavit provided the Teamsters with the protection of the NLRA, which was an important tool in the Teamsters' fight with the Brewery Workers.

The great wave of organizing which the union engaged in during the Great Depression and the war significantly boosted the political power of a number of regional Teamsters leaders, and the leadership of the union engaged in a number of power struggles in the post-war period. By 1949, the union's membership had topped one million.<ref>"Just a Few Polite Questions," Time, March 28, 1949.</ref> Dave Beck (elected an international vice-president in 1940) was increasingly influential in the international union, and Tobin attempted to check his growing power but failed.<ref name="Galenson" /> In 1946, Beck successfully overcame Tobin's opposition and won approval of an amendment to the union's constitution creating the post of executive vice-president. Beck then won the 1947 election to fill the position.<ref name="Fink" /> Beck also successfully opposed in 1947 a Tobin-backed dues increase to fund new organizing.<ref>Davies, "Teamsters Defeat Tobin On Tax Rise," New York Times, August 15, 1947.</ref> The following year, Beck was able to demand the ouster of the editor of International Teamster magazine and install his own man in the job.<ref>"Union Editor Is Ousted," Associated Press, September 3, 1948.</ref>

In 1948, Beck allied with his long-time rival Jimmy Hoffa and effectively seized control of the union. He announced a raid on the International Association of Machinists local at Boeing. Although President Dan Tobin publicly repudiated Beck's actions, Beck had more than enough support from Hoffa and other members of the executive board to force Tobin to back down.<ref>The NLRB subsequently held an election to determine who should represent the workers at Boeing. The Machinists won the 1949 election by a 2-to-1 margin. See "Beck Said to Top Tobin in Teamsters," New York Times, September 19, 1948; McCann, Blood in the Water: A History of District Lodge 751, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, 1989; Rodden, The Fighting Machinists: A Century of Struggle, 1984; Raskin, "Union Leader-And Big Business Man," New York Times, November 15, 1953.</ref> Five months later, Beck won approval of a plan to dissolve the union's four divisions and replace them with 16 divisions organized around each of the major job categories in the union's membership.<ref>"AFL Teamsters Begin Drastic Revamping," New York Times, January 18, 1949.</ref> In 1951, Tom Hickey, reformist leader of the Teamsters in New York City, won election to the Teamsters executive board. Tobin needed Beck's support to prevent Hickey's election, and Beck refused to give it.<ref>"Hickey In New Union Post," Associated Press, August 28, 1951.</ref>

On September 4, 1952, Tobin announced he would step down as president of the Teamsters at the end of his term.<ref>"D.J. Tobin Set to Retire," New York Times, September 5, 1952; "Battle for Control of Union Is Revealed," New York Times, October 7, 1952.</ref> At the union's 1952 convention, Beck was elected General President and pushed through a number of changes intended to make it harder for a challenger to build the necessary majority to unseat a president or reject his policies.<ref>Changes to the union constitution included expanding the number of vice-presidents, expanding the number of seats on the executive board, expanding the number of delegates, and enhancing the powers and authority of the president. "Teamsters Raise Tobin's Pay $20,000," New York Times, October 15, 1952; "Teamster Chiefs Defeat Opposition," New York Times, October 16, 1952; "Curbs On Officers Rejected By Teamsters," New York Times, October 17, 1952; "Teamsters Elect Beck As President," Associated Press, October 18, 1952.</ref>

The influence of organized crime

Beck was elected to the Executive Council of the AFL on August 13, 1953, but his election generated a tremendous political battle between AFL President George Meany, who supported his election, and federation vice presidents who felt Beck was corrupt and should not be elected to the post.<ref>Levey, "A. F. L. Elects Beck to Post In Council," New York Times, August 14, 1953; Loftus, "Battle for Power Expected in A.F.L.," New York Times, August 19, 1953.</ref> Beck was the first Teamster president to negotiate a nationwide master contract and a national grievance arbitration plan,<ref>"Teamsters to Ask Nation-Wide Pacts," New York Times, September 22, 1953; "Peace Plan Set Up In Truck Industry," New York Times, August 18, 1955.</ref> established organizing drives in the Deep South<ref>Raskin, "Teamsters Set Up Big Union Drives," New York Times, February 11, 1956; "Teamsters Map Southern Drive," Associated Press, April 8, 1956.</ref> and the East,<ref>Raskin, "Teamsters Plan Big Drive In East," New York Times, January 10, 1957.</ref> and built the current Teamsters headquarters (the "Marble Palace") in Washington, D.C. on Louisiana Avenue NW (across a small plaza from the United States Senate).<ref>Loftus, "Union Buildings Rising in Capital," New York Times, April 3, 1955; "A.F.L. Teamsters' Union Moves to $5,000,000 Offices," New York Times, July 6, 1955.</ref> But his intervention in a construction and a milk strike (both centered on New York City), and refusal to intervene in a Northeastern trucking strike created major political problems for him.<ref>Loftus, "Beck Denies Surrender," New York Times, October 22, 1954.</ref> Perceiving Beck to be weak, Jimmy Hoffa began challenging Beck on various union decisions and policies in 1956 with an eye to unseating him as General President in the regularly scheduled union elections in 1957.<ref name="KatzControl">Katz, "Teamsters' Union in Control Fight," New York Times, January 10, 1956.</ref>

