Corruption in the Teamsters Union

Topics: Trade union, Industrial unionism, Collective bargaining Pages: 15 (5968 words) Published: May 2, 2010
In 1902 a group of horse and buggy drivers created the Teamsters Union, in that the Teamsters were employed to transport goods. This occupation has played an important part in the economic development of the United States. Although they worked under difficult circumstances at the turn of the twentieth century they began to unionize on an extensive scale. There was no established national organization until 1912 that the teamsters were secure. Back in those days certain crafts and professions were considered as public-interest endeavors, which were licensed and regulated by the town authorities. Included in the teamsters which started with cart-men were; doorkeepers, butchers, and bakers. With the public being so reliant on these crafts they showed a monopoly and the members would join in strikes, to change supply and demand so they could increase prices for their products. In addition, the strikes served the purpose in securing higher wages and fees for services, and to keep outsiders from operating in the same craft. The strikes came about as early as the seventeenth century, although there weren’t any conflicts between labor and management. Instead, the strikes represented demonstrations against local laws and directives and were aimed in influencing the actions of town councils. There were numerous grievances due to the charges and rates established by localities for teamsters and in the seventeenth century cart-men did not work for earnings but owned the horses and wagons. Back in 1677 New York held the first tribunal for a strike in which, “Twelve truckmen were dismissed by the common council for not carrying out the duties prescribed for them by the city. The prosecution charged that the men were in contempt; it did not base its case upon conspiracy. Conditions prevailing in New York City were typical of those under which cart-men labored prior to 1850.” (Witwer) The New York teamsters were categorized as an individual labor group and each of them had to be licensed by the mayor. This allowed the city to have control over the cost of transporting or delivering goods through its streets and as business endeavors in the metropolitan area increased, a variety of regulations were passed. This included specifications on cart sizes, speed zones, and preventive measures to deter noise and accidents. After the Revolutionary War, the New York City council maintained stringent control over the work of cart-men doorkeepers, butchers, and bakers. During this time cart-men made request to the council that would limit who could enter into their craft in 1785, which kept transient residents in the city during the summer out of their businesses. It wasn’t until 1790, which licenses as teamsters were sought after by the old, frail, and unskilled workers. According to Brill, “In 1792, the Cart-men's Society was founded for the relief of distressed members. In 1797, as a result of flagrant abuses by teamsters in New York City operating without a license and charging extortionate fees--all licenses were revoked. The cart-men were reorganized in groups of forty-nine, each headed by a foreman. In 1800, there were twenty such companies. Stiff penalties were imposed for violations of ordinances.” The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) labor union has been more embroiled in jurisdictional cases and doppelganger unionism. When it was initially established, this union has been engaged in incessant critical disputes over jurisdiction. These disputes often affect many international unions, some associated either with the American Federation of Labor (AFL) or the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and those with no affiliation to either federation. The struggle of major concern was the inquiry of the proper union for a particular group of men, yet it entailed power over a precise job region. Many occurrences were an actual contest for power over a specific region and the complexity concerning jurisdiction...

Bibliography: Brill, S. The Teamsters. Simon and Schuster. 1978.
Dobbs, F. Teamster Power. Pathfinder Press. 1973.
Friedman, A. and Schwarz, T. Power and Greed: Inside the Teamsters Empire of Corruption. Danbury, CT: Franklin Watts. 1989.
Jablonski, D. The ‘Culture of Corruption’ Will Be Just Fine, Thank You. AFL-CIO | American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations 2009. Retrieved from;, on July 17, 2009
Teamsters Reaffirm Support of Anti-Corruption Effort.
Witwer. D. Corruption and Reform in the Teamsters Union. University of Illinois Press. 2008.
Zeller, F. C. D. Devil 's Pact: Inside the World of the Teamsters Union. Carol Publishing Group.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • The Teamster Union Has Had a Long History of Corruption Essay
  • Corruption Essay
  • corruption Research Paper
  • Corruption Research Paper
  • corruption Essay
  • corruption Essay
  • Corruption Essay
  • Corruption Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free