Friday, February 1, 2013

Teamsters celebrate Black History month

Teamster history is black history, and the union is celebrating Black History month with a series of stories and photos on its website.

When the International Brotherhood of Teamsters was founded in 1903, African-American team drivers attended the first convention. As early as 1906 the Teamsters called for "no color line" and actively organized black members.

Jimmy Hoffa, born 100 years ago this month, was strongly opposed to segregation. He chose to forfeit prospective members rather than abandon the principles of the union.
At one point in the 1950s, he and Vice President Harold Gibbons traveled to New Orleans to lead an organizing campaign at a chemical plant but were stonewalled by white workers demanding a separate local for black workers. Hoffa refused, knowing they would lose the election because of the decision. Hoffa was angry about the loss but felt the union was better off without such racist members. “We don’t need ‘em,” he said. “Their way is not the Teamster way.”
Read more here.