Infiltration by organized crime dominated the agenda of the Teamsters throughout the 1950s. The Teamsters had suffered from extensive corruption since its formation in 1903.<ref name="Fitch" /><ref name="WitwerUnionized" /><ref name="Tilman" /> Although the more extreme, public forms of corruption had been eliminated after General President Cornelius Shea was removed from office, the extent of corruption and control by organized crime increased during General President Tobin's time in office (1907 to 1952).<ref name="Galenson" /><ref name="WitwerUnionized" /><ref name="WitwerCorruption" /><ref>Garnel, The Rise of Teamster Power in the West, 1972; Phelan, William Green: Biography of a Labor Leader, 1989.</ref> In 1929, the Teamsters and unions in Chicago even approached gangster Roger Touhy and asked for his protection from Al Capone and his Chicago Outfit, which were seeking to control the area's unions.<ref>Touhy, The Stolen Years, 1959; Touhy, When Capone's Mob Murdered Roger Touhy: The Strange Case of "Jake the Barber" and the Kidnapping That Never Happened, 2001; "Touhy Accuses Cop in $40,000 Capone Payoff," Chicago Daily Tribune, May 10, 1949; "Touhy Relates How Syndicate Invaded Unions," Chicago Daily Tribune, September 20, 1952; "Cites Gilbert Link to Labor Rackets," Chicago Daily Tribune, August 10, 1954; "Gangster Says Unions Paid to Fight Capone," United Press International, September 20, 1952.</ref> Evidence of widespread corruption within the Teamsters began emerging shortly after Tobin retired.<ref>Grutzner, "Racket in Produce By Trucking Union Is Bared At Inquiry," New York Times, January 27, 1953; Raskin, "A.F.L. Heads Tell Dockers to Clean Union or Get Out," New York Times, February 4, 1953; "5 Teamster Heads Suspended By Beck," New York Times, October 23, 1953; "Unionists Held for Trial," Associated Press, October 28, 1953; "7 Bound Over for Trial," New York Times, October 29, 1953; Loftus, "Beck Takes Over Westchester Unit," New York Times, December 11, 1953; "Labor Inquiries Pushed," United Press International, December 27, 1953; "Inquiry Accuses Teamster Local," United Press International, February 20, 1954; "Monopoly Is Seen In Garment Wear," New York Times, April 19, 1955; Ranzal, "U.S. Will Investigate Teamster Rule Here," New York Times, March 24, 1956.</ref> In Kansas City, corrupt Teamsters locals spent years seeking bribes, embezzling money, and engaging in extensive extortion and labor rackets as well as beatings, vandalism and even bombings in an attempt to control the construction and trucking industries.<ref name="WitwerCorruption" /><ref>Lee, Farmers Vs. Wage Earners: Organized Labor in Kansas, 1860-1960, 2005; Hyde, The Mafia and the Machine: The Story of the Kansas City Mob, 2008; "Witnesses Tell of Union Threats," Associated Press, June 30, 1953; "Terrorism Laid to Union," Associated Press, July 3, 1953; "Kansas City Labor Held Gang-Ruled," Associated Press, July 4, 1953.</ref> The problem was so serious that the U.S. House of Representatives held hearings on the issue.<ref>"House Blasts Kansas City Tie-Up," New York Times, September 2, 1953.</ref>

Hoffa's attempt to challenge Beck caused a major national scandal which led to two Congressional investigations, several indictments for fraud and other crimes against Beck and Hoffa, strict new federal legislation and regulations regarding labor unions, and even helped launch the political career of Robert F. Kennedy. Believing he needed additional votes to unseat Beck, in October 1956 mobster Johnny Dio met with Hoffa in New York City and the two men conspired to create as many as 15 paper locals<ref>A "paper local" is a local union, chartered by an international union or self-chartered, established for the purposes of fraud. It may have no members; the "members" may be relatives or individuals involved in organized crime rather than workers; or the union may claim to represent workers but in fact no relationship has been established. The holder of the charter for the paper local charter often enters into a sweetheart contract with an employer, or uses it as extortion (threatening to unionize the workers unless he receives a payoff). Paper locals are denounced by the AFL-CIO Code of Ethical Practices. See: Doherty, Industrial and Labor Relations Terms: A Glossary, 1989; "The Conglomerate of Crime," Time, August 22, 1969.</ref> to boost Hoffa's delegate totals.<ref>"No Ordinary Hoodlum," New York Times, August 30, 1956.</ref><ref name="TopBeckAide">Loftus, "Top Beck Aide Links Hoffa to 'Phony' Teamster Locals," New York Times, August 20, 1957.</ref> When the paper locals applied for charters from the international union, Hoffa's political foes were outraged.<ref name="KatzControl" /><ref>Raskin, "Teamster Units Stir New Storm," New York Times, February 4, 1956; Raskin, "Hoffa of the Teamsters Forcing Labor Showndown," New York Times, March 4, 1956.</ref> A major battle broke out within the Teamsters over whether to charter the locals, and the media attention led to inquiries by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the U.S. Senate Committee on Government Operations.<ref>Ranzal, "7 Teamster Units Face U.S. Inquiry," New York Times, March 30, 1956; Kihss, Peter. "Local Chartered With No Members," New York Times, April 25, 1956; Kihss, "Teamsters' Rules Appall U.S. Judge," New York Times, April 26, 1956; "Racketeer Is Guilty of Contempt," New York Times, May 10, 1956; Levey, "Writ Restores Lacey As Teamster Leader," New York Times, May 13, 1956; "Dio Indicted Here In Union Sell-Out," New York Times, June 20, 1956; "Dio's Locals Face Charter Reviews," New York Times, June 21, 1956; Raskin, "Senators Study Dio Union Tie-In," New York Times, September 14, 1956; Roth, "Dio and Unionist Named Extorters," New York Times, October 30, 1956; "Teamsters Spurn 'Dio Local' Order," New York Times, December 5, 1956; "Lacey Will Defy Teamster Chief," New York Times, December 6, 1956; Raskin, "Dio 'Paper' Unions Offer First Dues," New York Times, December 13, 1956; Raskin, "O'Rourke Wins Post," New York Times, January 9, 1957.</ref> Beck and other Teamster leaders challenged the authority of the U.S. Senate to investigate the union,<ref>Loftus, "Teamsters Aide Balks at Inquiry on Union Rackets," New York Times. January 19, 1957; Raskin, "Teamsters Avoid Challenge to U.S.," New York Times, January 24, 1957; Raskin, "Teamsters Seek Way to Avoid a Showdown," New York Times, January 27, 1957.</ref> which caused the Senate to establish the Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor and Management – a new committee with broad subpeona and investigative powers.<ref>"New Senate Unit to Widen Inquiry In Labor Rackets," New York Times, January 24, 1957; "Teamster Study Is 3 Months Old," New York Times, May 26, 1957; "Senate Votes Inquiry on Labor Rackets," New York Times, January 31, 1957.</ref> Senator John L. McClellan, chair of the select committee, hired Robert F. Kennedy as the subcommittee's chief counsel and investigator.<ref name="Senate">"Chapter 18. Records of Senate Select Committees, 1789-1988," in Guide to the Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition, 1989.</ref>

The Select Committee (also known as the McClellan Committee, after its chairman), exposed widespread corruption in the Teamsters union. Dave Beck fled the country for a month to avoid its subpoenas before returning.<ref>"Beck Visiting in the Bahamas," New York Times, February 6, 1957; "Citation Is Asked for 3 Teamsters," New York Times, February 7, 1957; "Beck On Airliner Bound for London," New York Times, February 8, 1957; Love, "Beck Denies Aim to Dodge Inquiry," New York Times, February 9, 1957; "Tourist Beck," New York Times, February 10, 1957; Raskin, "Beck Slips Back to U.S. and Faces Senate Subpoena," New York Times, March 11, 1957.</ref> Four of the paper locals were dissolved to avoid committee scrutiny, several Teamster staffers were charged with contempt of Congress, and union records were lost or destroyed (allegedly on purpose), and wiretaps were played in public before a national television audience in which Dio and Hoffa discussed the creation of even more paper locals.<ref>Raskin, "Union Dissolves Four Dio Locals," New York Times, February 15, 1957; Loftus, "Senators Study Two Unions Here," New York Times, February 16, 1957; "4 Teamsters' Aides Cited for Contempt In Balking Inquiry," New York Times, February 20, 1957; "Records Destroyed, M'Clellan Charges," New York Times, February 22, 1957; "More Data of Union Reported Missing," Associated Press, February 23, 1957; "Teamster Admits Destroying Data," New York Times, March 14, 1957; "A Teamster Local, Under Fire, Robbed," United Press International, March 17, 1957; "Wiretaps on Dio and Hoffa Cited," New York Times, February 23, 1957; "Labor Inquiry Gets Secret Tape Talks," New York Times, February 24, 1957; Mooney, "M'Clellan Hunts Auditor of Union and Son of Beck," New York Times, April 28, 1957.</ref> Evidence was unearthed of a mob-sponsored plot in which Oregon Teamsters unions would seize control of the state legislature, state police, and state attorney general's office through bribery, extortion and blackmail.<ref>Loftus, "Witnesses Link Teamsters Union to Underworld," New York Times, February 27, 1957; Loftus, "Teamsters Chiefs Tied to Vice Plot and to Gambling," New York Times, February 28, 1957; Loftus, "Teamsters Chiefs Charged With Plot to Rule Oregon, Sought All Law Enforcement Powers," New York Times, March 2, 1957; Loftus, "Oregon Gambler Tells of Pay-Off," New York Times, March 7, 1957; Loftus, "Portland Mayor Accused of Bribe," New York Times, March 8, 1957; Loftus, "Portland Called Vice-Ridden Now," New York Times, March 9, 1957; Loftus, "Teamsters Paid Gamblers' Bills," New York Times, March 13, 1957; "Holmes Denies Charge," New York Times, March 14, 1957; Loftus, "Brewster Denies Teamsters' Plot to Rule Rackets," New York Times, March 16, 1957; "Portland Mayor Seized In Racket, Prosecutor Held," New York Times, March 29, 1957.</ref> Initially, members of the union did not believe the charges, and support for Beck was strong,<ref>Davies, "Teamster Rally on Coast Backs Accused Leaders," New York Times, March 3, 1957; "Beck Asks Members to Support Leaders," New York Times, March 20, 1957.</ref> but after three months of continuous allegations of wrong-doing many rank-and-file Teamsters withdrew their support and openly called for Beck to resign.<ref>Raskin, "Teamsters Stir Against Leaders," New York Times, March 22, 1957; "Protests Rise Among Teamsters Against Leaders Now Under Fire," New York Times, March 23, 1957; Raskin, "Teamster Sentiment Grows to Remove Beck and Aides," New York Times, March 28, 1957; "Beck Effigy Hanged By Union In Yakima," Associated Press, March 29, 1957; "Portland Teamsters Fight Leaders," Associated Press, March 29, 1957.</ref> Beck initially refused to address the allegations, but broke his silence and denounced the committee's inquiry on March 6.<ref>Raskin, "Teamsters Hear From Their Chief," New York Times, March 7, 1957.</ref> But even as the committee conducted its investigation, the Teamsters chartered even more paper locals.<ref>Raskin, "More Dio Locals Join Teamsters," New York Times, March 13, 1957; Raskin, "Teamsters Delay Vote on Dio Units," New York Times, May 10, 1957.</ref> In mid-March 1957, Jimmy Hoffa was arrested for allegedly trying to bribe a Senate aide.<ref>Loftus, "F.B.I. Seizes Hoffa In A Plot To Bribe Senate Staff Aide," New York Times, March 14, 1957.</ref> Hoffa denied the charges, but the arrest triggered additional investigations and more arrests and indictments over the following weeks.<ref>Loftus, "Unionist Denies Bribery," New York Times, March 15, 1957; Loftus, "U.S. Jury Indicts 4 Teamster Aides Silent In Inquiry," New York Times, March 19, 1957; Loftus, "U.S. Jury Indicts Hoffa, Attorney," New York Times, March 20, 1957; "8 Hoffa Aides in Detroit Get Subpoenas to Appear Before U.S. Rackets Jury Here," New York Times, March 20, 1957; "Hoffa, Attorney Plead Not Guilty," New York Times, March 30, 1957; Loftus, "Hoffa Urges Court to Quash Charges," New York Times, April 23, 1957; Ranzal, "Jury Here Indicts Hoffa On Wiretap," New York Times, May 15, 1957.</ref> A week later, Beck admitted to receiving an interest-free $300,000 loan from the Teamsters which he had never repaid, and Senate investigators claimed that loans to Beck and other union officials (and their businesses) had cost the union more than $700,000.<ref>"Beck Says Union Lent Him $300,000 Without Interest," New York Times, March 18, 1957; Drury, "Teamster Loss Put At $709,420," New York Times, March 23, 1957; Morris, "Inquiry Tracing Funds Beck Used," New York Times, March 24, 1957; "Million Teamster Loan To Tracks Under Study," New York Times, March 30, 1957.</ref> Beck appeared before the select committee for the first time on March 25, 1957, and invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination 117 times.<ref>Loftus, "Beck Appearance Today Indicated," New York Times, March 26, 1957; Loftus, "Beck Uses 5th Amendment to Balk Senate Questions About Teamsters' $322,000," New York Times, March 27, 1957; Loftus, "M'Clellan Scores Beck for 'Theft' of Union's Funds," New York Times, March 28, 1957.</ref> The McClellan Committee turned its focus to Hoffa and other Teamsters officials, and presented testimony and evidence alleging widespread corruption in Hoffa-controlled Teamster units.<ref name="TopBeckAide" /><ref>"Inquiry to Stress History of Hoffa," Associated Press, August 11, 1957; Drury, "Two Racketeers Tied to O'Rourke," New York Times, August 16, 1957; Mooney, "Inquiry Set to Press Hoffa on Role Here," New York Times, August 18, 1957; Loftus, "Hoffa Says He Got $120,000 In Loans Without Security," New York Times, August 21, 1957; Loftus, "Senators Reveal Hoffa Bid to Get Dio In Teamsters," New York Times, August 22, 1957; Loftus, "Hoffa Is Accused of Using Dio in Bid for Control Here," New York Times, August 23, 1957; "M'Clellan Seeks A Perjury Check On Hoffa Replies," New York Times, August 25, 1957; Drury, "New Fund Abuses Charged to Hoffa," New York Times, September 24, 1957; Drury, "M'Clellan Seeks Teamsters' Files," New York Times, October 11, 1957; "Hoffa Called Ruler of Hoodlum Empire," New York Times, March 26, 1958.</ref>

Several historic legal developments came out of the select committee's investigation. The scandals uncovered by the McClellan committee, which affected not only the Teamsters but several other unions, led directly to the passage of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (also known as the Landrum-Griffin Act) in 1959.<ref>"Union Curbs Foreseen," New York Times, May 13, 1957; "M'Clellan Sees Stiff Labor Law," New York Times, May 18, 1957; Loftus, "Congress Disclosures Forecast New Labor Legislation," New York Times, June 2, 1957; Raskin, "White House Gives Program to Curb Abuses in Unions," New York Times, December 6, 1957; Higgins and Janus, The Developing Labor Law: The Board, the Courts, and the National Labor Relations Act, 2006; Wilson, "Conquering the Enemy Within: The Case for Reform of the Landrum-Griffin Act," Journal of Labor Research, December 2005; Lee, Eisenhower & Landrum-Griffin: A Study in Labor-Management Politics, 1990; Jacobs, Mobsters, Unions, and Feds: The Mafia and the American Labor Movement, 2006.</ref> The right of union officials to exercise their Fifth Amendment rights was upheld and a significant refinement of constitutional law made when the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the right of union officials to not divulge the location of union records in Curcio v. United States, 354 U.S. 118 (1957).<ref>"Teamster Wins Contempt Test," New York Times, June 11, 1957.</ref>

Rank-and-file anger over the McClellan Committee's revelations eventually led Beck to retire from the Teamsters and allowed Jimmy Hoffa to take over. Immediately after his testimony in late March 1957, Beck won approval from the union's executive board to establish a $1 million fund to defend himself and the union from the committee's allegations.<ref>"Beck To Use Fund To Tell His Story," New York Times, March 29, 1957; "Beck Insists Board Approve Publicity," New York Times, March 30, 1957.</ref> But member outrage at the expenditure was significant, and permission to establish the fund rescinded.<ref>Loftus, "Union Said to Bar 5-Year Beck Plan," New York Times, April 2, 1957; Loftus, "Union Curbs Beck in Publicity Plan," New York Times, April 3, 1957; "Collusion Check Set By Senators," New York Times, April 7, 1957.</ref> Member anger continued to grow throughout the spring,<ref>"Beck Asked to Resign," New York Times, March 30, 1957; Raskin, "Teamster Leadership Strongly Entrenched," New York Times, March 31, 1957; Perlmutter, "Teamsters Here Bar $1 Increase in Dues, Vent Anger on Beck," New York Times, April 1, 1957; Raskin, "Beck Is Rebuffed By Union's Board," New York Times, April 5, 1957; "Teamsters In Protest," New York Times, April 7, 1957; "Teamsters In Protest," New York Times, April 15, 1957; "1,000 Teamsters Ask Inquiry," New York Times, April 29, 1957.</ref> and Beck's majority support on the executive board vanished.<ref>Loftus, "Teamster Board to Meet In Texas," New York Times, April 12, 1957; Loftus, "Teamsters Start New Fight On Foes," New York Times, April 13, 1957; Raskin, "Beck 'Taking Rap' On Funds, He Says," New York Times, April 16, 1957; Raskin, "Beck No Longer Sure of Teamster Control," New York Times, April 21, 1957; Loftus, "Teamsters Map Fighting Defense," New York Times, May 6, 1957.</ref> Beck was called before the McClellan Committee again in early May 1957, and additional interest-free loans and other potentially illegal and unethical financial transactions exposed.<ref>Loftus, "Beck Called Back By Senate Inquiry," New York Times, May 2, 1957; Loftus, "Beck Again Fails to Give Answers," New York Times, May 9, 1957; Loftus, "Kickback to Beck On Loan Charged," New York Times, May 10, 1957; Loftus, "Loan of $200,000 to Beck Revealed at Senate Inquiry," New York Times, May 14, 1957; Drury, "Inquiry Is Told Shefferman Sought $7l,500 in Sale of Land to Teamsters," New York Times, May 16, 1957; Loftus, "$100,000 Repaid By Beck to Union in Last 2 Weeks," New York Times, May 17, 1957; Loftus, "Beck Aide Pleads the 5th 71 Times," New York Times, May 18, 1957.</ref> Based on these revelations, Beck was indicted for tax evasion on May 2, 1957.<ref>"Beck Is Indicted," New York Times, May 3, 1957; Loftus, "Beck Posts A Bond," New York Times, May 4, 1957; "Becks Indicted In Sale of Cars," New York Times, July 13, 1957.</ref>

Beck's legal troubles led him to retire and Hoffa to win election to the union presidency. Support for Beck among the membership evaporated.<ref>Loftus, "Teamster Ouster of Beck Foreseen Before Fall Vote," New York Times, May 12, 1957; "Oust-Beck Drive Gaining In West," New York Times, May 19, 1957; "Beck Is Denounced In Teamster Local," New York Times, May 21, 1957; Raskin, "Teamsters Here Ask Beck Ouster," New York Times, May 23, 1957.</ref> Beck announced on May 25 he would not run for re-election in October.<ref>Walz, "Beck Won't Run For Re-Election," New York Times, May 26, 1957.</ref> The announcement created chaos among the union leadership,<ref>"Teamster Chiefs Clashing Over a Successor to Beck," New York Times, May 27, 1957; "Meany Says Beck Should Quit Now," New York Times, June 8, 1957; "Beck Said to Make Union Short of Cash," New York Times, June 12, 1957.</ref> and despite additional indictments Hoffa announced he would seek the presidency on July 19.<ref>Loftus, "Hoffa Acquitted of Bribery Plot, Seeks Beck Post," New York Times, July 20, 1957.</ref> Rank-and-file support for Hoffa was strong,<ref>"Union's Support for Hoffa Grows," New York Times, July 21, 1957; Raskin, "Teamsters Set to 'Draft' Hoffa," New York Times, July 25, 1957; Johnston, "Hoffa Will Run For Beck's Post," New York Times, July 27, 1957; Davies, "Hoffa Maps Drive For Wider Power," New York Times, August 3, 1957.</ref> although there were some attempts to organize an opposition candidate.<ref>Hill, "Hoffa Says Rival Failed Union Duty," New York Times, August 27, 1957; Raskin, "6 Dio Locals Face Teamster Inquiry," New York Times, September 5, 1957; "Hoffa Bid Facing A Snag In Chicago," Associated Press, September 13, 1957.</ref> Hoffa's opponents asked a federal judge to postpone the election, but the request was granted only temporarily and Hoffa was duly elected General President of the union on October 4, 1957.<ref>Hoffa's support was so strong that he did not need the votes of the paper locals. See: Huston, "U.S. Judge Blocks Teamsters' Vote," New York Times, September 28, 1957; Raskin, "Hoffa's Election Now Is Held Sure," New York Times, September 29, 1957; Huston, "Teamsters' Poll Upheld In Appeal," New York Times, September 29, 1957; Raskin, "Hoffa Men Begin A Drive to Purge His Foes In Union," New York Times, October 1, 1957; Raskin, "Coast Delegates Switch to Hoffa," New York Times. October 2, 1957; Raskin, "Hoffa Is Elected Teamsters Head," New York Times, October 5, 1957.</ref> Beck offered to retire early to allow Hoffa to take control of the union in December.<ref>Raskin, "Beck Will Retire Early For Hoffa," New York Times, October 4, 1957.</ref> A federal district court barred Hoffa from taking power unless he was acquitted in his wiretapping trial.<ref>"Hoffa Foes Plan A New Road Block," New York Times, October 14, 1957; Lewis, "Court Bars Hoffa and New Officers From Union Posts," New York Times, October 15, 1957; "U.S. Judge Blocks Hoffa Ascent to Presidency of the Teamsters," New York Times, October 23, 1957.</ref> The ruling was upheld by a court of appeals, but the trial ended in a hung jury on December 19, 1957, and Hoffa assumed the presidency on February 1, 1958.<ref>"Teamsters Seek to Void Hoffa Ban," United Press International, October 27, 1957; "Hoffa Ban Upheld By Court Pending Vote Legality Trial," New York Times, November 5, 1957; "Hoffa Trial Ends in 11-1 Deadlock," New York Times, December 20, 1957; Raskin, "Hoffa Takes the Wheel of Outcast Teamsters," New York Times, February 2, 1958.</ref>

The worsening corruption scandal led the AFL-CIO to eject the Teamsters. AFL-CIO President George Meany, worried that corruption scandals plaguing a number of unions at the time might lead to harsh regulation of unions or even the withdrawal of federal labor law protection, began an anti-corruption drive in April 1956.<ref>Raskin, "Teamsters Facing Meany Showdown," New York Times. April 7, 1956.</ref> New rules were enacted by the labor federation's executive council that provided for the removal of vice presidents engaged in corruption as well as the ejection of unions considered corrupt.<ref>Loftus, "Meany Summons Council to Weigh Beck Suspension," New York Times, April 17, 1956; Raskin, "Meany Wins Round Against Underworld," New York Times, April 29, 1956; Loftus, "A.F.L.-C.I.O. Votes to Curb Rackets," New York Times, August 30, 1956; Loftus, "Union Questioned On Hiding of Data," New York Times, January 18, 1957.</ref> The McClellan Committee's investigation only worsened the dispute between the AFL-CIO and the Teamsters.<ref>Raskin, "Teamsters Clash Disturbs Meany," New York Times, January 22, 1957.</ref> In January 1957, the AFL-CIO proposed a new a rule which would bar officers of the federation from continuing to hold office if they exercised their Fifth Amendment rights in a corruption investigation.<ref>"Union Would Bar Silent Witnesses," New York Times, January 27, 1957; Raskin, "Labor Council Tells Unions to Oust Chiefs Using Fifth," New York Times, January 29, 1957.</ref> Beck opposed the new rule,<ref>"Free-Wheeling Teamster," New York Times, January 29, 1957.</ref> but the Ethical Practices Committee of AFL-CIO instituted rule on January 31, 1957.<ref>Raskin, "Anti-Crime Code Backed By Labor," New York Times, January 30, 1957; Raskin, "Labor Votes to Curb Rackets," New York Times, February 1, 1957.</ref> The Teamsters were given 90 days to reform,<ref>Raskin, "3 Unions Ordered to Speed Reforms," New York Times, February 6, 1957.</ref> but Beck retaliated by promising more raids on AFL-CIO member unions if the union was ousted.<ref>"Expansion Talks Set By Teamsters," New York Times, February 21, 1957; "Carey Denounces Beck," New York Times, March 5, 1957.</ref> Beck's opposition prompted a successful move by Meany to remove Beck from AFL-CIO executive council on grounds of corruption.<ref>Drury, "2 Union Leaders Hint Beck Ouster," New York Times, March 25, 1957; "A.F.L.-C.I.O. Calls Parley on Beck," New York Times, March 27, 1957; Loftus, "Beck Suspended From 2 Key Jobs By Labor Chiefs," New York Times, March 30, 1957; Raskin, "Teamsters Brand A.F.L.-C.I.O. Action On Beck Illegal," New York Times, April 17, 1957; "A.F.L.-C.I.O. Bars Deal With Beck," New York Times, April 18, 1957; "Beck Opens Fight On Labor Ouster," New York Times, April 20, 1957; Loftus, "A.F.L.-C.I.O. Unit Lays Corruption to Beck's Union," New York Times, May 7, 1957; Katz, "Teamster Ouster Hinted By Meany," New York Times, May 8, 1957; Spiegel, "Meany Arraigns Labor 'Traitors'," New York Times, May 11, 1957; Loftus, "Labor-Union Tradition Limits Action on Beck," New York Times, May 12, 1957; Loftus, "Meany Will Listen to Teamsters' Woe," New York Times, May 15, 1957; Loftus, "Beck Is Expelled By Labor Council for Fund Misuse," New York Times, May 21, 1957.</ref> After extensive hearings and appeals which lasted from July to September 1957, the AFL-CIO voted on September 25, 1957, to eject the Teamsters if the union did not institute reforms within 30 days.<ref>Loftus, "A.F.L.-C.I.O. Doubts Teamster Reform," New York Times, July 7, 1957; Loftus, "Labor Ethics Unit Recalls 2 Unions," New York Times, July 19, 1957; Loftus, "Teamsters Defy A.F.L.-C.I.O. 'Court'," New York Times, July 26, 1957; Loftus, "Top Labor Body Sets Showdown With Hoffa," New York Times, August 11, 1957; Loftus, "Meany Silent on Hoffa Status," New York Times, August 16, 1957; Hill, "Teamsters Draft A.F.L.-C.I.O. Reply," New York Times, August 29, 1957; "Teamster Chiefs, At Labor Hearing, Deny Corruption," New York Times, September 6, 1957; Raskin, "Ouster of Teamsters Now Appears Likely," New York Times, September 8, 1957; Raskin, "Meany Demands Hoffa Rejection," New York Times, September 10, 1957; "Meany Set to Bar Corrupt Unions," Associated Press, September 12, 1957; Raskin, "Labor Prepares Teamster Ouster," New York Times, September 17, 1957; Raskin, "Teamster Union 'Indicted' By Ethical Practices Group," New York Times, September 18, 1957; Raskin, "A.F.L.-C.I.O. Accuses Hoffa of Aiding Union Criminals," New York Times, September 19, 1957; Raskin, "Teamster Board Fights A.F.L.-C.I.O.," New York Times, September 20, 1957; Raskin, "Teamsters Seek A.F.L.-C.I.O. Delay," New York Times, September 21, 1957; "Teamsters Bar Answer to Labor," Associated Press, September 22, 1957; Raskin, "Deadline Is Set For Teamsters," New York Times, September 24, 1957; Raskin, "Teamsters Given Month to Reform By Labor Chiefs," New York Times, September 26, 1957.</ref> Beck refused to institute any reforms, and the election of Jimmy Hoffa (whom the AFL-CIO considered as corrupt as Beck) led the labor federation to suspend the Teamsters union on October 24, 1957.<ref>Loftus, "Labor Suspends Teamster Union," New York Times, October 25, 1957.</ref> Meany offered to keep the Teamsters within the AFL-CIO if Hoffa resigned as president, but Hoffa refused and the formal expulsion occurred on December 6, 1957.<ref>"A.F.L.-C.I.O. to Go Ahead With Expulsion of Teamsters," New York Times, December 4, 1957; Raskin, "Meany Will Drop Teamster Ouster If Hoffa Gets Out," New York Times, December 5, 1957; "Teamsters Await Expulsion Today," New York Times, December 6, 1957; Raskin, "A.F.L.-C.I.O. Ousts Teamsters Union By Vote of 5 to 1," New York Times, December 7, 1957.</ref>

The Teamsters were not the only corrupt union in the AFL-CIO by any means. Another was the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), which represented stevedores in most East Coast ports. The Teamsters had long desired to bring all shipping and transportation workers into the union, so that no product could be moved anywhere in the U.S. without it being touched by Teamsters hands. As the ILA came under increasing attack for permitting corruption in its locals, President Beck sought to bring the ILA into the Teamsters.<ref>Raskin, "Dock Local Bolts to A.F.L. Teamsters in First Secession," New York Times, September 3, 1953.</ref> The AFL ousted the ILA in September 1953, and formed the International Brotherhood of Longshoremen-AFL (IBL-AFL) to represent longshoremen on the Great Lakes and East Coast.<ref>Raskin, "New Docker Union Free of Gang Rule Planned by A.F.L.," New York Times, September 19, 1953; Raskin, "A.F.L. Council Votes Dock Union Ouster," New York Times, September 21, 1953; Raskin, "Ryan's Dock Union Expelled by A.F.L.," New York Times, September 23, 1953.</ref> The Teamsters planned to raid the expelled union, and may even have hoped to seize control of the IBL-AFL.<ref>Raskin, "Pier Jury Seeking to Question Beck," New York Times, October 23, 1953.</ref> Beck undertook a campaign to bring the ILA back into the AFL in early 1955,<ref>"Beck Urges A.F.L. Regain Pier Union," New York Times, January 29, 1955.</ref> but the election of mob associate Anthony "Tough Tony" Anastasio as an ILA vice president forced Beck to end the effort.<ref>"Anastasia Is Elected to High I.L.A. Post," New York Times, March 19, 1955; "Teamsters Cooling Toward I.L.A. Deal," New York Times, March 22, 1955.</ref> But even as Beck backed away from any ILA deal, Jimmy Hoffa secretly negotiated a major package of financial and staff aid to the ILA and then went public with the deal – forcing Beck to accept it as a fait accompli or risk embarrassing Hoffa.<ref>"I.L.A. Pact Defined By Teamster Aide," New York Times, December 1, 1955.</ref> The AFL-CIO threatened to expel the Teamsters if it aided the ILA.<ref>Raskin, "Teamsters Union Faces Suspension," New York Times, March 1, 1956; Raskin, "Beck Set to Fight Any Ouster Move," New York Times, March 22, 1956.</ref> Beck fought Hoffa over the ILA aid package and won, withdrawing the offer to the ILA in the spring of 1956.<ref>Raskin, "Teamster Leaders Seeking To Restrict Hoffa's Power," New York Times, March 23, 1956; Raskin, "Teamsters Drop Dock Union Loan," New York Times, March 27, 1956; Nevard, "I.L.A. Drops Pacts With Teamsters," April 28, 1956.</ref>

The ILA was not the only union the Teamsters sought to merge with. The union attempted to merge with the Mine, Mill & Smelter Workers in 1955, but the effort failed.<ref>"Teamsters Agree to Mine, Mill Pact," New York Times, December 4, 1955; Raskin, "Teamsters Drop Tie With Miners," New York Times, March 9, 1956.</ref> The union also sought a merger with the Brewery Workers, but the smaller union rejected the offer.<ref>"A. F. L. Teamsters Ask C.I.O. Union to Merge," New York Times, June 24, 1953; "A. F. L. Merger Rejected," New York Times, July 3, 1953.</ref> When the overture failed, the Teamsters raided the Brewery Workers, leading to fierce protests by the CIO.<ref>"7 Brewery Locals Vote to Quit C.I.O.," New York Times, July 7, 1953; "3 More Brewery Locals Switch to A. F. L.," New York Times, July 9, 1953; "C.I.O. Calls Beck Threat to Unions," New York Times, November 17, 1953.</ref>

Raiding by the Teamsters was such a serious issue that it prompted the AFL and CIO, which had attempted to sign a no-raid agreement for years, to finally negotiate and implement such a pact in December 1953.<ref>Raskin, "A. F. L. Drafts Plan for Ban on Raiding," New York Times, December 11, 1953; Loftus, "Labor Still Seeks Union Raiding Ban," New York Times, December 15, 1953; Loftus, "A.F.L. and C.I.O. Sign No-Raiding Accord," New York Times, December 17, 1953.</ref> President Beck initially refused to sign the agreement, and threatened to take the Teamsters out of the AFL if forced to adhere to it.<ref>Raskin, "Teamsters Gird for A.F.L. Battle," New York Times, February 14, 1954; Raskin, "Teamsters Reject No-Raid Pact," New York Times, February 19, 1954; Raskin, "Beck Hints Move to End A.F.L. Tie," New York Times, February 20, 1954; Raskin, "Beck Bars No-Raiding Pact," New York Times, February 21, 1954.</ref> Three months after the pact was signed, the Teamsters agreed to submit to the terms of the no-raid agreement.<ref>Raskin, "Plan to Aid Peace in A.F.L. Advances," New York Times, May 14, 1954; Raskin, "Labor Unity Pacts Sealed By Unions," New York Times, May 15, 1954; Loftus, "Unions Will Sign Non-Raiding Pact," New York Times, June 7, 1954; "94 Unions Accept No-Raiding Pact," New York Times, June 10, 1954.</ref> Shortly thereafter, the AFL adopted Article 20 of its constitution, which prevented its member unions from raiding one another.<ref>Levey, "Union Raiding Ban Drafted By A.F.L.," New York Times, August 14, 1954.</ref> The union's affection for raiding led it to initially oppose the AFL-CIO merger in January 1955, but it quickly reversed itself.<ref>Raskin, "Beck Puts Brake on Labor Merger," New York Times, January 28, 1955; Raskin, "Beck Joins Move for Labor Unity," New York Times, February 11, 1955.</ref>

The rise, fall and disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa

Hoffa achieved his goal of unifying all freight drivers under a single collective bargaining agreement, the National Master Freight Agreement, in 1964. Hoffa was a skillful strategist who used the grievance procedures of the agreement, which authorized selective strikes against particular employers, to police the agreement or, if Hoffa thought that it served the union's interest, to drive marginal employers out of the industry. The union won substantial gains for its members, fostering a nostalgic image of the Hoffa era as the golden age for Teamster drivers. Hoffa also succeeded where Tobin had failed, concentrating power at the International level, dominating the conferences which Beck and Dobbs had helped build.

In addition, Hoffa was instrumental in using the assets of the Teamsters' pension plans, particularly the Central States plan, to support Mafia projects, such as the development of Las Vegas in the 1950s and 1960s. Hoffa was, moreover, defiantly unwilling to reform the union or limit his own power in response to the attacks from Robert F. Kennedy, formerly chief counsel to the McClellan Committee, then Attorney General. Kennedy's Department of Justice tried to convict Hoffa for a variety of offenses over the 1960s, finally succeeding on a witness tampering charge in 1964. After exhausting his appeals, Hoffa entered prison in 1967.

Hoffa installed Frank Fitzsimmons, an associate from his days in Local 299 in Detroit, to hold his place for him while he served time. Fitzsimmons, however, began to enjoy the exercise of power in Hoffa's absence; in addition, the organized crime figures around him found that he was more pliant than Hoffa had been. While President Nixon's pardon barred Hoffa from resuming any role in the Teamsters until 1980, Hoffa challenged the legality of that condition and planned to run again for presidency of the union, but disappeared in 1975 under mysterious circumstances. He is presumed dead, although his body has never been found.

Decentralization, deregulation and drift

Under General President Frank Fitzsimmons, authority within the Teamsters was decentralized back into the hands of regional, joint council, and local leaders. While this helped solidify Fitzsimmons' own political position in the union, it also made it more difficult for the union to act decisively on policy issues. Fitzsimmons also moved the union's political stands slowly to the left, supporting universal health care, an immediate end to the Vietnam War, urban renewal, and community organizing. In 1968, Fitzsimmons and United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther formed the Alliance for Labor Action, a new national trade union center which competed with the AFL-CIO. The Alliance dissolved in 1972 after Reuther's death. While the Teamsters won rich national master contracts in trucking and package delivery in the 1970s, it did little to adapt to the changes occurring in the transportation industry.

A major jurisdictional battle with the United Farm Workers (UFW) broke out in 1972, and did not end until 1977. The Teamsters and UFW had both claimed jurisdiction over farm workers for many years, and in 1967 had signed an agreement settling their differences. But decentralization of power within the union led several Teamster leaders in California to repudiate this agreement without Fitzsimmons' permission and organize large numbers of field workers. His hand forced, Fitzsimmons ordered Teamsters contract negotiators to re-open the handful of contracts it had signed with California growers.<ref>According to the Teamsters, but disputed by UFW, these contracts had purposefully low wages and benefits so as not to make the UFW contracts look bad. See: "Teamsters End a Truce With Chavez's United Farm Workers." New York Times. December 15, 1972.</ref>The UFW sued, the AFL-CIO condemned the action, and many employers negotiated contracts with the Teamsters rather than with the UFW.<ref>Turner, Wallace. "Teamsters Sued by Chavez's Union." New York Times. January 5, 1973; Shabecoff, Philip. "Meany Criticizes Teamsters' Drive." New York Times. April 19, 1973; "Chavez Tackles the Teamsters." New York Times. April 22, 1973; Shabecoff, Philip. "Chavez Union Struggling for Survival." New York Times. June 27, 1973; "Teamsters Repudiate Contracts As Chavez Quits Grape Talks." New York Times. August 11, 1973.</ref> Although an agreement giving UFW jurisidction over field workers and the Teamsters jurisdiction over packing and warehouse workers was reached on September 27, 1973, Fitzsimmons reneged on the agreement within a month and moved ahead with forming a farm workers regional union in California.<ref name="ShabecoffChavezReaches">Shabecoff, Philip. "Chavez Reaches Tentative Accord." New York Times. September 28, 1973.</ref><ref>"Chavez Says Pact Means Teamsters Will Leave Fields." New York Times. September 29, 1973; "Meany Hints Teamster Accord With Chavez May Be Near End." New York Times. October 16, 1973; Shabecoff, Philip. "Teamsters Shift Stand on Coast." New York Times. November 8, 1973; "Meany Says Teamsters Renege On a Farm Labor Peace Accord." New York Times. November 17, 1973; "Teamsters Start Farm Union Local." New York Times. June 7, 1974; "Teamsters Local Termed in 'Chaos'." New York Times. November 10, 1974.</ref> The organizing battles even became violent at times.<ref>Caldwell, Earl. "Picket Shot, Many More Arrested in Grape Strike." New York Times. August 3, 1973; "New Strife Nears in Grape Dispute." New York Times. September 16, 1973.</ref> By 1975, the UFW had won 24 elections and the Teamsters 14; UFW membership had plummeted to just 6,000 from nearly 70,000 while the Teamsters farmworker division counted 55,000 workers.<ref name="ShabecoffChavezReaches" /><ref name="Time">"Rendering to Cesar." Time. September 22, 1975.</ref> The Teamsters subsequently signed contracts (which many denounced as sweetheart deals) with more than 375 California growers.<ref name="Time" /><ref>Bacon, David. The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2004. ISBN 0520237781; Rosales, Francisco Arturo. Chicano!: The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. Houston, Tex.: Arte Publico Press, 1997. ISBN 1558852018; Lifsher, Marc. "UFW Seeks New Way to Organize." Los Angeles Times. September 14, 2007.</ref> Financially exhausted, the UFW signed an agreement with Fitzsimmons in March 1977 in which the UFW agreed to seek to organize only those workers covered by the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, while the Teamsters had jurisdiction over all other agricultural workers.<ref>Turner, Wallace. "Chavez and Teamsters Sign Accord." New York Times. March 11, 1977.</ref>

In October 1973, Fitzsimmons ended the long-running jurisdictional dispute with the United Brewery Workers, and the Brewery Workers merged with the Teamsters.<ref>"Brewery Workers Merger With Teamsters Is Backed." New York Times. October 24, 1973.</ref>

In 1979 Congress passed legislation that deregulated the freight industry, removing the Interstate Commerce Commission's power to impose detailed regulatory tariffs on interstate carriers. The union tried to fight deregulation by attempting to bribe Senator Howard Cannon of Nevada. That attempt not only failed, but resulted in the conviction in 1982 of Roy Williams, the General President who had succeeded Fitzsimmons in 1981. Williams subsequently resigned in 1983 as a condition of remaining free on bail while his appeal proceeded.

Deregulation had catastrophic effects on the Teamsters, opening up the industry to competition from non-union companies who sought to cut costs by avoiding unionization and curbing wages. Nearly 200 unionized carriers went out of business in the first few years of deregulation, leaving thirty percent of Teamsters in the freight division unemployed. The remaining unionized carriers demanded concessions in wages, work rules, and hours.

Williams' successor, Jackie Presser, was prepared to grant most of these concessions in the form of a special freight “relief rider” that would cut wages by up to 35 percent and establish two-tier wages. Teamsters for a Democratic Union, which had grown out of efforts to reject the 1976 freight agreement, launched a successful national campaign to defeat the relief rider, which was defeated by a vote of 94,086 to 13,082.

The pressure on the freight industry and the national freight agreement continued, however. By the end of the 1990s the National Master Freight Agreement, which had covered 500,000 drivers in the late 1970s, dropped to less than 200,000, with numerous local riders weakening it further in some areas.

Challenges from within and without

The decline in working conditions in the freight industry, combined with long-simmering unhappiness among members employed by the United Parcel Service, led to the development of two nationwide dissident groups within the union in the 1980s: Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), an assemblage of a number of local efforts, and the Professional Drivers Council, better known as PROD, which began as a public interest group affiliated with Ralph Nader that was concerned with worker safety. The two groups merged in 1979.

TDU was able to win some local offices within the union, although the International Union often attempted to make those victories meaningless by marginalizing the officer or the union. TDU acquired greater prominence, however, with the election reforms forced on the union by the consent decree it had entered into in 1989 on the eve of trial on a suit brought by the federal government under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

The decree required the direct election of International officers by the membership, as TDU had been demanding for years leading up to the decree, to replace the indirect election by delegates at the union's convention. While the delegates at the union's 1991 convention balked at amending the Constitution, they ultimately capitulated under pressure from the government.

That consent decree might not have been possible, however, if it had not been for the testimony of Roy Williams, who described, in an affidavit he gave the government in return for a delay of his imprisonment, his own dealings with organized crime as the Secretary-Treasurer of a local union in Kansas City and as an officer of the International Union. The decree also gave the government the power to install an Independent Review Board with the power to expel any member of the union for "conduct unbecoming to the union", which the IRB proceeded to exercise far more aggressively than the Teamsters officials who had agreed to the decree had expected.

While the government was pursuing a civil case against the union as an entity it was also indicting Presser, who had succeeded Williams as General President, for embezzling from two different local unions in Cleveland prior to his election as President. Presser resigned in 1988, but died before his trial was scheduled to begin. He was succeeded by William J. McCarthy, who came from the same local that Dan Tobin had led eighty years earlier.

The Independent Review Board (IRB) is a three-member panel established to investigate and take appropriate action with respect to "any allegations of corruption," "any allegations of domination or control or influence" of any part of the Union by organized crime, and any failure to cooperate fully with the IRB.<ref>Background of the IRB</ref>

Recent history

Image:Teamsters gathering.jpg
A Teamsters gathering at the YearlyKos 2007 convention

Ron Carey won a surprising victory in the first direct election for General President in the union's history, defeating two "old guard" candidates, R.V. Durham and Walter Shea. Carey's slate, supported by TDU, also won nearly all of the seats on the International Executive Board.

Carey acquired a fair amount of influence within the AFL-CIO, which had readmitted the Teamsters in 1985. Carey was close with the new leadership elected in 1995, particularly Richard Trumka of the United Mine Workers of America, who became Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO under John Sweeney. Carey had also swung the Teamsters support behind the Democratic Party, a change from past administrations that had supported the Republican Party. The new administration set out to break from the past in other ways, making energetic efforts to head off a vote to oust the union as representative of Northwest Airlines' flight attendants, negotiating a breakthrough agreement covering carhaulers, and supporting local strikes, such as the one against Diamond Walnuts, to restore the union's strength.

The Carey administration did not, on the other hand, have much power in the lower reaches of the Teamster hierarchy: all of the large regional conferences were run by "old guard" officers, as were most of the locals. Disagreements between those two camps led the old guard to campaign against the Carey administration's proposed dues increase; the Carey administration retaliated by dissolving the regional conferences, calling them expensive redundancies and fiefdoms for old guard union officers. and rearranging the boundaries of some joint councils that had fought against the dues increase.

The opposition responded by uniting around a single candidate, James P. Hoffa, son of James R. Hoffa, to run against Carey in 1996. Hoffa ran a strong campaign, trading on the mystique still attached to his late father's name and promising to restore those days of glory. Carey appeared, however, to have won a close election.

Shortly afterward in 1997, the union initiated a large and successful strike against UPS. The parcel services department by that time had become the largest division in the union.

Carey was removed from the union's leadership by the IRB shortly thereafter, when evidence that individuals in his office had arranged for transfer of several thousand dollars to an outside contractor, which then arranged for another entity to make an equivalent contribution to the Carey campaign. Carey was indicted for lying to investigators about his campaign funding but was acquitted of all charges in a 2001 trial.

In the 1998 election to succeed Carey, James P. Hoffa was elected handily. He became president of the Teamsters on March 19, 1999, and took the union in a more moderate direction, tempering the union's support for Democrats and attempting to come to terms with powerful Republicans in Congress.

The union has merged in recent years with a number of unions from other industries, including the Graphic Communications International Union, a printing industry union, and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, both from the railway industry.

On July 25, 2005, the Teamsters disaffiliated from the AFL-CIO and became a founding member of the new national trade union center, the Change to Win Federation.<ref>Amber and Bologna, "Departure of SEIU, Teamsters Creates Split Within AFL-CIO on Convention's Opening Day," Labor Relations Week, July 28, 2005.</ref>

Political donations

The Teamsters Union is one of the largest labor unions in the world, as well as the 11th largest campaign contributor in the United States. While they supported Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush for President in the 1980s, they have begun leaning largely toward the Democrats in recent years; they have donated 92% of their $24,418,589 in contributions since 1990 to the Democratic Party. Though the union opposed former Pres. George W. Bush's agenda to open US highways to Mexican truckers, it did previously support Bush's platform for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. <ref>Donor Profiles</ref> On July 23, 2008, however, Hoffa announced the union's withdrawal from the coalition favoring drilling there. Speaking before environmentalists and union leaders assembled to discuss good jobs and clean air, Hoffa said, "We are not going to drill our way out of the energy problems we are facing -- not here and not in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."<ref>Template:Cite press release</ref>

The Teamsters Union endorsed Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic Nomination on Feb. 20, 2008.


Following is a partial list of strikes which play a significant role in the history of the Teamsters union:


General President



See also


External links

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This page was last modified 12:02, 16 February 2010 by dKosopedia user Kitrus. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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